10 Companies That Are Doing Good While Doing Well
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
It's hard to judge a social mission. Isn't "doing good" just good enough? Sure. But as companies large and small devote themselves to social missions -- either as their core purpose, or by diverting some resources into worthy causes -- we wanted to celebrate the ones that are especially thoughtful about tackling real-world problems.
As part of our 100 Brilliant Companies list, check out how these 10 brilliant companies do good while also doing well.
The reckoning is under way for workplace sexual harassment in the U.S., and tEQuitable is on the front lines. Launched in late 2017, tEQuitable is a website and app allowing employees to confidentially discuss office complaints and get assistance from an appointed adviser. Used by companies including Twilio and VC firm Obvious Ventures, it also collects and analyzes data to spot problems before they escalate. Co-founder Lisa Gelobter, a former executive at BET and Hulu, was chief digital service officer in the Department of Education under President Obama, but she left the agency soon after Trump took office. She was unsure of her next move, but grew increasingly frustrated by the deluge of workplace harassment cases in the news. As a black woman who’d spent three decades in tech, she’d personally experienced discrimination at every job. So she began brainstorming technology that would empower employees and enact reform. Then #MeToo happened. She knew it was time to accelerate her idea’s implementation -- not just for the celebrity women making headlines, but for all races and classes. “We’re tackling issues of not just gender but race, transphobia, immigration status, parental status, ageism etc., addressing issues from subtle to severe,” she says. “Research shows that if you can get in front of the small things and put interventions into place, you can prevent bigger things from happening.” (Written by Blaire Briody)
This summer, the nonprofit arm of the CRM giant will launch Philanthropy Cloud in partnership with the United Way. The platform will help employees of large companies better track their corporate-matched donations. Users can follow both personal and corporate impact, and the AI-empowered platform will learn about each user over time, eventually suggesting and connecting them with other causes they may care about.
Remember how tedious applying for college scholarships was? No more. Going Merry is a platform that serves as a matchmaker, helping students identify which scholarships they’re eligible for. Launched last summer, it streamlines and autofills application details to save users from entering the same information over and over again. All applications can be submitted directly through Going Merry, and yes, they’ll even remind you of impending deadlines.
Donald Katz, CEO of the Newark, N.J.-based audiobook company, wants the city around him to thrive as much as his own business -- and he wants his employees’ help. To support the community, he launched Newark Now!, a program that, through a lottery, awards 20 Audible employees with a year’s worth of rent if they sign a two-year lease in Newark. In addition, the company will give a $500 monthly stipend indefinitely to employees who commit to living in the city.
There are more software jobs in the United States than there are qualified developers. So Andela, a New York-based startup, is looking to Africa to build a fresh pipeline of tech talent. Andela recruits interested applicants across Africa and puts them through a lengthy skills-assessment test, eventually hiring less than 1 percent. Those folks participate in a six-month paid training program, receiving a laptop, housing and daily meals. Upon completion, Andela’s employees work remotely as contractors with brands like Viacom and SeatGeek. Each hire signs a two-year contract, and the company is now working to create an accelerator for alumni-founded companies.
Shared Harvest Fund
Nearly 44 million Americans carry student loan debt. Shared Harvest Fund is looking to lighten that load -- by trading volunteer time for debt relief. The newly launched platform connects skilled professionals with charitable organizations and causes they care about. Those workers (who pay a small membership fee) then volunteer their expertise, and in turn they receive a stipend to put toward their student loans -- maxing out at $5,000 a year.
The Cambridge, Mass.-based startup is working to extract human health data from sewage to help solve public health crises. (How, you ask? A city population’s waste can reveal a lot about its health.) Its first task is the opioid epidemic, and this spring the company launched a pilot program in Cary, N.C. Understanding drug use on a city and neighborhood level can provide valuable insights on both prevention and treatment efforts.
70 Million Jobs
Co-founded by Richard Bronson, a former Wall Street trader who served time for securities fraud, 70 Million Jobs launched last year with hopes of connecting the formerly incarcerated with career opportunities. (The name reflects the some 70 million Americans with a criminal record.) Employers on board include Google and Facebook. Last year the city of Los Angeles launched a pilot program, knowing its potential impact: In California, the average recidivism rate is 65 percent, but when recently released individuals secure jobs, it drops to just 3 percent.
Last summer, the carmaker announced that beginning in 2019, all new models will be either hybrids or powered solely by batteries. Bye-bye, internal combustion engines?
Patagonia has long been an outspoken defender of the environment, but now, as the Trump administration has rolled back protections and regulations, it’s betting its brand on full-blown activism: It has run TV ads calling for the protection of public lands and filed a lawsuit to stop the administration from shrinking the protected Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. In February, the company launched Patagonia Action Works, a digital platform to help passionate customers connect with local grassroots organizations fighting for the environment.