Says Gliffy Founder, Chris Kohlhardt
"We committed to Pledge 1% because I want to be able to give something back to the San Francisco community I have called home for over 22 years. We worked very hard to build Gliffy into a strong company. Myself and the company have both been fortunate, given many opportunities and touched by luck. We are humbled to be in a position to take a portion of our success and reinvest it, hopefully sending a little luck and opportunity the way of people who need it most."
From the very beginning, Chris wanted philanthropy to be part of Gliffy's DNA. To help that process along and make it personal for his team, he asked Gliffy employees to nominate charities of their choice. To this day, Gliffy donates 5% of company profits to between 5-6 charitable organizations nominated by Gliffy employees.
Two years ago, Gliffy joined Pledge 1% and started donating time, product and in-house expertise in addition to profit. As the Gliffy Charitable Fund grew, Chris realized the company was in a position to make larger contributions. Chris had always been inspired by the philanthropic efforts of giants such as Salesforce, Atlassian and Google, and although Gliffy had less than 40 staff, he realized it too had a role to play in actively helping.
Like many San Franciscans, people on the Gliffy team struggle with a sense of helplessness when regularly faced with men, women and children living on the streets. Because taking action is the only way to reduce that sense of helplessness, Chris chose homelessness as our area of focus.
When Gliffy first set out, Chris recognized its limitations as a software company with no in-house expertise on non-profits or philanthropy. So the company made a decision to hire an advisor and help it identify a project that was designed by local experts, aligned with its values and in need of funding. Chris was inspired by the work of Jeff Kositsky and the leadership at San Francisco’s newly created Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. That’s why he chose to invest in their expanded “problem-solving” strategy which helps minimize the pipeline of people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco.
In addition to the main contribution Gliffy will be making to the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, throughout the year, the Gliffy team will be learning about, volunteering with, and making smaller financial contributions to various organizations working to eradicate homelessness. Gliffy recently volunteered with Downtown Streets Team, an organization that “empowers individuals and acts as a stepping stone into employments, housing and a better life”. We are also bringing in local experts like Enterprise Community Partners to help us understand the larger policy work that exacerbates Bay Area housing costs across income levels.
Gliffy hasn't forgotten about business goals and objectives, but at the same time the company wants to be active in its communities and to give back. Chris hopes to prove that even a small team can make a significant impact and to inspire other smaller companies to incorporate a philanthropy program into their work.
"If a company doesn't know where to get started, we are eager to help. Contact me at email@example.com"
Chris Kohlhardt is Founder and Chairman of the Board of Gliffy, a San Francisco-based software company that specializes in visual tools that empower teams, allowing them to work better together. Gliffy is a member of Pledge 1%, which encourages and challenges individuals and companies to commit 1% of equity, profit, product, and/or employee time to their communities.