23 Startups That are Giving Back to the Community This Holiday Season

November 26, 2014

7:30 pm

For most, the holidays are a time for people to get reunited with friends and family, and simply to celebrate and relive the days of yore. For startups in particular, it’s a time for founder and employees alike to step away briefly from the daily grind to appreciate everything else they have going for them. What’s significant, though, is the increasing number of startups that are using the holidays to give back to those who may not have the graces of supportive networks or resources. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we reached out to startups to see whether they’d be giving back to the community in some way this holiday season – and we got plenty of responses.

Whether it’s through monetary contributions or actual time spent volunteering at a local nonprofit organization, startups across the country are doing what they can to give back to their communities. While it’s certainly important to focus on the business side of running a company, having a philanthropic arm says a lot about a startup’s values and overall direction. Take a look at these startups that are giving back to the community this holiday season, and hopefully they can inspire your company to do the same!

Here are 23 startups that are giving back to their communities this holiday season:

Amerimerch

“Amerimerch is a proud contributor of American causes, foundations, and charities. This holiday season a percent of each sale goes to assist U.S. Veterans and their Families. We guarantee that your purchase is not only helping to employ Americans, but it is also helping U.S. soldiers and families in need.” – Gordon Allen, Owner

Anaplan

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“Anaplanners volunteered at the SF-Marin Food Bank on October 30 as part of our Anaplan Cares initiative. In just under four hours, volunteers boxed nearly 23,000 pounds of pears that will be distributed to food pantries, children’s snack programs and soup kitchens throughout the Bay Area. We believe it is incredibly important to contribute to the greater good. While our vision is to shake up an industry with a disruptive technology, we are also determined to build a great company that values transparency and engagement with our customers, employees and the community at large. To that end, we are dedicating our products, equity, time, and website to causes our employees, customers and partners care about.”

Blue Apron

“Last year, Blue Apron gave members the opportunity to donate their box to a family in need during the week of Thanksgiving. Blue Apron saw a really wonderful response from the community and as a result, opened this opportunity up to everyone this year, regardless of whether you are a Blue Apron customer. The food drive ended on November 20 and Blue Apron exceeded their goal of 35,000 meals this year, nearly five times more than in 2013.”

Boxter

“We love animals at Boxter (especially our canine mascot Nico), and our favorite charity to support is PAWS (Philly Animal Welfare Society). The non-profit rescues animals and offers them up for adoption. We help out  as much as we can volunteering their no-kill shelter and by fostering animals. The weekend before Thanksgiving we [helped] out with their Ugly Sweater Adoption Extravaganza.” – Michael Riley, Cofounder

Brighthaus

“For the holidays this year, we will actually be doing two events to give back to the community! On Dec 19th, we will be donating our time to
volunteer at the San Diego Food Bank to help them organize food donations to give away to local families. Then on Dec. 22nd. we will be hosting a fundraiser event at a local venue where we will have entertainment. People are welcome to come and hang out, along with donate books or toys to benefit the St. Vincent De Paul charity and Rady Children’s Hospital. We fully believe in giving back to our community, especially during the holiday season when there is a higher need. We hope to make even the slightest of difference to our community, and become and example to other local startups to give back to our amazing community.” – Alex Zaragoza, Director of Content and Social Media

CellBreaker

“As part of the Marine Corps tradition, every year I raise money for Toys for Tots, a national program that helps provide toys to underprivileged
children on Christmas. This year, however, I’ve had the help of my whole CellBreaker team who happily joined in the fundraising. We’re been to various events and thanks to some great planning and teamwork, we’ve managed to raise at a rate of 400 dollars per hour! We’ll be raising until mid-December, and then using the money to buy toys and distribute them.” – Jules Hill, VP of Operations

Common Form

“We will  be volunteering at the Feeding San Diego Food Bank on Tuesday December 2, sorting food at  their facility. As a tax software company we’re keenly aware of how wealthy this country is, and find it horrifying that anyone who lives  here should go hungry. We’re not a huge team with deep pockets, but we can give back to our community in this small way.” – Bill Hendricks, CEO and cofounder

Community Elf

“Given that our organization is called ‘Community Elf’ we have taken it upon ourselves to fulfill our role of helping kids during the holiday season. We are currently completing a toy drive for the local children’s hospital and will deliver these in true elf fashion shortly before the December holiday. ‘Elves help kids – and we wouldn’t have it any other way.'” – Scott A. Rogerson, CEO

