This time of year is all about giving thanks and giving back. But for some companies, the season never stops: Through their work, employee initiatives, and volunteer programs, they find ways to make serving their communities a year-round mission.
If you want your work to have an impact on the world, take a look at these five for-profit companies that give back all year long. (Want even more? Check out our list of 10 nonprofits that are doing amazing things —and are great places to work, too.)
1. Warby Parker
The coolest eyewear brand around operates on a "buy one, give one" model: For every pair of glasses purchased by a customer, Warby provides a pair to someone in need in the developing world. At present, 15% of the world’s population is unable to effectively learn or work because they can’t see clearly, but Warby Parker is chipping away at that number, having distributed over half a million pairs to date.
In addition, Warby is committed to serving its community closer to home, with ongoing activities including sponsoring a local Little League team, and is one of the only carbon-neutral eyewear brands around. "We want to be holistically good—that includes good to our customers, our employees, our environment, and our community," explains CEO and co-founder Neil Blumenthal.
While TripAdvisor employees (obviously) love to travel the world, they also love giving back to it—and the company makes it easy for them to do so.
Lunch is provided three times a week at the office—and each week, staff donate what they would’ve spent on food to charities chosen by employees. TripAdvisor employees also all participate in community service, such as painting local schools, and the company has its own charitable foundation that offers grants and matches any monetary gifts given to the places employees volunteer. “TripAdvisor contributes 2% of our profits to our foundation, and we put it to work supporting our employees and the good work they’ve been doing,” shares CFO Julie Bradley.
3. Discovery Communications
Discovery is a media company focused on igniting curiosity—for its global consumers as well as its employees—and as such, offers frequent opportunities for its employees to give back to the world around them.
Co-workers collaborate on programs like Say Yes To Prom—where women donate formal dresses to girls in need—and Creating Change, a 12-hour pro bono creative marathon where the company lends its talents to a variety of nonprofit organizations. Discovery also offers regular volunteer events in the communities where employees live and work. “We have a great volunteer program," says one staffer. "We know that it’s important for our employee culture to give back to the world that has given our company so much.”
San Francisco- and Sydney-based Atlassian creates innovative products for software developers and project managers. But it's equally dedicated to building up communities worldwide.
Partnering with charities like Room to Read, Atlassian donates $10 of every software starter license to help build libraries in developing countries. “Be the change you seek" is one of Atlassian's core values, and as such, the company is constantly looking for ways to improve its company, its products, the environment, and the world around it. “Of all the companies I’ve worked for, I’ve never come across one that so closely matches its mission statement to everyday practices,” says senior design manager Jurgen Spangl.
If you love to give back in your off time, AOL has plenty of ways to let you do so. “AOL has a great volunteer program," explains campaign manager Christina Ji. “Even on our small team, you constantly have employees taking days off so they can go out and help out their communities.” The company also matches employee nonprofit contributions up to $250, giving staffers a chance to really make a difference in the organizations that matter to them most.
In addition, AOL provides lots of opportunities for employees to join in on company giving-back initiatives. During AOL's Monster Help Day, more than 3,000 AOL staffers donated their time to volunteer across the world. Groups of employees also participated in Hurricane Sandy Relief, and the company has organized computer lab donations to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House of NY.
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