A world of caring communities. This is what we envisioned when we announced our philanthropic initiative which is appropriately named Aha! Cares last year. Our first year was an incredible success. We gave more than $100,000 in 2019 to community-based nonprofits. And collectively, Aha! teammates clocked 794 hours of service — everything from packing meals for at-risk kids to improving housing for victims of domestic violence.
As a fast-growing and profitable company, I believe we have a moral obligation to help the most vulnerable in our communities.
It is our responsibility to share our success in a way that improves people’s lives. And as an entirely distributed company, Aha! is in a unique position to make a meaningful impact. Individual teammates champion nonprofits that serve people’s most basic needs (food, safety, and shelter) in their local communities. Each application for financial funding to support programs is reviewed by our Aha! Cares committee to ensure it is in line with the guidelines we set.
We also volunteer together in-person twice a year and offer discounts to our nonprofit customers. We have nearly 100 teammates working remotely from across the globe — each person is encouraged to take a paid volunteer day to give their time to the organization of their choosing. This way, we are able to invest in many more communities and touch more lives along the way.
I am proud to share that we raised our Aha! Cares annual financial giving commitment to $127,093 for 2020.
The dollar amount may seem a bit odd, but it is intentional. Those 93 dollars represent the number of teammates we had at the time we set the new amount. In December 2019, at our biannual onsite, we shared the organizations that individuals on the team were championing that would receive support in 2020.
Here are some of the organizations we are honored to fund through the Aha! Cares financial giving program so far this year and how that money will be used:
- The Bozeman 3 (Bozeman, Montana, USA) — medical devices for kids suffering late effects from cancer treatment
- Chess & Community (Athens, Georgia, USA) — after-school programs for at-risk youth
- Chez Doris (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) — shelter renovations
- Coalition for Family Harmony (Oxnard, California, USA) — food for victims of domestic violence
- Colorado Homeless Families (Arvada, Colorado, USA) — food for homeless families
- Community Table (Arvada, Colorado, USA) — food for needy children and teens
- Family Promise (Plainfield, Indiana, USA) — shelter for homeless families
- Foster Angels (Austin, Texas, USA) — furniture and clothing for children in foster care
- Heads Up Somerset (Wells, Somerset, UK) — healthy cooking classes for individuals with mental health needs
- Impilo Child Protection and Adoption Services (Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa) — adoption programs for foster children
- Matthew’s Crossing (Chandler, Arizona, USA) — food closets at local hospitals
- My Friend’s House (Collingwood, Ontario, CA) — mother-child therapeutic programs
- Rose Haven (Portland, Oregon, USA) — shower program for homeless women and children
- Urban Gleaners (Portland, Oregon, USA) — food for needy children and their families
- Women’s Shelter of Long Beach (Long Beach, California, USA) — shelter renovations
It is humbling to see the positive community impact we are able to make, even as a relatively young company.
We also hope to inspire other companies to set up their own charitable programs that allow individuals to champion hyper-local organizations. If you want to establish a similar employee-driven charitable giving program at your organization, we put together the resources we developed for ours to help you get started.
As much as I love to share our perspective, I think that the tangible benefit of a program like ours is best summed up by the organizations we support. So here is what Julie Randall, executive director of Family Promise, wrote to her Aha! Champion upon learning the organization would receive funding.
“Often homelessness is thought to be a problem too big to solve, which makes it easy to ignore it or tip-toe around it. Thank you for believing that we can create solutions to end and prevent homelessness! It takes each of us doing our part.”
Learn more about Aha! Cares.