Congrats

“This holiday season, when folks use Congrats to send family members and loved ones a personalized card, not only will they spread love to another, they will be giving love to our earth. To counter the millions of trees cut down annually to fuel the traditional greeting card industry – with 300,000 cut down in the U.S. alone for the December holiday season – Congrats has partnered with PATT (Plant a Tree Today) Foundation and is committed to planting trees in the world’s most deforested regions whenever greetings are delivered with Congrats. On Congrats’ website you can find the Tree Tracker and see the progress that has been made, now that the app has launched.” – Alan Hunt, CEO

Coolhaus

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“This season, we’ve made a Movember ice cream sandwich and will donate a percentage of the proceeds to the Movember Foundation! The
sandwich is made with mocha marcona almond fudge ice cream with salt & sugar Nutella and double chocolate cookies.” – Natasha Case, CEO and cofounder

Drizly

“First, Drizly will be donating 30% of profits through the end of the month to No Kid Hungry, a great organization that is working to end child hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. Second, Drizly is holding a “Get a Bottle, Give a Can” food drive. Consumers who place an order through Drizly in participating markets [by today, November 26] can give their delivery driver non-perishable items in return to be donated to local food banks. Finally, as our way of giving thanks to our users, we’re offering free delivery on orders over $50 with the promo code ‘Turkey’ now through Thanksgiving.” – Kerry McGovern, Senior Director of Communications & Media

Foodify

“Our startup is giving back this Thanksgiving with donations to all the local food banks in our service area (250 dollars to each of four, for a total of $1,000), and an afternoon of volunteering at the food bank near our office in Charlottesville, Virginia. We will be taking photos when we go to volunteer. In addition, Foodify customers earn rewards points when they place their group orders to restaurants and caterers on our site, and those points can be redeemed for charity donations year-round (among other possible rewards.) We have one customer who rallies all the orderers at her company to place their orders through Foodify, so they can collectively earn more money for her cause. We’re a business, but we don’t want to just be another random company. That’s the benefit of being small, that we get to align the priorities of the company with how we feel as a team. And we want to feel like we’re giving back.” – Hunter Stokes, CEO

Greenpal

The “Uber for lawn moving” is giving back this holiday season through the gift of free lawn moving for the year for someone in the Tampa area. Nominations here.

Hera Hub

“We donate over $10,000 worth of event and workspace to numerous non-profits in San Diego and have hosted numerous clothing, toiletries, and supply drives for local organizations. While offering space, money, and resources is important, I realized we could do much more throughout the year. I launched Hera’s Hands, a collective of Hera Hub members that donate their skills, time, money, and expertise to local non-profits educating disenfranchised demographics and youth on the power of entrepreneurship, education, and possibility. Our group designedand led an after school program for the Monarch School – a local school that supports children impacted by homelessness. This holiday season we wanted to extend a powerful and collaborative offering to our neighboring non-profits by launching Hera Heart’s Think Tank. We gathered some of the best minds in San Diego to mastermind and solve the organizational challenges/needs of a local non-profit. In typical ‘Think Tank’ style, we featured a three different non-profits (at two of our locations, totally 6 organizations) to present their organizational challenge in three minutes, three slides, and three questions. Members rallied around the cause/organization they are
passionate about (and where they can lend their experience) and solved the organizations need/challenge. Our community volunteered time, services, and talents to create measurable solutions against the very social issues that inspire the work behind our partnering non-profits.” – Felena Hanson, Founder

Naturalicious

“We sponsor Dress for Success and are proud to continue to do so throughout the holiday season. Dress for Success helps disadvantaged women create economic independence by providing professional attire, a strong support system & career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. At NATURALICIOUS, we realize a lot a self-esteem is embodied in our hair. How you feel about your hair is often a reflection of how you view your beauty. And how you feel about your beauty is a reflection of how you feel about yourself. We believe it is imperative for these women to feel beautiful all year long — not only while at work, but also in their personal lives and especially during the hectic chaos of the holidays. Starting your life over is a daunting process, especially when you’re already at a disadvantage. We assist them by providing hair care products and education free of charge, so they gain the confidence they need to pursue & achieve their dreams. Some of the women we assist are single moms; others have limited education. Some are even recovering from addiction. During the holiday season, we send the women care packages full of organic beauty goodies that allow them to feel wonderful, relaxed and look great.” – Gwen Jimmere, CEO and founder

ONTRAPORT

“Each year ONTRAPORT sponsors a charity which is chosen by employee vote. This year we have been sponsoring CASA of Santa
Barbara, an organization that helps abused and neglected children. This month, in the spirit of the season, we have: run a canned food drive, which occurred during our job fair; asked employees and potential hires to donate, with one of our employees even dressing up as a turkey; put together Thanksgiving meals/ baskets; and participated in a holiday gift drive where employees can choose a child and get them a Christmas gift off of their wish list.” – Andrea Webber, PR Assistant

