How 6 Boston tech companies are giving back this holiday season

by Justine Hofherr
November 20, 2017

When the going is good for Boston tech, tech gives back. We caught up with six Boston tech companies to see how they’re supporting the local community this Thanksgiving. From adopting families in need to hosting food drives, Boston tech takes philanthropy seriously.

 

ellevation-education
Photo via Ellevation Education

Ellevation Education provides ESL administrative and data management tools for teachers. Office manager Mayya Bozhilova explains how the startup gives back all year long.

How are you giving back to the community this holiday season?

This holiday season we are thrilled to partner with Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) and their "Adopt a Family" campaign. ABCD will match us with several Boston families that are working to improve their lives. Ellevation employees will help the sponsored families by buying the items on the family's “wish list” during the winter months.  We will even create a team building event by hosting a party to wrap all the gifts when we are all together next at our December offsite.

Any fun company traditions?

At Ellevation, we invest in charitable activities that are in line with our mission throughout the year, incorporating them into how we operate. Most recently when Hurricanes Irma and Harvey hit earlier this year, it significantly impacted many of our partner school districts. Through generous employee donations and Ellevation's match, we were able to raise over $7,000 that we donated to Save the Children to help the victims of the hurricanes.

Favorite local charity/nonprofit?

We are excited to announce that we are in the process of finalizing our Corporate Social Responsibility program, which will include year-round opportunities for our employees to give back to the community. We recently did a survey with our employees and found that Boston Partners for Education, English for New Bostonians and Boston Cares are some of the local nonprofit organizations that our employees love and want to partner with in the future. For our remote team, we've created one volunteer day per year so they can take a full day off from work to commit to their choice of charitable organizations.

 

levelup-tech-gives-back
Photo via LevelUp

PR specialist Kerin Norton gives the scoop on Boston-based payment platform LevelUp’s charitable Thanksgiving traditions.

How are you giving back to the community this holiday season?

LevelUp hosted their annual Thanksgiving potluck on Thursday afternoon – a company tradition that is made up of contributions from employees as well as food from LevelUp merchant partners, like Café Luna! All LevelUp employees are encouraged to bring friends, family or significant others to this celebration. The mashed potatoes were the first dish to go, but other spins on traditional Thanksgiving flavors, like butternut squash lasagna, were welcome additions.The Thanksgiving potluck kicks off the holiday season for LevelUp employees. Later this month, the company will be partnering with Rosie’s Place (as they have for the past five years) to work on a LevelUp "Giving Tree.” Employees are encouraged to pick an item from the tree, purchase it and bring it back under the tree. LevelUp then delivers all of the supplies collected to the team at Rosie's Place to distribute to women in need.

 

toast-tech-gives-back
Photo via Toast

Toast’s Micaela Carucci, executive assistant, and recruiting coordinator Natalie Audelo give the scoop on the restaurant management platform’s philanthropic efforts this holiday season.

How are you giving back to the community this holiday season?

We've recently teamed up with Community Servings, a local nonprofit based in Jamaica Plain that provides medically tailored meals to some of New England's most vulnerable constituents. We pulled a team of Toasters together as sellers to participate in their 25th annual Pie in the Sky Fundraiser, with an ambitious goal of selling 120 pies. Each pie sold provides a week's worth of meals for a Community Servings client. We were also thrilled to see several of our customer restaurants in the Boston area on the list of volunteer bakers!

We're also on our second year of working with the Children's Trust to collect gifts for children whose parents would otherwise be unable to afford holiday presents. But this year, we're doing it a bit differently. We are setting up a "Giving Tree" in our common area filled with ornaments (handmade by Toasters as part of a Hackathon project!). On the back of each ornament is a child's name and their gift request. Employees will select an ornament, purchase the gift, and place it under the Giving Tree until it's time to deliver them all to the center.

Any fun company traditions?

"Mistle Toast," our annual holiday party, is a tradition that employees look forward to every year — and you can imagine how much it's evolved as we've grown from a handful of employees to over 400 in our Boston headquarters. This year, we decided that we wanted to "give back" to our customer base by splitting everyone into groups and sending them out to 25 of our Boston-area customer restaurants for amazing dinners.

