By Chris Rauber. Originally published on San Francisco Business Times.
The Salesforce Foundation is hoping to inspire 500 startups to pledge 1 percent of their company’s equity, 1 percent of the founder’s personal equity and 1 percent of their product and employees’ time within the next year. The Salesforce Foundation pioneered the Pledge 1% program 15 years ago.
A new website aims to make participation in the program easier.
Atlassian, an Australian software firm with U.S. offices in San Francisco and Austin, Texas, and the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado are backing the new website along with the corporate foundation of San Francisco-based Salesforce.com. The trio made the announcement to coincide with Giving Tuesday, the philanthropy world’s answer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
The new site, www.pledge1percent.org, explains how companies can make a pledge, complete with online tools and background information.
The Pledge 1% effort is already supported by a host of high-tech companies, including Salesforce, Google, Cotap, Foundry Group, Rally Software and Yelp, among others. Other partner organizations, such as B Lab, SV Angel, TechStars and UpGlobal have signed on as well, volunteering to encourage the startup companies they work with to take the pledge.The campaign is being administered by the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado, based in Boulder.
Sydney, Australia-based Atlassian, which makes project management and team collaboration software, formalized its pledge in 2006 to donate 1 percent of equity, profit, employee time and software licenses to the effort, officials said.
“When our company was small, we made a public 1 percent pledge so that our employees and the world would hold us accountable,” said Scott Farquhar, the Aussie software company’s co-founder and co-CEO. That decision “has turned into more than $30 million” in equity contributions, he said.
Ebony Frelix, Salesforce Foundation’s vice president of programs, said the Salesforce.com-backed foundation made the Dec. 2 announcement in partnership with Atlassian, Rally Software and the Rally Foundation, and Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado, to stress that the campaign is not a one-company campaign but a collaborative effort among many organizations.
“We’re pooling our resources,” Frelix said, since one of the perceived barriers to other organizations signing up for the Pledge 1% program is that “people sometimes associate it with one company.”
To date, the foundation has provided $73 million in grants to nonprofits, and Salesforce employees have logged 743,000 volunteer hours worldwide, officials said.