Qmee

“Qmee was founded on the principle of giving back, and we’ve had a charity cash out option from day one. This holiday season, we wanted to plus up our charitable giving and on November 1, we launched a social campaign called ‘Qmee CrowdFund’ which is underway until the end of this month. We started by asking our users what types of charities they were passionate about and then from there selected 3 charity options based on their feedback. Since then we’ve asked fans to vote for the charity they’d like to see the donation go to (Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Feeding America or Red), and throughout the month we are encouraging users to donate their cash rewards to the Qmee CrowdFund cash out option. At the end of the month we will donate the entire fund to charity our users have voted for.” – Nick Sutton, Cofounder

Sociagram

“At our startup, we are offering GiftGram, our video gift message service, for free this holiday season and would love to target them to military families as they send gifts to their loved ones who will not be with them over the holidays. We have a GiftGram that is accompanying 700 pounds of donated candy from a dentist’s office in Lakewood, Ohio to Operation Gratitude where it will be distributed to the troops.” – Sally Schriner, President

Stylinity

“Giving back has always been important to us, and given the generous spirit of the holiday season there’s no better time to launch our charity arm – Selfies Save The World. We’re kicking things off by partnering with The Pink Agenda to help raise money and awareness for breast cancer research and survivors in a fun and innovative way – by sharing and shopping selfies! People are already sharing millions of selfies daily, why not do it for a good cause?” – Tadd Spering, founder and CEO

Thankful

“Since the name of my business is Thankful, this year I decided to do something that wedding businesses are generally hesitant to do. Thankful is raising awareness and donations for the global issue of childhood and early marriage with proceeds going directly to a New York based non-profit – Too Young to WedThe campaign [has launched]. How it works is anyone who donates 50 dollars directly to the non-profit will be sent a complimentary “100% Thankful” cotton tote bag that we designed and made specifically for this campaign. There are 100 totes up for grabs and the proceeds will go directly towards a pilot program Too Young To Wed are starting in Ethiopia. (We decided to do it this way, instead of selling the bags with a portion of sales going to the non-profit, so the non-profit receives more money.) On a small level, I want Thankful to contribute to an important cause. On a bigger level, I hope this will encourage our peers in the wedding industry to incorporate charitable giving into their business and marketing efforts.” – Kathy Cheng, Founder

TinyPulse

“We recently volunteered at the Salvation Army, serving lunch to about 70 folks. TINYpulse makes it a priority to volunteer not just during the holidays, but every quarter, we spent at least one day volunteering as a team. In addition, we also give 1% of our product back by giving grants to non-profits.” – Amy Chen, Communications Manager

Tipsy Elves

We strongly believe in giving back to the community, especially around the holidays, and have implemented several programs to do just that. Tipsy Elves’ Sweaters 4 Sweaters program donates a brand new hoodie to children in need for every sweater sold on the site. We’ve also partnered with Save the Children to donate over a thousand hoodies to some of the most disadvantaged schools in America. Our checkout process allows customers to round their purchase up to the nearest dollar and we match all donations. Tipsy Elves also gives back to the local community as much as possible by donating to organizations like San Diego Rescue Mission and the Set Free Fellowship Organization.” – Brian Stumbaugh, Public Relations Specialist

Voices.com

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“Voices.com is involved with numerous charity initiatives throughout the year, including the Heart & Stroke ‘Big Bike’ Ride, the United Way’s ‘Stair Climb,’ and the annual Boys and Girls Club water carnival. However, a special tradition we started last year, and are working to make happen again this year, is a twist on the company Christmas party. Instead of spending money on a night out on the town, our team and their families gather for an intimate dinner at our Founders’ house, where we assemble care packages for homeless or struggling men for Mission Services. We use a large portion of the budget we would normally set aside for a holiday celebration, and buy supplies that those down on their luck need to stay warm or to get back on their feet with. We get everything from toiletries to outerwear, to supplies to start a new home for themed packages aptly named The Gift of Wellness, The Gift of Warmth, The Gift of New Beginnings. Everyone, from the most senior executive, to the youngest child of a team member, gets into the spirit and assembles a care package that is then hand-delivered to Mission Services for distribution. With a team of nearly 60, and everyone creating a kit, that is 60 lives that are a little bit better. This new tradition has quickly become our most favorite, and one we hope to do every single year.” – Trisha Beausaert, Public Relations Manager

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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things.

Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in ‘Doctor Who’, Murakami, ‘The Mindy Project’, and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a “writer”. Tweet @RonaldPBarba.

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