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A New Year's Toast to Some Awesome Non-profits

Four years ago we added a company donation policy. Over the years we increased the amount we donate from 2% to 3% of our profits and we've added the ability for each employee to split up their donation between two organizations, instead of just one. Other than that it has remained unchanged and is one of our favorite annual practices!

Allowing our team to choose which organizations to give to enables us to personalize how our company makes donations. We also get a chance to learn more about each other, as every year we hear our team members share why they picked the organizations and issues they did, which are near and dear to their hearts.

We believe this diversity and individuality enriches the team as a whole. We see how we are different, with different interests and passions, and yet, the wonderful thing is, we also see how much we are the same, and how we share common core values.

Some shared values we saw this year include promoting education and research, humanitarian aid, and supporting local community projects for those in need. We know non-profit work is rewarding, but also full of many challenges, so we wanted to give a special shout out to the organizations we donated to in 2015, thanking them for their dedicated work to make this world a better place.

We've chosen three to highlight for you.

Education and Justice - Sojourn to the Past

During the 50th anniversary year of the March from Selma to Montgomery, it seemed particular fitting to support a wonderful non-profit founded to teach children about the Civil Rights Movement. Sojourn to the Past takes young adults to southern US States to visit the first schools to be racially integrated, churches that were firebombed, and other historical sites important to the movement. This trip, along with a dynamic curriculum, can be life-changing; it was for our colleague Val's family.

When her son, Sam, decided to go, Val's husband Jake joined as a chaperone. They visited Stone Mountain, where the Ku Klux Klan held cross-burnings, participated in invaluable group exercises designed to help process their experiences, and they were lucky to meet with several real heroes of the Civil Rights Movement, including Congressman John Lewis.

Congressman_John_LewisCongressman John Lewis with Val's son and husband - Photo credits: Audra Gray

We are proud to support this organization, recently honored by the King Center, that promotes the values of diversity, education, respect and compassion, and social justice through non-violence.

Humanitarian Aid - Syria

2015 was also a year where we became more aware of the ongoing situation for migrants and refugees across the globe. Many of us felt compelled to donate to efforts to help with the Syrian refugee crisis.

There are many organizations that should be applauded for their efforts in this massive humanitarian emergency. Leon, Marco, Natalie, Peldi, and Paolo added their support via three of them: Save the Children, The UN Refugee Agency, and Catholic Relief Services.

Though it doesn’t actually seem like much in the face of such a huge, complicated, and painful situation, we're grateful to be able to help in some small way.

Local Community Projects - Stella del Mattino

We also value small organizations working to help those in need in our local areas. We chose various food banks, housing projects, and programs to help protect women and children from domestic abuse. One of these local projects is Cooperativa Sociale Stella del Mattino, an organization founded by Francesca's father. This Italian organization provides employment for 10 individuals with disabilities, who would otherwise have extreme difficulty finding a job.

The community helps its members gain some independence, and feel relevant and active participants in society. And it's even a place were love blossoms, as two members in the community met there and were married a few years ago. 🙂

We're honored to support groups focused on impacting the every day lives of those around them.

We at Balsamiq are humbled and grateful to be able to support these organizations, and the ones listed below. Learning about the work they are doing, challenges and inspires us to see what we also can do with our hands, time, and talent to help our community, both from within the company and in our personal lives.

We'd love to hear ways your company is striving to support its community and our world through donations of time or money.

There is so much awesomeness happening in the world!

Balsamiq Sends our Heartfelt Thanks to These Hardworking Organizations

Alzheimer Italia (Italy) Die Tafel (Germany) Sacramento Loaves & Fishes (US)
Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro (Italy) Electronic Frontier Foundation (US) Save the Children (Italy)
Associazione La Conchiglia (Italy) La casa delle donne (Italy) Sojourn to the Past (US)
Berkeley Food & Housing Project (US) Mensa dell'Antoniano (Italy) St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin County (US)
Bimbo Tu (Italy) Mozaic-Breizh (France) Stella del Mattino (Italy)
Buddhismo della Via di Diamante (Italy) Nuovo Rifugio di Amola (Italy) The UN Refugee Agency (US)
Catholic Relief Services (US) Rueil Digital (France) World Wildlife Fund (US)
Center for Domestic Peace (US)    
Natalie for the Balsamiq Team

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