Birds of a feather do good together

It’s no secret that non-profits are looking for support from the city’s technology companies, but how easy is it to win the support of these new companies – most that are full of promise, but aren’t yet profitable? Most have ambitions to change the world – the way we commute, work, interact and even the way we find work. This ambition to change the world – or as we say in the Jewish tradition – to repair the world – brings us together.

JVS has been fortunate to win the support of several companies in the tech world. Evolv (recently acquired by Cornerstone OnDemand), found JVS several years ago when CEO Max Simkoff was searching for a nonprofit whose mission aligned with the company’s. They made their first donation to JVS as part of the 1% challenge started by Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff. Today, Simkoff is a powerhouse on JVS’s board of directors.

Most recently, Twitter has stepped up with $10,000 to JVS and so much more. They’re committed to strengthening their mid-market community. Like any good business, they’ve chosen good partners, including JVS, to help.

Twitter returned to JVS to review LinkedIn profiles for their second #FridayforGood day last Friday. “This event helped me realize what employers are looking for when they look at my LinkedIn profile. It finally clicked.” — JVS job seeker

They began their work with JVS through one of their #FridayforGood days. On a Friday afternoon, several employees took the time to help JVS job seekers practice interviews. They also reviewed their resumes and made suggestions. What I love about these events is the chests that rise, the shoulders that drop, and the overall confidence that is so visibly striking when our job seekers are encouraged and affirmed by working professionals. Confidence is often the biggest obstacle standing between a candidate and the next job, so we look to build this through every interaction job seekers have at JVS. Twitter helped.

Not only did Twitter help these job seekers, but they were intrigued by our whole operation. Many of the job seekers they met seemed to be well qualified. Why weren’t they getting jobs? Twitter wanted to know how else they could help, and they also wanted to know how we could help the people in their neighborhood. We had a few ideas…

Currently, approximately 11% of JVS job seekers live in the Tenderloin, but we know the need is much greater. Twitter asked JVS to submit a proposal that would help JVS expand its outreach initiatives to reach unemployed and underemployed people in the Tenderloin neighborhood. We would learn more about the specific needs of these people, and work with other service providers in the area to customize programs to meet those needs. This work would also help them build a foundation for Twitter’s Neighborhood Nest, slated to open in summer 2015. The plan convinced them, and they have invested $10,000 to make this happen!

This is an incredible partnership already, and the best is yet to come with the ways we will transform the Tenderloin neighborhood alongside many other outstanding nonprofits in that space. But, there’s still more. Earlier this year, JVS did extensive research on what employers want, and what it will take to get people who have been out of work for six months or more – back in the workforce. Twitter shared with us their hiring challenges and we made plans for how we can bring long-term unemployed job seekers up to speed to secure work at tech companies, like Twitter. They even wrote a letter of support for JVS to send to the White House, and have committed to more volunteer events. Well, if you’ve seen the news recently, you know that our proposal was funded – one of two in California – for $6.4million over the next four years.

JVS will use these funds to do more to close the gap – between those who want to work, and those who need workers. The work is difficult, time-intensive, and challenging. But when we get it just right, when we can blend just the right mix of philanthropy, business, and training, we can make a big difference. Thank you, Twitter, for believing that transformation is possible. We’re thrilled to repair our community with you, by helping people find good jobs.

If you believe that businesses should invest their time, talent and funds into their community, please tweet this article, and show everyone how it’s done!

To learn more about ways to volunteer as a group or individual, please click here or email volunteers@jvs.org.

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