Favorite local charity/nonprofit?

Community Servings and the Children's Trust.

 

cloudhealth-technologies-tech-gives-back
Photo via CloudHealth Technologies

Karina Svenson, HR generalist, explains how IT management startup CloudHealth’s explosive growth has allowed the company to give back in even bigger ways.

How are you giving back to the community this holiday season?

As a company, we have pledged to improve the lives of others in the community through volunteerism and charitable giving. We have had a four-year partnership with The Wonderfund (formerly known as the DCF Kids Fund). We also partner with BUILD Boston to sponsor their annual fundraising event and have a team of mentors working with students in South Boston as part of their programs to help mentor teens in under resourced communities.

Any fun company traditions?

We host an annual party to wrap the gifts our employees have donated to help make the holidays special for underprivileged children through our partnership with Wonderfund. Last year we helped make the holidays better for the 38 kids we sponsored and are excited to do the same this year for the 70 kids we’re sponsoring now that we’ve doubled in size in 2018. Last month, we participated in BUILD’s Entrepreneurship Games for the first time with 25 CHT employees either competing or volunteering to make the games a success. It was a great time and we look forward to making it an annual tradition.  

Favorite local charity/nonprofit?

Larry Begley, our CFO, has been involved with the Wonderfund for over 15 years and currently chairs the board of the fund. Larry wrote a great blog post on the CloudHealth Technologies’ philanthropy work that can be found on our website.

 

wordstream-tech-gives-back
Photo via Wordstream

Senior sales recruiter Michelle Cataldo spills the beans on software company Wordstream’s philanthropic ventures.

How are you giving back to the community this holiday season?

Last year WordStream held a canned goods drive where we donated over 450 items to the Greater Boston Food Bank. This year, we decided to do something a bit different so we could really see the impact that we are making as an organization. Our “Kick The Can” food drive is ditching the standard idea of a food drive and losing the canned good donations and instead we are collecting cash donations to help the GBFB purchase nutritional and perishable food items. WordStream employees have forfeited their morning coffees and lunches from Eataly to help provide those in need with healthy meals. Our employees contributions have the ability to provide over 900 healthy meals to individuals or 15+ families of five with a full holiday meal this Thanksgiving.

Any fun company traditions?

Each year we have a big Thanksgiving Potluck lunch here in our office. Everyone brings their favorite dish to share with the company and we have a great time sampling our colleagues’ favorite Thanksgiving appetizers, casseroles and desserts here in the WordStream office.

Favorite local charity/nonprofit?

Over the last year, volunteering and contributing our time and resources to various charities in the Boston area has been a focus for WordStream.  This holiday season we are giving to the Greater Boston Food Bank. They purchase and distribute food and other items to local pantries and shelters in the area. We also have a strong tie to Boston Scores, a nonprofit that provides Boston youth with team-based education programs that foster their health and well-being, academic achievement and civic engagement. We are looking forward to partnering with them to support those in their program who need a little extra support this holiday season.

 

interactions-tech-company
Photo via Interactions

Interactions, a provider of speech and natural language technology, picks one charitable activity every six to eight weeks. Tara Wildt, manager of content marketing, provides details on food donations, recycling challenges and more.

How are you giving back to the community this holiday season?

For Thanksgiving, we are teaming up with Project Just Because to sponsor Thanksgiving baskets for local families in need. Each team or department is building a basket of Thanksgiving foods that will be donated to a local family. Then, in December we will be organizing a donation drive for toys, clothing, gift cards and more to benefit children at the Rainbow Child Development Center in Worcester.

Any fun company traditions?

At Interactions, we try to organize events that are both fun for the team and beneficial to charity organizations. For example, we recently held a bake sale and gift card raffle where all of the proceeds were donated to UNICEF USA to assist with relief efforts in Puerto Rico. We also recently held a recycling challenge where the winning team was treated to a lunch and the proceeds from recycling bottles and cans were donated to the Franklin Soup Kitchen.

Favorite local charity/nonprofit?

Interactions doesn't have a specific favorite local charity or nonprofit, but we try to organize at least one activity every six to eight weeks that benefits a local organization. We work with a variety of different organizations in order to help address causes that are important to Interactions employees.

 

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