Oktane Turns 10: Okta for Good Looks Back and Ahead

As we celebrate the 10th year of Oktane, the company’s largest annual customer event, I’m reminded that Oktane was also the birthplace of Okta for Good. It marked the beginning of Okta’s long-term commitment to social and environmental impact. This early pledge to give back to our communities has become so much more. Let’s take a look. 

Our origin story 

At Oktane 2016, Todd McKinnon announced, on the mainstage, that Okta was taking the 1% Pledge, committing employee time, product, and equity to nonprofits. As part of this pledge, we launched our technology donation program for nonprofits and our first employee volunteer programs. Importantly, as this was still before Okta’s IPO, Okta’s leadership also set aside 300,000 shares to launch the Okta for Good Fund and support our long-term philanthropy. 

This was the foundation for Okta’s commitment to giving and a pivotal moment in Okta’s journey from a startup to an established company. At the time, we didn’t quite know what Okta for Good would look like, but making this public commitment ensured that social impact would always be a key part of our vision. It sent a powerful signal to employees, customers, investors, and our communities that clearly said, “these are our values, and this is who we are.”

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Todd at Oktane 2016 announcing O4G and our 1% Pledge

Growing our impact

But it wasn’t just a signal. Once we made this commitment, we got to work. Here are some key highlights from the last 6+ years: 

  • Donated more than $25 million in cash, tech, and services to nonprofit organizations around the world:
    • $11.1 million in cash
    • $15 million in donated products and services
  • Supported more than 5,500 nonprofits through employee giving and volunteering 
  • Maintained more than 80% participation from our employee base in volunteering or giving within the past three years 
  • Launched Apps for Good on the Okta Integration Network, enabling all of Okta’s customers to engage their employees in giving back (more than 1M workers and counting!)
  • Expanded Okta for Good from a purely social impact program to include initiatives around ESG and sustainability. These shifts brought about opportunities to integrate ESG into how we run our business and to create long-term value for the business and society. And our sustainability initiatives allowed us to recognize the evolving demands of our employees, customers, and investors. 
  • Reached critical milestones on our climate journey, including
    • achieving 100 percent renewable electricity annually for our global offices, employees’ remote work, and third-party cloud providers
    • setting science-based emissions-reduction targets (SBTs) approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). 
    • a sustainability strategy that addresses social inequities. We purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) with a social benefit and support Solar Stewards, which provides affordable clean energy and reduced utility bills for low-income residents, creating more equity in renewable energy markets.

While these numbers and achievements are important, I’m much more proud of how we’ve built this work. Since that announcement almost seven years ago, we’ve operated with two core beliefs that have guided everything else:

  1. The most effective social impact programs are an extension of the business. They leverage a company’s core competencies and resources. They create both business and societal value. 
  2. Our job is to listen first and trust our partners. We will never be the experts on community needs. It’s our responsibility to understand the challenges our communities are facing and to act as translators back into Okta to catalyze action. We’ve taken a learning and trust-based approach to our partnerships—this has made all the difference. 

This approach, staying tightly aligned to Okta’s core strategy and listening to our partners, led to one of Okta for Good's largest initiatives to date. At Oktane20, we announced a $10 million commitment over three years to support grants and investments in nonprofits working at the intersection of social good and technology. At the center of this commitment is the Okta for Good Nonprofit Technology Initiative, a program laser-focused on supporting the foundational technology needs of nonprofits. In our last impact report, we shared that we’ve already contributed $6.5M in grants and $8.5M in technology toward this effort. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming months.

An Okta for Good timeline

Oktane16: Okta takes 1% Pledge and announces the launch of Okta for Good

Oktane17: Launch of Okta for Good Fund and first grant to Nethope

Emergency Fundraiser for Team Rubicon to support Hurricane Harvey response

Oktane18: Announcement of a major partnership with FastForward, tech nonprofit accelerator

Oktane19: Launch of Apps for Good, Okta’s first broad-based social impact product offering

Oktane20: Launch of $10M philanthropy commitment and Nonprofit Technology Initiative

Oktane21: Announcement of first public climate commitment to 100% Renewable Electricity

Where we’re going

Today, Okta’s vision is to enable everyone to safely use any technology. As has always been true, Okta for Good extends this. When Okta says “enable everyone,” Okta for Good’s role is to ensure that everyone truly means everyone, now and in the future. This is the guiding principle for our emerging human rights work, our digital divide, and tech workforce development programs, as well as our growing focus on sustainability and continued focus on our nonprofit technology efforts. 

With an expanding threat landscape and the additional struggle to hire technical talent, nonprofits often tell us that, when it comes to cybersecurity, they’re at a distinct disadvantage. This lack puts their organizations, and the vulnerable communities they serve, at risk. But we are committed to helping in closing this gap. To that end, this year, we launched the Okta for Good Nonprofit Cybersecurity Portfolio, which includes more than $1 million in new grants to support stronger cybersecurity for nonprofits. We also recently partnered with NetHope, USAID, and the CyberPeace Institute to establish an Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) to help humanitarian organizations respond to current and future cyber threats. This first-of-its-kind public-private partnership is a model for working together across sectors to protect and strengthen civil society. This is just the beginning of the work we hope to do in this space, and we are looking for more corporate partners to join us. Stay tuned for more in the coming months!

Oktane22: it all comes full circle

With Oktane’s 10th anniversary this year, we wanted to do something significant to honor both where we’ve been and where we’re going. Here’s a peek at what we’ve got in store: 

We’ll be announcing a donation of $100,000 over two years to CodePath to support cybersecurity workforce development. CodePath is on a mission to eliminate inequities in tech education and diversify the tech field. We’re excited to kick off this partnership with an organization making a huge impact on the lives of students and the tech sector as a whole. 

As we have done for the past several years, in lieu of giving out swag to attendees, we’ll be making a $75,000 donation to Community Tech Network to continue our support of closing the digital divide. This organization and the grant are specifically focused on our hometown of San Francisco, where this year’s Oktane is taking place. 

The entire Okta for Good team will be engaged in running sessions on topics ranging from Identity and ESG to how Okta’s technology can accelerate mission-driven organizations to innovations being driven by tech nonprofits—plus lots more fun. 

We’re excited to continue this work alongside Okta’s entire community. Thank you all for being a part of where we’ve been and, most importantly, for helping us shape what a better future for all of us can look like. 

Remember: Okta offers complimentary conference passes to Oktane for non-profit organizations that are also Okta users. We also have a Digital Pass for those who can’t make it in person. Register here

We would love to hear from you. Visit the Okta for Good page or reach out to us with ideas or feedback.