Wistia co-founders Brendan and Chris started out with a clear mission: to make business more human. For us, part of creating a human business involves giving back — we know we wouldn’t be able to succeed without our community, so it’s only right that we offer support in return!
In the past, giving at Wistia happened more on an ad hoc basis — we supported the ACLU in response to the Muslim Ban, donated to the Reproductive Health Access project when states limited abortion access, and gave to Black Lives Matter after George Floyd was murdered. But as Wistia has grown, we wanted to make donating a more consistent, intentional part of our culture.
Enter: Wistia Gives Back, our inclusive, scalable, and proactive approach to charitable giving.
Wistia Gives Back is our annual charitable initiative in which we set aside a fixed percentage of EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) to be donated among ten charities.
So, how exactly does it work?
All Wistians can nominate charities they’re passionate about to be considered for Wistia Gives Back. This year, Wistians suggested 51 amazing non-profits, from organizations focused on youth with disabilities to prison abolition.
Once all submissions are in, our DEI Taskforce takes a look and narrows the group down to 10, with a focus on historically underfunded groups and ones that are local to our communities — and that collectively represent a variety of causes we can impact.
Next, we dive in to learn about the ten charities. The Wistians who nominated the charities each make a Soapbox video to tell the rest of the team about the organization. Then, each Wistian decides how to allocate their individual giving funds. Finally, the team gets together for a celebration where we reveal the final donation amounts to each charity!
The day of our Wistia Gives Back celebration, we released a video to remind people about the charities involved and get everyone pumped for the big event.
Here are the ten charities Wistians could donate to this year:
“The ACLU is a private, nonpartisan organization that has been advocating for rights that I believe are important for all Wistians for over a hundred years — including free speech and expression, immigrant rights, privacy and surveillance, racial justice, womens’ rights, reproductive freedom, LGBTQ+ rights, and voting rights.”Felipe Moitinho
“Research has documented declining levels of giving to Native American organizations and causes. Native populations have been systematically oppressed, had their culture and land stripped away from them, and most recently, COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted Native populations. First Nations Development Institute reinvests back into these communities in a number of ways.”Jane Jaxon
VP of People
“Founded 30 years ago by seven women, Hearth aims to end elder homelessness. In 2019, people aged 50 or above — like our parents and grandparents — comprised over a third of Boston’s homeless population, and that number keeps climbing. Hearth provides them with supportive housing and addiction prevention services.”Lily Barrett
“PYD has been near and dear to my heart for the past 7+ years. I have always been passionate about supporting organizations that support youth with disabilities, having grown up with a sister with Down Syndrome. PYD is committed to creating a world where young people with disabilities will be able to live with dignity and pride.”Kacey Fields
Director of Sales
“I submitted Black & Pink National because they are prison abolitionists with a radical view of the fight for justice. Their goal is queer liberation. They are feminist, anti-racist, and work to dismantle systems that harm communities.”Janella Polack
“Project Bread connects people and communities in MA to reliable sources of food; they also advocate for state and federal policies to make food more accessible so that no one goes hungry. The work that they do has really been incredible, as food insecurity has nearly doubled since the pandemic began.”Scott Dunlap
“By the age of 13, teenage girls’ confidence decreases by 30% and this program aims to lift them up! Girls Rock Campaign Boston is important to me because they empower girls, women, youth, and adults with marginalized gender identities to gain confidence through music, education, and performance.”Abby Heredia
“Climable is a women-led non-profit organization that works to translate climate change science for the layperson through blogs, podcasts, and videos. They also organize to help bring clean energy microgrids to low-income environmental justice communities.”Colby Kyes
“As the daughter of a Haitian immigrant, this is an incredible organization I’m proud to support. Greater Boston is home to a sizeable population of all Haitians living in the U.S., and our Haitian community represents a majority of Boston’s foreign-born Black population. IFSI helps recent immigrants with basic necessities like housing, food, and legal resources.”Ingrid Pierre
Director of Product Design
“I have been involved with Girls on the Run for about two years now and have been invested in their development since I’ve been introduced to them. Their mission and purpose aligns with me. Their social and emotional curriculum is comprehensive and has taught me a lot in my adult years.”Maggie Ukah
Talent Operations Associate
Wistia Gives Back is our opportunity to give back in the most Wistia way possible. This year, we donated $185,000, which came out to a share of $1,178 for each employee.
This charitable giving program reflects our values as a company and is a great way to get our whole team involved to cultivate joy around giving. 2021 was the second year for Wistia Gives Back and it’s got a bright future! We plan to continue the initiative and we’re excited that — because it’s a percentage of EBITDA — it can expand as we do.