01.18.2017 | Mike Gellman

Being a One Percenter

I'm often intrigued by the less obvious targets of disruption. Take, for instance, philanthropy. People have been giving away money for as long as money's existed, but only recently, are we seeing that it can be done better.

Bill Gates is the poster boy for innovation in giving. Of course, when you're the richest man in the world, you can afford to experiment. And he did. He posited that when you treat charity like business, you'll get better results. He was right. The Gates model forever changed the way the ultra-wealthy put their money to work for good.

But what about the rest of us? Particularly, what about those of us who are working everyday to build new companies and launch new products? We're not Bill Gates (yet), but we want to make the world a better place, in more ways than one. That's where Pledge 1% comes in...

Pledge 1% is an organization/movement/paradigm that asks early-stage business owners to pledge one percent of company equity, product, annual profits, or employee time to nonprofits of their choosing, making the community a stakeholder in their business.

It's so simple, yet so ingenious. Not a surprise, considering it was founded by Mark Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, and Scott Farquhar, CEO of Atlassian. They know a little something about simple and ingenious.

On the surface, one percent doesn't seem like a lot, but there's a domino effect. Take one percent from thousands of companies and thousands of exits and you have a major charitable force. And, you have the funds guided directly by entrepreneurs and CEOs, people who know how to make change happen. That, my friends, is disruptive!

Because we believe in it so much, Spire Digital has decided to make Pledge 1% Colorado, the local affiliate of Pledge 1%, our dedicated cause. We became a member, we took the pledge, and Adam Hasemeyer, our VP of Business Development, joined their board. We also promote/push Pledge 1% throughout our ecosystem.

Local celebrity champions of Pledge 1% Colorado are Ryan Martens of Rally Software and Seth Levine of Foundry Group. Local member companies include Spire friends, clients, and partners such as Choozle, Dizzion, Galvanize, Oracle, SRS Acquiom, TechStars, and Tendril, to name a few. If it sounds like I'm name dropping, I am. If that helps get more companies to partake in this movement, then it's worth it.

So, this is my PSA. Go to www.pledge1colorado.org if you're in the great state of Colorado or www.pledge1percent.org if you're anywhere else and learn more. This is innovation in corporate philanthropy and you should be a part of it.

Mike Gellman

FOUNDER & CEO

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