3 Chicago tech leaders discuss how — and why — their companies give back to the community

May 30, 2019

What good is success if you can’t share it with others? A person’s accomplishments are made even more impactful when they use their good fortunes to affect change and give others opportunities to succeed as well. Chicago is a place that understands that well, and professionals in the tech space here are eager to lend elbow-grease, resources and time to help those who are less fortunate or capable. 

We spoke to leaders at three companies to hear about how and why their companies, and the team members within them, encourage and facilitate philanthropy. 

 

ActiveCampaign team çhatting in office

ActiveCampaign provides services like automation, email marketing, targeted messaging and more to small businesses so they can better connect with their customers. Vice President of People Denise Bindelglass said working to educate the city’s youth is a big deal for team members at the company. 

 

Why do you believe it’s so important to give back to the Chicago community?

We consider ourselves very fortunate to be working for a growing company and want to share that good fortune locally. While we support a variety of organizations and causes, our employees are particularly motivated by and passionate about learning and education for underserved students in Chicago. 

 

Our employees are particularly motivated by and passionate about learning and education for underserved students in Chicago.”

What is the next big philanthropic initiative the company is working on?

We are planning several service days where large groups of employees will come together for a full day of giving back, across three or four different initiatives. This is in addition to some of the other employee-driven events including clothing and toy drives, our Best Buddies partnership and volunteering with Chicago Scholars.

 

Centro team in tropical-themed group photo

Brands and digital advertising firms utilize Centro’s cloud-based marketing software to automate and optimize their digital media operations. Executive Vice President of Talent and Development Emily Barron said the company has some impactful philanthropic projects on the horizon, spurred by partnerships with local and national organizations. 

 

Why do you believe it’s so important to give back to the Chicago community?

Giving back to our community through volunteer groups, non-profit organizations, charity or other means provides much help to those in need and contributes to the common good. Centro is dedicated to helping our team members become better versions of themselves, and we believe that participating in community service has great benefits to one’s overall well-being. It increases people’s social awareness and responsibility while creating special bonds with the population being served. It also enhances their personal knowledge and helps them grow from new experiences. Participating in community service not only makes a difference to those being served but also makes a difference to those providing the service.

 

We believe that participating in community service has great benefits to one’s overall well-being.”

What is the next big philanthropic initiative the company is working on?

We’re looking forward to hosting an office visit for a junior class from Senn High School through a partnership with the organization OneGoal. Our various departments will be informing them of different career options. For example, while you’ve heard the term “marketing,” would students know the details of what marketing departments do and are responsible for? OneGoal is an organization that helps students of low-income communities realize their post-secondary dreams. We are also looking forward to partnering with Habitat for Humanity and sending team members to help with their projects.

 

VelocityEHS team members do construction work

Companies that must meet health, safety and sustainability standards can employ VelocityEHS software to manage and reach their goals efficiently. Vice President of Human Resources Rachel Kaiser said the company’s philanthropic initiatives are varied in the work they accomplish, and this helps broaden the horizons of those team members who volunteer.

 

Why do you believe it’s so important to give back to the Chicago community? 

Chicago is such a dynamic city that has so much to offer those living in it. It’s really important to us that our employees get an opportunity to step out of their daily routines — and even a bit outside of their comfort zones — to see another side of the city and its people that they might not otherwise experience. Whether it’s cleaning up North Avenue Beach as part of our company’s Earth Week activities, or helping adults with disabilities expand their professional development skills at the Aspire Career Academy, we will always challenge our employees to encounter a different side of Chicago.

 

We will always challenge our employees to encounter a different side of Chicago.”

What is the next big philanthropic initiative the company is working on?

For the program’s second year, we’re excited to participate in Habitat for Humanity Chicago’s The House That Tech Built. This initiative brings together local tech companies to completely fund and build a Habitat Chicago home. Throughout the summer, our employees will be rolling up their sleeves and participating in build days. It’s a great opportunity for us to give back as a company and also for our employees to make a difference personally as well.  

 

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