“At Pledge 1%, we work with an extremely diverse array of companies. We need a partner whose expertise and capabilities are just as wide ranging—that’s why we joined forces with Tides. Regardless of company stage, size, or industry, we’re confident Tides will always offer the highest level of service when it comes to managing the company’s donor advised fund and providing guidance on how/where to invest their philanthropic dollars. In addition to supporting our members, Tides plays an integral role in the Pledge 1% movement by offering strategic guidance, subject matter expertise, and invaluable resources.”
– Amy Lesnick, Chief Executive at Pledge 1%

Pledge 1%, a global corporate philanthropy movement, engages business leaders and their employees to give back to local and national social causes through an ongoing commitment of staff time, product, and/or cash derived from the company’s profits or equity. The initiative, created by three forward-thinking executives in the software industry, was born from the recognition that more and more companies are interested in pursuing corporate social responsibility as a core part of their mission. They wanted to use their influence to bring other leaders on board, sharing strategies and inspiration. They knew that pledging to give back would benefit the member companies themselves, too: employing business as a vehicle for positive social impact improves employee retention and positive brand recognition.

As Pledge 1% started to grow, the organization came to Tides for its unparalleled track record in international philanthropy and reputation for integrated, multifaceted partnerships. Today, Pledge 1% is a strategic initiative at Tides, receiving an array of in-kind services – from Tides’ executive and legal staff time to office space and telephone lines. Tides also acts as the organization’s fiscal sponsor, providing core human resource and financial management services. Beyond that, Tides is an engaged thought partner and board member, helping the Pledge 1%’s team consider strategies for growth and corporate engagement. Tides was instrumental in the recruiting process for Pledge 1%’s fantastic Chief Executive, Amy Lesnick.

Tides plays an integral role in the Pledge 1% movement by offering strategic guidance, subject matter expertise, and invaluable resources.

Amy Lesnick, Chief Executive at Pledge 1%

Pledge 1% focuses on two main efforts: pledging and support.First, member companies commit to giving 1% of their equity, staff time, and/or product back to their communities. So far, over 2,700 companies across 60 countries have taken the pledge! From there, Pledge 1% focuses on giving its members the tools they need to take action, providing them with accessible, proven models for engaging with nonprofit and community partners. Startups learn how they can commit equity for future charitable grantmaking. Other companies learn how to connect with local nonprofits and identify ongoing volunteer opportunities. Still others learn how to give away their product in a way that is mission-aligned and helpful to community partners. Tides has also engaged directly with various member companies to support their strategic planning process and grantmaking activities through a Tides corporate donor advised fund.

As Pledge 1% grows, some of its member companies go above and beyond their initial pledge, creating an even more vibrant example of how social impact can be integrated into corporate strategy. For example, founding member Salesforce donates its customer relationship management software to nonprofits, but it doesn’t stop there. The company also includes VTO (Volunteer Time Off) in its job descriptions; if its employees don’t meet their objectives, it reflects negatively on their reviews. Twilio, a company that helps businesses add authentication, messaging, voice and video into their software, is another leader in the field. Inspired to do more after its initial product donations and volunteering efforts, Twilio pledged 1% of its equity and opened a donor advised fund at Tides, making more than $1 million in grants within its first six months. Twilio.org, the company’s social impact-focused business unit, is wholeheartedly supported by CEO Jeff Lawson and seamlessly integrated into company culture.

Pledge 1% demonstrates the depth and breadth of Tides’ commitment to corporate philanthropy and ability to link the corporate and social sectors for ongoing, mutually valuable partnerships. The expanding network of companies that dedicate their time and assets in service of social impact is transforming a tech trend into a broad and global corporate movement, and Tides is deeply invested in the effort. As we work together to cross boundaries and link companies to philanthropic opportunities, we can also help members strengthen their connections to their employees, customers, and communities.