’Tis the season: How these 5 LA tech companies give back

by Hannah Levy
December 13, 2018

It’s giving season. A time of can drives and toy drives and tree drives — every kind of drive you can imagine, really. According to reports, nearly a third of all annual giving happens in December, and 12 percent in the last three days of the month alone.

But not all of us reserve those philanthropic spirits for the holidays. These five tech companies have made charity and community engagement a year-round initiative — and the results are nothing short of inspiring.

Here’s what they’re up to this year.

 

Los Angeles tech company Kensho on giving back
photo via kensho

What makes a so-called “Kenshin”? According to Andrew White, Kensho’s director of corporate social responsibility, outside of being insanely brainy, folks at the nationally recognized AI and machine learning company are action-biased and dedicated to giving back. Here’s what White shared about how the company is doing good this holiday season.

 

How is your company giving back this year?

Kensho, through its CSR initiative, Project Civitas, is running its first annual holiday pledge drive. The drive encourages employees to take advantage of the charitable match program from our parent company, S&P Global. As part of the initiative, we’ve sought to highlight nonprofits that work in local, national and international contexts and are important to Kenshins. 

 

Our primary goal is to empower our fellow employees to make a substantive social impact in their communities.”

 

Where did the idea for the project come from?

At a recent all-hands meeting, a group of Kenshins came together to think through how the company could develop its own corporate social responsibility program. That initial conversation developed into Project Civitas.

Our primary goal is to empower our fellow employees to make a substantive social impact in their communities. Our employees are diverse in the organizations and causes they are involved with, and Project Civitas is meant to be a resource to help them amplify those efforts.

 

How are initiatives like this baked into your company’s values?

Two of our company values really apply here. The first is insisting that employees bias themselves towards action. In the case of Project Civitas, we want to make sure that employees have the tools and resources they need to take action and support their communities.

Second, Kensho emphasizes the importance of diverse perspectives in everything that we do. As a result, we don’t want Kenshins to feel limited by the initiatives that the Project Civitas team itself develops. We encourage people from throughout the company to come and use us as a tool to help develop their own CSR-related programs.

 

Los Angeles tech company PatSnap is outside of LA
photo via patsnap

PatSnap’s platform combines millions of data points into a tool that helps companies analyze trends and assess opportunities. It’s a highly technical enterprise — they count NASA among their customers — but one that draws clear insights from a noisy set of data. The company opened in LA just a year ago, but they’re already creating volunteering programs that partner with the local community.    

 

How is your company giving back this year?

We give back year-round by volunteering with Coach Art, a nonprofit organization that creates a transformative arts and athletics community for families impacted by childhood chronic illness.

 

Always aspire to provide real value and to create work that matters while focusing on being a consistently good person.”

 

Where did the idea for the project come from?

Ryan Radford, a senior account executive here at PatSnap, started volunteering at Coach Art and shared his experience with the rest of the team. Now others have joined by volunteering their time. They dedicate one day a week — even over the weekend.

 

How are initiatives like this baked into your company’s values?

Our co-founder Ray Cohen once said, “Always aspire to provide real value and to create work that matters while focusing on being a consistently good person. Allow your positive energy and outlook be a contagious catalyst in inspiring change.”

Be kind, stay positive and always be a good person — that pretty much sums it up.

 

Los Angeles tech company Nativo on how they give back
photo via nativo

Passion and teamwork are two of Nativo’s core values, according to the company’s manager of global office operations, Eve Shieh. The native advertising company held a pair of monthlong volunteering initiatives this year, with more than a third of the company’s employees participating. Here’s more on the work Nativo is doing in their local community.

 

How is your company giving back this year?

We led two global volunteer initiatives this year to give employees a chance to give back to their local communities. Here are a few organizations that our employees chose to contribute to: The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank (over 10,537 pieces of produce sorted), My Friend’s Place ($500 worth of clothing and other goods donated), Operation Gratitude (many, many letters written), Sit Stay Read (57 cards for summer reading kits assembled), and The Night Ministry (67 hygiene kits built).

We also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, measuring, cleaning and labeling items in the Chicago ReStore store location and donating baked goods to their bake sale — as well as Heal the Bay and the Abbey Community Center, where we taught London residents in their 50s and above how to browse the internet and use their mobile phones.

