Like they did for many Americans, the results of this election surprised me. The past few months I’ve watched with growing alarm as the divisiveness and angry rhetoric of this campaign cycle grew only louder. And I’ve been particularly troubled by the ways in which the Trump campaign, and over the past two weeks his transition team, have singled out segments of our society already subjected to higher levels of prejudice and discrimination for attack and scapegoating. While I hope the tenor of the administration will be more inclusive once they are in office, I join many in worrying that much of the progress we’ve made on civil rights and equality for minorities, women, and the LGBTQ community may be significantly rolled back over the next four years.
Why am I writing about this on the Soren blog? Because this election has prompted me to do a lot of thinking about what this business can do to help those most at risk, whether the danger comes in the form of official policy changes or of individuals who now feel empowered to take the law into their own hands.
As a mission-driven company, Soren has prioritized helping faith communities and nonprofits who may not have pockets quite as deep as other potential clients we might pursue, but whose missions we wholeheartedly believe in. I have always felt that this work is more about supporting organizations doing important work to improve the lives of others than it is about making money.
After this election, though, I feel compelled to do more. And while this will of course be reflected in my family’s personal giving and volunteering, I also want this commitment to be part of the identity of this business.
So to that end, I am committing Soren to donating 10% of the revenues from each project we undertake to a collection of charitable organizations that represent the values we want to support. In particular, here are some of those values:
- We believe that all people are created in the image of God and endowed with equal dignity and worth. Civil Rights are not a luxury to be granted, they are the bedrock of a just society.
- We believe that this fundamental dignity and equal treatment under the law should never be denied on the basis of race or ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, or ability.
- We believe that these rights apply to all people everywhere, not just those belonging to a particular nation or born in a particular place.
- And finally, we believe that education, economic assistance/development, and protection from violence or the fear of violence are concrete ways we can help those in need to achieve the dignity and equality they deserve.
There are so many organizations we could choose from which promote these values, and over time our list will probably grow and change. Right now, in the current political climate, we are emphasizing support for the following groups:
- The Southern Poverty Law Center
- Human Rights Watch
- HeForShe (UN Women Solidarity Movement for Gender Equality)
Each of these groups will receive 2% of the revenues from each project we undertake. An additional 2% (taking the total to 10%) will be donated to a rotating basket of other charities and funds, including denominational missions and local organizations providing educational services, economic relief and development on the ground, and refugee resettlement.
The organizations we’ve chosen to support reflect both a domestic and an international focus. Though we are particularly galvanized by the US election and the outlook for domestic policy, we are also aware that conditions in the US are far better than in many parts of the world, and, our fears notwithstanding, are likely to remain that way. Therefore, while we want to stand with those in need in this country, we also want to make sure our efforts are having an impact for those around the world who may need help even more.
As I mentioned, this list and the amount we allocate to each of these groups may shift over time, but we hope that our commitment to supporting causes and organizations we believe in never does. To this end, we are creating a new page on our website which details the organizations we support and our charitable contributions to each: soren.tech/causes. Check it out for more information.
PS: Here’s a list of the additional charities we’ll be supporting to start off: