Corporations support community organizations in many different ways – cash donations, grants, and sponsorships. But more and more, companies are also fostering cultures of social engagement, encouraging their employees to make their own impacts for social change. Google is one of those companies.
Google employees are some of Solid Ground’s most active volunteers. For example, almost 200 people from Google have put in over 900 volunteer hours at our Giving Garden at Marra Farm in the South Park community over the last two years – a huge contribution to this urban farm gem, which produces thousands of pounds of fresh produce for the neighborhood each year with minimal staffing.
And five years ago, Google Software Engineer Fred Gylys-Colwell collaborated with Solid Ground staff to launch a tutoring program for youth who call our Sand Point Housing campus home. Today, several of these youth are not only graduating from high school – they’re also college bound, all headed into STEM programs in the fall (read ‘Put the important things first’).
Whether it’s nurturing success with our youth residents or helping food insecure communities access fresh produce, many Google Seattle employees invest more than their time and energy into our work to solve poverty – they’re investing their dollars as well. Gifts from Googlers and matching funds totaled almost $164,500 in 2018 – and more than $634,000 to date. In fact, for the last two years in row, Google was the top contributor in workplace donations, with employees giving more to Solid Ground’s work than those from any other corporation!
Google Seattle encourages a culture of giving and supports its employees in community engagement in several different ways, including donating toward volunteer time, matching employee donations, hosting an annual giving drive and volunteer events, and even paying employees to offer pro bono work to nonprofits.
Andrew Miller, Google Tech Lead Manager and current Solid Ground Board Member, shares his experience with Google’s rich culture of philanthropy and how that shaped his journey with Solid Ground’s work. “Everyone from executives on down extol the importance of giving,” he says.
Andrew first heard about Solid Ground at a Google-hosted holiday toy drive for our youth residents. After volunteering at Marra Farm as part of Google’s annual volunteer event – and tutoring at Sand Point Housing with other Googlers – he started donating to Solid Ground and encouraging his Google peers to get involved. Fast forward almost 10 years, and Andrew serves on our Board of Directors, helping us shape how we operate and approach our work to solve poverty.
Workplace giving is about more than raising money – it’s about finding people who understand that injustice is happening in our region, and giving them opportunities to do something about it, like Andrew and our supporters at Google are. He adds, “As employees of this sector, we have to acknowledge our impact on our city, particularly with respect to housing costs, so I think it’s important to help organizations like Solid Ground ensure that every member of our community can prosper.”
We are incredibly grateful to and inspired by companies like Google, which support their employees with the opportunities and the dollars to engage in social change. To our friends and supporters at Google, thank you for joining us in this work!
Want to build a partnership with Solid Ground? Contact Corporate Giving Officer Phoenica Zhang at 206.694.6852 or firstname.lastname@example.org.