 

Not only do we give back to our community, but we build employee and team relationships this way as well. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

 

Where did the idea for these projects come from?

We have a culture club that meets quarterly to discuss what types of initiatives to take on in order to bring employees closer together and to improve communication and relationships cross-departmentally. As our company continues to grow, we’ve realized that maintaining the small, intimate startup culture and closeness is important to us, which is why volunteering is a perfect opportunity to continue to experience that. Not only do we give back to our community, but we build employee and team relationships this way as well. It’s a win-win for everyone.

 

How are initiatives like this baked into your company’s values?

Passion and teamwork are two of Nativo’s core values. Having these volunteer initiatives contributes to what we want to fulfill as a company.

 

Los Angeles tech company Core Digital on giving back
photo via core digita;

Community is important to the team at Core Digital Media — both the community within the 170-person organization, and the larger Los Angeles community the company calls home. This year, Core Digital donated more than $2,000 to the Red Cross to help with rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of the Woolsey Fire. Here’s what other projects the company is working on this season of giving, according to Senior Recruitment Manager Matt Ennis.

 

How is your company giving back this year?

We believe strongly in giving back to the community where we live and work, and it’s a year-long effort for us. So far, we’ve partnered with Bikes For Goodness Sake where we raised money and built 25 bikes for Schools on Wheels. We also raised money for Much Love Animal Rescue with our Paws for a Cause initiative — and the whole company spent half a day cleaning up a local beach with Heal the Bay.

This holiday season, Core Digital Media has two initiatives that are extra dear to our hearts. The first is in light of a recent tragedy that struck our community. We wanted to do our part to support the victims of the Woolsey Fire that burned over 95,000 acres of land in our surrounding area. This year, we created a dollar-for-dollar match program that resulted in CDM donating over $2,000 to the American Red Cross to help rebuild. The second is a CDM tradition of supporting the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. This year, we will be providing gifts for 100 children in the LA area through this program.

 

Giving back to the community where we work and play has always been a part of our culture.”

 

Where did the idea for these projects come from?

We have an established committee that is constantly looking for ways to support the community around us. With the Woolsey Fires hitting so close to home for many of our team members, we wanted to demonstrate our care for the lives affected. Our community service committee jumped at the chance to create a program that would provide the most impact, leveraging an offer from the senior team to match donations — and our traditional drink cart. This will be our eighth year participating in the Angel Tree program, which was originally introduced by one of our veteran HR team members.

 

How are initiatives like this baked into your company’s values?

Here at CDM, people are the center of everything we do. Giving back to the community where we work and play has always been a part of our culture. This is why we have a designated committee that drives several initiatives throughout the year to support the community through the gifts of time and donations. The committee typically runs four large events every year, and always keeps an eye out for other ways to support the community as opportunities arise.

 

LosAngelesPhotographer_McKenzieSmithPhotography-118
photo via McKenzie Smith

SnackNation is a snack membership service that brings healthy foods into offices all around the U.S. In other words: snacks served with a side of SaaS — and a heart of gold. The company has been partnering with the nonprofit Feeding America since it was just getting started, and they’ve continued to collaborate on food-related philanthropy. Here’s what SnackNation’s Christina Lazzaro told us about the company’s most recent initiatives.

 

How is your company giving back this year?

We have donated over four million meals to Feeding America to date. Last month, each member of SnackNation visited the LA Food Bank and packed over 5,700 boxes of groceries that went to families in need. Every customer at SnackNation contributes to Feeding America with the purchase of a box.

Outside of our commitment to Feeding America, we have office-wide initiatives when our local community needs it most. Right now in our lobby, our culture committee has adorned a Christmas tree with specific holiday requests from local families. We also collected sundries and non-perishables for those affected in the recent fires. This is a common thread throughout the organization year-round.

 

It’s part of our core values; we strive to give back as much and frequently as possible!”

 

Where did the idea for the project come from?

Feeding America was the obvious choice for a lifelong partnership — we both share a mission to make nutrition accessible for all.

 

How are initiatives like this baked into your company’s values?

It’s part of our core values; we strive to give back as much and frequently as possible! “Serve and inspire” is one of the core values that make up our organization. We partnered with Feeding America at the organization’s very early stages of and look forward to seeing many more milestones alongside them.

 

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