The company I work for, Atlassian has a corporate philanthropy policy of pledge 1%. Its a movement they founded inspired by Marc Benioff of Salesforce. We pledge 1% of our profits, equity, product and employee time to not for profit causes. As an employee I’m thankful that the Atlassian Foundation enables me to take 5 days paid leave to volunteer. I wanted to share my experience volunteering and pledging my time to a local community organisation.
I took Foundation Leave on Tuesday for 4 hours to serve the Santa Clara county with 13 coworkers. We volunteered at CSA (Community Services Agency) of Mountain View, Los Altos, & Los Altos Hills. Here’s some more info about CSA from their website:
“We are a non-profit organization whose mission is to be the safety net for the most vulnerable members of our community.
Here at CSA, we offer services to individuals and families on low or fixed incomes, to those who are homeless, and to seniors (60+ years old). Our goal is to provide the basic necessities of life to those in need, including assistance with homeless prevention, food, and health checks for the elderly.”
Surprisingly, 1 in 10 families in Santa Clara county get their food from a food bank. We sorted and handed out fresh produce – bags of onions, cucumbers, pears and watermelons of all sizes. The food was overstock, or slightly damaged but still good food.
I was one of the first to arrive on the site and I started by bagging 8 cucumbers per plastic bag. Later I handed out watermelons. I must have given away about 100 watermelons. What surprised me was that there was a lot of elderly Chinese people with a lot of them speaking Mandarin or Cantonese. So I was able to use my Chinese language skills to help them.
The weather was hot today. There were a lot of people waiting, I imagine for hours to be first in line. Unfortunately, an elderly lady collapsed whilst waiting and the paramedics were called.
There was also a trailer outside, where people could get their clothes washed. People came from all walks of life. Families, elderly, disabled. They have to qualify to be eligible but it’s a no questions asked policy. We simply handed out food to those that needed it. It’s kind of ironic that we’re handing out food behind some really expensive apartments in Mountain View. Not everyone in Silicon Valley (South Bay) is well off. It was a good reminder that there’s many people out there that we need to look out for that are less fortunate and we have a social responsibility to give back. We volunteer at the CSA every second Tuesday. If you’re interested in volunteering at the CSA go here. If you’d like to learn more about Pledge 1%, an amazing corporate philanthropy policy, go here.