In late September of this year, Pluralsight, the enterprise technology learning platform, took a major step toward addressing the global technology skills gap and fulfilling its mission to democratize technology. The company launched Pluralsight One, a philanthropic arm dedicated to improving technology education and investing in technology-driven solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. To fuel this work, Pluralsight formalized its commitments to holistic, integrated philanthropy by joining the Pledge 1% community across the product, time, equity and profit pillars. Since the launch of Pluralsight One less than three months ago, the organization has made great progress delivering on its founding purpose.

Pluralsight One is building a social enterprise that will fuel its giving capacity and establish a sustainable path by which it will create lasting social impact. Leveraging Pluralsight’s practice of the human-centered product design philosophy, Directed Discovery, and best practices in the social sector, Pluralsight One is actively—and committed to continually—identifying and evaluating the complex root needs of problems within the social sector. As an early effort in this process, Pluralsight One traveled to Vancouver to conduct field research at NetHope Global Summit, meeting with dozens of the world’s largest NGOs who collectively serve millions of people experiencing chronic vulnerability and poverty. While there, Pluralsight One was able to capture challenges, host conversations and identify opportunities for the Pluralsight platform to add value and advance the way the world learns.

In addition to this needs assessment research, Pluralsight One has also collected more than 500 survey responses from organizations around the world and conducted deep interviews with leaders across 50 nonprofits. Findings from the assessment are informing the development of a set of Pluralsight product offerings for the social sector. With an eye to root problems and their drivers, Pluralsight One will effectively apply its resources to strengthen the capacity of the social sector and amplify its impact, enabling organizations to build for the future and equip those they serve with the tech skills needed to create, problem solve, and access economic opportunity. This marked the start of Pluralsight One’s one percent product pledge.

Pluralsight One’s pledge to give of its time has been another central focus for the organization. To democratize technology, Pluralsight One is working to engage and support those who are underrepresented and vulnerable. In September, Pluralsight One activated its network to bring Project Homeless Connect to Utah. The event, which began in San Francisco and has since rolled out across more than 700 communities, has proven to be a successful way to increase inclusion, debunk stereotypes about homelessness and connect those experiencing homelessness with much-needed resources that can be accessed all in one place, at one time. Utah’s inaugural Project Homeless Connect provided more than 1500 individuals experiencing homelessness with more than 80 services through the support of more than 800 volunteers. As a founding volunteer sponsor, Pluralsight One mobilized a large group of employees and their families for an incredible day of compassion and community.

Studies have shown that the emotional and physical stresses associated with homelessness have significant negative impacts on academic performance among children. During the 2011-2012 school year, only 48 percent of homeless students in grades three through eight met statewide math standards and 51 percent met reading standards[1]. These striking numbers represent an incredibly precarious and at-risk group of youth. Given that those years have shown essential for technology education and exposure, Pluralsight One’s support of Project Homeless Connect serves as an important investment in the future and inclusion of these children.

Pluralsight One also recently announced a collaboration with Encircle to host Utah’s first-ever Hour of Code event for LGTBQ+ youth at the IGNITE festival. This event will take place on December 2nd at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah and kick off Computer Science Education week. The summit, designed to equip young LGTBQ+ high school students with the tools they need to foster creativity and kindle their desire to innovate, will commence with welcoming and encouraging remarks from Pluralsight CEO Aaron Skonnard and a video with messages of hope and unity from Pluralsight’s team and broader community. Pluralsight One’s Hour of Code track, called Create the Future, will include three workshops focused on inspiring youth through experiential learning opportunities around technology. In a state where suicide rates are twice the national average and LGTBQ+ youth lack access to many community resources, Pluralsight One is committed to celebrating diversity and promoting an inclusive tech ecosystem where all are welcome.

These actions are just a sampling of the great work Pluralsight One has achieved since its founding this fall. Today, on #GivingTuesday, Pledge 1% celebrates Pluralsight One and its outstanding commitment to giving and volunteerism.

Anusha Teerdhala, Pluralsight employee: “I don’t know how to even express this. Today was one of the most amazing days I’ve had since arriving in the US! Participating in Project Homeless Connect made me feel like I could really make difference in people’s lives. I was able interact with and help people with mental, physical, financial and emotional challenges, from veterans to children. I saw people who were extremely happy to see the the simple help we offered, like the food packets we had for them! Right now, I am feeling just how blessed I really am and the responsibility I have to help make my community better. Thank you Pluralsight for this experience!”

Ian Estes, Pluralsight employee: “This is Rick. He was one of the many kind faces that we had the honor of connecting with on the streets of Salt Lake City at this morning’s Project Homeless Connect event. This event helped so many individuals gain access to services that they otherwise could not afford or get access to. I am thankful to be part of a company that supports initiatives to truly give back to the community and ultimately lift the human condition.”

[1] Firth, P. (2014, September 8). Homelessness and Academic Achievement: The Impact of Childhood Stress on School Performance. Retrieved from Firesteel: http://firesteelwa.org/2014/09/homelessness-and-academic-achievement-the-impact-of-childhood-stress-on-sc