If you live or work in the Bay Area, you know the disparities outside our front doors are painful and growing. On one hand, the Silicon Valley economy is thriving. If the region were its own country, it would be one of the wealthiest ones in the world. The area’s success is due, in large part, to the booming tech sector. Many local tech startups like Uber, Lyft, Zoom and Slack went public this year, driving up the number of billionaires populating the region.
But at the same time, poverty is alarmingly prevalent — in fact, the Bay Area has the third-largest homeless population in the United States. And unfortunately, inequality levels are only getting worse, with 90% of workers in the region making less money today than they did in 1997 (after inflation).
At Okta’s San Francisco headquarters, we have seen these inequities grow in our community, and have worked hard to give back by establishing Okta for Good, Okta’s social impact arm, and making commitments to local nonprofit organizations including Tipping Point Community. But it goes beyond our corporate commitments. Our employees, and those working at our peer companies, are increasingly concerned, frustrated and searching for ways to help. Tech workers’ skills, money and influence can be activated to do much more for our community.
That’s why, today, I’m excited to announce we’re taking our efforts another step further: we’re launching a partnership to pioneer a new model for radical collaboration with Full Circle Fund, a nonprofit that leverages professionals’ time, resources and skills to accelerate Bay Area nonprofits.
This partnership is a first-of-its-kind initiative, led by the #ImpactCloud coalition, and bringing together 22 tech leaders from the following 11 companies: Adobe, Amazon, Box, Chegg, DocuSign, Forge, Oracle NetSuite, Salesforce, Splunk, Twilio, and Okta. Beginning in September 2019, Okta and our partners will each donate $15,000 and dedicated time from 2 of our executive leaders to provide hands-on expertise to help three tech-based nonprofits scale their organizational models. This goes beyond traditional skill-based volunteering; our executive volunteers are incorporating trainings and consulting into the process.
The goal of this partnership is not only to deliver critical tech advising and support to these three organizations; it’s also to pilot a new model for deploying tech skills and expertise to the nonprofit sector. We at Okta understand the power of building stronger connections between people, technology and community. What will happen when we get to work on scaling new models for social impact alongside 10 of our tech peers and Full Circle Fund’s community? We can’t wait to find out. The program kicks off in September 2019, so stay tuned for more.