Ahead of the holidays, tech companies share how they support causes in their communities.
builtin.com, November 22, 2021, Alexandria Jacobson
Sometimes a life-changing experience can lead you to your purpose. That’s the case for Dilip Rao, CEO and co-founder of the mission-based food ordering platform, Sharebite, whose perspective on life changed after he was hit by a car while crossing the street in July 2014.
“Going through an experience like that really makes you look at life slightly differently than what you probably did even a day before,” Rao said. “Suddenly the priorities that made your top 10, top 20 list don’t even make your top 100 when you’re laying in a stretcher and can’t feel anything from the neck down. That’s when it was more like, ‘If today is my last day on Earth what purpose have I served? What problems in society have I helped solve? How have I been able to take this body of general knowledge that I’ve been able to amass throughout my career, what am I actually doing with it?’”
Less than a year after the accident, Rao met his co-founder Mohsin Memon, and they bonded over their desires to create a company driven by values that are important to stakeholders, not just shareholders. With that in mind, Sharebite was founded in 2015, and from the start, the company has been dedicated to helping eradicate childhood hunger in local communities and supporting small businesses where the company is headquartered in New York City. For every food order a business places on the Sharebite platform, the company donates a percentage of its revenue, at least enough to provide one meal, to City Harvest which uses the money to feed children suffering from hunger. In 2020, Sharebite donated enough to provide more than 400,000 pounds of food to children facing hunger.
“There’s this old Greek proverb, society only prospers when old men plant trees in whose shade they’ll never take rest in,” Rao said. “So our view as an organization, and my personal worldview here, is that you have to constantly think about how you’re creating value for all of your shareholders and your stakeholders, and by doing so, I think naturally that flywheel of sustainability will continue to spin faster and faster. So therefore, what’s good for Sharebite is good for small businesses, and it’s good for society, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Make Your Employees Feel Connected With Your Community Partners
Headquartered in Bozeman, Montana, conservation efforts are of great importance to the employees at Wisetail, a learning management system and learning experience platform software company. So, in June 2015, Wisetail created a charitable giving arm of the company called Wisetail Works, dedicated to giving back to the local community.
“From the foundation, its mission has been to help people live healthier, happier and more productive lives,” said Ali Knapp, president at Wisetail. “Our mission as a company is building companies into communities, so how can we do that with our Wisetail Works branch as well?”
Each year, Wisetail hosts a grant program where it donates three-year access to its software to a local organization. Nonprofits submit grant applications, and Wisetail employees vote on the organizations to support who might not typically be able to afford advanced software.
“To have funds in order to go out and purchase technology, that can sometimes be hard to come by,” Knapp said. “It seems as though sometimes technology’s more of a luxury with some of the smaller companies that we’re working with.”
Knapp said the nonprofits who receive the software often focus on using the Wisetail technology to build community at their organizations. And on the flip side, Wisetail Works builds community at the company too.
“If we’re able to go out and volunteer and have our software being used with companies that are a part of our community, and seeing the difference that that makes, builds a stronger culture and a stronger community within our own team,” Knapp said. “I also think it’s important for us to be able to see our software used with different organizations … These programs really strengthen your culture, and they give you a different view and different insight into what it is your software can accomplish on the day to day.”
As the Wisetail team gains employees outside of the Bozeman area, the company is encouraging employees to give back locally wherever they are located.
“When we do have these volunteer days or volunteer opportunities, we really encourage our remote employees to go out and volunteer in the communities that they are in as well to build that relationship with their community,” Knapp said.