How Hollie’s Hub for Good is empowering educational non-profits across the world

Thirty non-profits have benefitted from $300,000 in cloud infrastructure credits in the first year of global firm DigitalOcean ’s $50 million social impact programme.
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In 2021, cloud infrastructure provider DigitalOcean launched DO Impact, a $50 million social impact programme that aimed to support underserved communities across the globe by providing simplified cloud computing that could be used to create ‘software that changes the world’.

Speaking to Social Story, Admas Kanyagia, Vice President, Social Impact at DigitalOcean , said the initiative was launched after DigitalOcean joined the Pledge 1% movement, a global philanthropy movement started in 2014, where companies pledged to volunteer employee time or contribute products, or cash from their profits or equity to local or global causes.

The COVID-19 crisis and widening social inequalities in its aftermath accelerated the need for co-operation between policymakers, people, and private companies to build solutions that would not only fix the problem at hand, but build resilience in the long term.

Digital Ocean launched DO Impact to mark its one-year IPO anniversary. Admas Kanigyas (in red, far right) is the Vice President, Social Impact at DigitalOcean.

“DO Impact was launched to mark DigitalOcean’s one-year IPO anniversary and 10-year company anniversary. As part of DO Impact, DigitalOcean is fulfilling its Pledge 1% commitment to allocate one percent of its pre-IPO valuation ($50 million) to charitable initiatives over the next 10 years. At DO Impact’s launch in April, the first wave of these grants ($500,000) were awarded to 30 non-profit and educational organisations around the world,” says Admas.

DO Impact is a part of the company’s continuing efforts to give back to organisations that are tackling some of today’s biggest societal challenges in the wake of the pandemic.

“Today, the initiative includes global non-profits and educational organisations that are working within a variety of sectors such as bolstering health, education, and equality,” she says, adding that the selected projects receive support in the form of infrastructure grants, donations, technical guidance, and other resources to maximise the benefit they get from using DigitalOcean ’s computing and infrastructure tools.

Last year, DigitalOcean launched “Hub for Good” in April 2020 to give back to charitable organisations and communities that are tackling some of the pressing societal challenges in the wake of the pandemic. Over time, the programme has expanded to include global non-profits and educational organisations that are working with a variety of sectors such as bolstering health, education, and equality.

Projects enrolled in the programme receive a variety of infrastructure grants, donations, technical guidance, and other resources to help them get the most out of the computing and infrastructure tools that DigitalOcean offers.

In 2021, the programme was renamed “Hollie’s Hub for Good” to honour Hollie Haggans, a DigitalOcean employee and fierce advocate of the developer community who played a key role in the launch of the programme, who passed away earlier that year.

To date, over 2,000 projects have benefitted and been empowered to scale their impact supported by Hollie’s Hub for Good, with the company sharing over $300,000 in DigitalOcean infrastructure credits.

Impact unlimited

“Companies have a responsibility to give back to their communities and social impact initiatives are just one way to help. Social impact and sustainability initiatives have shifted from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have” for many companies, in large part due to the changing attitudes of customers, employees, and other stakeholders that prioritise these programmes and aim to see more investment in these areas,” says Admas. She adds that employees today prefer to work for companies that integrate social responsibility and impact into their business practices. The impact on business too has been positive.

“We’ve also learned that by investing in our external communities and in social impact initiatives, we also gain valuable customer insights into how our products are driving stronger outcomes for all our customers – and how our product is driving value in our larger society,” she says.

Working in India

As part of its pledge to work with global organisations, DO Impact has been supporting several non-profits and educational organisations in India, and scaling their operations through cloud computing. These include:

  • The Girl Code – a non-profit working in Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, New Delhi, Telangana, and Rajasthan that aims to bridge the gender gap in tech by introducing young girls to programming via free local and online workshops.
  • The Rakshin Project – a youth-led movement across India addressing the stigma associated with gender-based violence, with a focus on preventing childhood sexual abuse.
  • Project Sitara Foundation – a student-led nonprofit organisation registered under the Indian Trusts Act, working with children of underprivileged sections of various societies and communities across India in order to enable them to gain self-sufficiency in the 21st century.

Hollie’s Hub for Good prioritises not-for-profit projects that focus on one or more of the following areas: improving health and education, reducing inequality, and spurring economic growth. Organisations both new to DigitalOcean or already building on the platform are eligible to apply. Applications are accepted all-year-round on the Hollie’s Hub for Good page within our community site,” says Admas.

Since the programme was launched, 30 non-profit and educational organisations have received monetary donations through the first round of Pledge 1% grants, and many others have continued to receive DigitalOcean infrastructure credits and support.

“DigitalOcean employees have also continued to contribute to various philanthropic organisations and various volunteer opportunities. In 2021, 32 percent of DigitalOcean’s employees donated to various causes or volunteered their time for charitable organisations,” says Admas.

Speaking about future plans, she says that this year, DO Impact will focus on exploring deeper partnerships with organisations in the Hollie’s Hub for Good programme. “We will also be building better pipelines to attract nonprofit and educational customers to our platform, piloting new employee volunteer programmes, and developing a better understanding of DigitalOcean’s carbon footprint and sustainability efforts,” she says.

“Beyond expanding Hollie’s Hub for Good and DigitalOcean’s sustainability efforts, DO Impact also plans to scale our employee skills-based volunteering programmes, since technical expertise is often a barrier to growth for various social good organisations. The programme also hopes to work more closely with the open-source community to support key open source endeavours and projects,” says Admas, adding that ‘this is just the beginning of DigitalOcean’s larger product, philanthropy, and planet-focused social impact efforts’.

Edited by Megha Reddy

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