There was plenty of good chatter several years ago when salesforce.com started publicizing their foundation’s vision of being a “global leader in fully integrating business and the community by proving an inspiring and innovative service model for integrated philanthropy.” They committed to give 1% of their employees time, 1% of their equity, and 1% of their profits to the salesforce.com foundation.
While lots of companies have a philanthropic side to them, it’s unusual for early stage companies to have much focus on this. When we funded Rally Software (previously known as F4 Technologies), the founder Ryan Martens created a “1% Fund” with the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County modelled after what salesforce.com had done. Ryan did this proactively – we obviously supported him and are extremely proud of his initiative – but it was his idea.
This week, StillSecure announced that they are taking a similar step and donating 1% of revenue through 12/31/04 to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Like Ryan, Raj Bhargava – StillSecure’s CEO – has a strong personal philanthropic philosophy. With this action, he’s integrating this philosophy and awareness into his company with an immediacy that is impressive. StillSecure is still a young company so it doesn’t have the infrastructure to create a foundation, but Raj and his team are laying the groundwork today for having StillSecure have a component of its business that is philanthropically aware and subsequently more tightly integrated into its community.
I applaud all of these efforts. While I think it’s up to each company and individual to determine how they want to participate in their community, I strongly support innovative efforts like the ones taken by salesforce.com, Rally Software, and StillSecure. My hat is off to everyone involved.