I’ve been complaining about Apple’s anti-charity approach, but for this post I want to share an example about how one company is encouraging acts of kindness and charity during the holiday season. It comes from Apple’s Silicon Valley neighbor, Yahoo. The program is called How Good Grows, a holiday event that is part of Yahoo’s CSR program.
The idea is simple. They want to encourage and highlight small acts of kindness that can trigger big ripples and at the same time drive awareness and adoption of a new feature in Yahoo! Email, the status update. They are encouraging the user base to do random acts of kindness and report them online. Using a social network analysis diagram, users can see the ripple effect of their good deed.
In addition, Yahoo is amplifying good deeds by the users. The inspiration for this program came from a random act of kindness at a Trader Joe’s last year that leveraged $24,000 donation to a local food bank. It all happened when Jenni Ware was stranded at the grocery checkout having lost her wallet. Carolee Hazard, a complete stranger, paid her $207 bill. When Jenni paid her back, the check included an extra $93 as thanks – she suggested getting a massage. Carolee posted on Facebook about the events and asked friends what they’d do with the extra money.
“Give it to charity!” was the response. Touched by Jenni’s honesty, Carolee matched the $93 and again queried her Facebook friends where to donate the $186. Soon friends began donating $93 of their own and the total quickly grew! This random act of kindness and Facebook turned $93 into over $24,000 to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank of Silicon Valley – and the amount is still growing. In the months since the chance meeting, the “pay it forward” example has traveled around the world and continues to move people to start their own ripples of goodness!
Yahoo set the ripples in motion by sending $100 to employees and social media influencers. The check arrived with these marching orders:
- Do something nice for someone!
- Pass it on
- Inspire others
- Let us know what you did
I used my $100 check to purchase holiday gifts for Next Door Solutions, an agency here in Silicon Valley that safety for battered women and their children through emergency shelter; multiple points of entry for victims; individuals, system and institutional advocacy; crisis intervention; education for victims and the community. I had the opportunity to work with agency through my work at the Packard Foundation as Visiting Scholar.
Every year, the agency holds a special holiday party event for clients and their children. They do a gift drive for both children and their mothers. Presents are loaded into two rooms and the children get to pick out something special for their moms and moms get to pick out something for their children.
I used my $100 check to purchase beautiful ceramic beaded necklaces from Kazuri in Kenya. Kazuri is Swahili for “small and beautiful.” The Kazuri factory is located in the rolling hills outside of Nairobi, Kenya. Here, these small handcrafted beads, made from African clay, are molded and painted by disadvantaged women of the Kikuyu Tribe.
Kazuri pays its employees three times the national wage in Kenya and provides free health care, day care, and educates workers on AIDs and Malaria. By purchasing these necklaces as gifts for women in Silicon Valley, it provides support for women in Kenya.
I got a tour of the facility where I noticed some beautiful handmade quilts hanging on the wall. I learned from Kaathleen Krenek, the executive director, that women and their children make the quilts together. She hopes to start a micro enterprise with the quilts that can help support the program and the women – something very similar to Kazuri.
My random act of kindness was to support women in San Jose by supporting women in Kenya. Your turn.