We Believe in Giving Back – 4.5% Annual Report 2017-2018Go Back

We Believe in Giving Back – 4.5% Annual Report 2017-2018

As we began the 4.5% promise two years ago, we saw an opportunity to put action to our belief that we are all responsible for making the world a better place. The “we” means each of us as organizations, individuals, and collectively as citizens of the world.

We continued this year with our theme of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We believe diverse teams in the right conditions will yield the most innovative solutions. In addition, we continued to support education. Franklin D Roosevelt said, “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”

We’ve started shifting how we reflect and it’s making a big difference. Rather than asking what we are thankful for, we are taking time to reflect on who we have helped today. Giving back matters.


We continue to gain a deeper understanding of and connection to a variety of meaningful issues through giving back. Here is the 4.5% promise breakdown for this year:

  • 1100+ Volunteer Hours
  • 20+ Organizations Served
  • 5 Pro-Bono Strategy Projects Completed

Organizations We’ve Helped

  • Financial Education Public Private Partnership
  • First Washington Robotics
  • Ford Foundation Prison Reform
  • Fuse Corps
  • National Superintendent Roundtable
  • A Non-profit Science Education Center
  • Local Public Schools (which rely on volunteer support)
  • Camps teaching social emotional skills to preschoolers
  • Youth Summer Camps
  • Subsidized work in the healthcare space for public health clinics
  • Homeless Shelters
  • Local Food Banks
  • ESL Programs
  • Harbor Watch – Earthplace
  • Delivered speeches on the future of work to the Superintendent Roundtable (namely what industry thinks will happen and therefore what the implications are for K-12)
  • Moderated panels on diversity / inclusion
  • Public appearances as keynote and/or panelist
  • Developed open source tools / resources to help improve diversity / inclusion

What We’ve Started

Diversity & Inclusion in the PNW monthly meet up. Examining how entrepreneurs and VCs think about diversity, equity and inclusion. Comprised of 200+ members from the Seattle business community with plans to launch in San Francisco.

Project Ascendance Research: In May, we held our first annual ASCEND Leadership Summit with attendance and conversations that exceeded our expectations. Subscribe to our ASCEND Leadership YouTube channel for more!

Champions and Protégés: check out our latest info here and contact us if you’re interested in running a pilot program.

What We’ve Learned

There are wonderful, servant leaders in the nonprofit space giving their best. While money is always appreciated, strategic help can advance their mission in unique ways. Recently, one of the non-profits we support was featured in the NYTimes for its accomplishments. Their executive director was quick to call out our role in their success saying, “You had a lot to do with helping me figure out the new path for our org, so consider yourself a part of all this!”

Non-profit results and publicity are often inversely related. We are thrilled that the organizations we worked with are getting amazing results.

Giving back benefits the individual giver, their employer, and the organization they give back to. New research, based on Coca-Cola, highlights that givers in the workplace experienced a drop in depression and an increase in satisfaction with both their lives and their work.

Recipients of kindness are more likely to pay it forward. Our collaborators and the recipients of our pro-bono work are more likely to help others, which is supported by research.

Young people want a sense of purpose. Gen Z, often defined as those born in the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, now make up the largest population in the workforce. They are committed to giving back and pursuing social good, even more than the Millennials. The “never again” movement is just one example of how this generation mobilizes and strives to improve society. During the summer, we welcomed a large class of interns who energized us and gave us hope for the future. It was our obligation to equip them with skills and experiences to solve the really hard problems in the world. In addition, our interns receive the benefit of time to give back, and we believe our senior leaders modeling this value in action supports individuals finding purpose within and outside of work.

What Happens Next?

At our core, we believe business can be a force for good, so we will continue to give back 4.5% of our time in the coming year. If you’re interested in joining a pro-bono project or if you know a non-profit needing strategic guidance organizationally, with data or digital, please introduce us to them! Email Christy for more information.