The rise of the Internet brought with it an unprecedented ability for small startups to make a big impact on the business world. Fortunately, many of these startups were either founded with or developed goals to also make a big positive impact on their communities through philanthropic efforts. These eight startups continue to make big impacts both in the world of business and philanthropy.
Grindr bills itself as “the world’s largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans and queer people.” Grindr has made a huge impact on the lives of LGBT+ people by providing them a social network of their own to connect. They are also making a difference in the lives of LGBT+ people by providing resources for LGBT+ safety, sexual health, and gender identity, as well as donating part of their profits to fighting transphobia and homophobia in sports.
Goodworld developed the world’s only technology for donating on social media and the web by hashtag. Their technology powers #donate, which allows users on Facebook, Twitter, and the web to make donations to their favorite charitable causes simply by including the hashtag in their tweets and Facebook posts. The service, which is largely targeted towards nonprofits, influencers and brands, also allows users to discover causes they might like to support on the Goodworld website.
Thistle Farms manufactures lotions, oils, and soaps made from simple ingredients. A large percentage of their workforce consists of women who are survivors of human trafficking, domestic abuse, and addiction. Their Nashville based residential program provides free housing, medical care, therapy, and job training for up to 32 women at a time. Thistle’s current manufacturing manager and national sales director are both graduates of their residential program and women who continue to work for the company after they leave the program are provided with ongoing career training.
Startups Give Back
Startups Give Back assists other startups with matching their employees with opportunities to volunteer in their local communities. They have worked with well-known companies such as Buzzfeed, Uber, Salesforce.org and LinkedIn. The selling point for their program is that it allows employees to make an immediate impact, while also fostering a sense of community and providing employees with new opportunities to grow their networks. Volunteering has been shown to be one of the best ways to inspire workforce passion, which makes this project a win for both communities and businesses.
ArtLifting calls itself a national social enterprise that empowers artists who are living with homelessness and disabilities. There are thousands of art groups in homeless shelters across the United States, but most lack exposure and the art created in these groups often end up in the trash. This program assists artists with selling their paintings, prints and other products, which provides them with needed income and a sense of purpose and self-confidence. The program has spread to 17 different states and features more than 100 artists. Many artists have gained housing as a result of their participation in the program and others have reported that the program has positively impacted many aspects of their lives.
OneHope Wine capitalized on American’s enthusiasm for drinking wine by pairing wine drinking with charitable giving. A percentage of sales is donated to a variety of charitable causes and the company encourages customers to host their own charitable wine tastings. So far, the company has donated over $5 million, planted more than 100 thousand trees, helped over 65 thousand pets find forever homes, provided more than 2.7 million meals to children and delivered over 190 thousand vaccines.
Beautiful Rights donates 20% of the sale of their lipstick products to various causes that support women’s rights and gender justice. Causes they support include March for Our Lives, Moms Demand Action, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Momsrising, Emily’s List, LAMBDA Legal and Legal Momentum.
Chris Sacca founded Lowercase Capital as a venture capital firm. Initially focused on private funds and consumer-oriented startups and tech companies, Sacca’s portfolio grew to over 70 companies. His early investments in Kickstarter, Twitter, Uber, and Instagram helped push him to the #2 spot on Forbes’ Midas List in 2017. In that same year, Sacca decided to no longer raise venture capital funds and instead turn his focus to charitable causes. Since then, he has invested in charity: water, a non-profit which provides clean drinking water, the ACLU and The Bail Project. In recent years, his philanthropic focus has been on projects which deal with climate change and global environmental challenges. He helped establish Lowercarbon Capital to provide entrepreneurs and scientists with capital to develop new planet-healing technologies.
Startup companies continue to find new and innovative ways to pair their successful business operations with charitable giving. Best of all, many of them have also found ways to inspire their customers, employees and other entrepreneurs to also make a positive difference in their communities.