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Beyond Philanthropy: Meaningful Partnership for Greater Impact

By August 21, 2019

A tech-nonprofit collaborative discussion

I grew up in Mexico, and although I was fortunate enough to attend college and get a graduate degree, not all of my neighbors were so lucky.

Similarly, people across the Bay Area are suffering. Too many lack the resources and support necessary to get ahead, to provide for themselves and their families even as many others are benefitting from the mass creation of wealth happening around them. Many of those benefiting from the digital economy want to help, but they don’t always know how best to engage. While leading tech companies compete fiercely, it inspires me that we can come together and collaborate to make a positive impact in our communities.

That is why I am particularly excited by our partnership with #ImpactCloud, a consortium of leading cloud companies and Full Circle Fund. We have come together to share both skills and resources to help empower some of the most inspiring and promising nonprofit leaders.

How it Works

Workshop participantsFull Circle Fund (FCF) is a social impact accelerator grounded in a cohort partnership model. Through this partnership with #ImpactCloud, FCF will unite these tech companies and their employees to partner on a joint nonprofit Tech Accelerator.

The program brings together leaders from each company, trains them on how to leverage their skills in the nonprofit sector, and then pairs them with 3 tech nonprofits to help accelerate their impact. Nonprofits are chosen by a team of top impact/nonprofit investors for their potential for impact and their ability to leverage the skills of this unique team of tech execs. Among the tech companies collaborating with include Amazon, Box, Chegg, DocuSign, Netsuite, Okta, Splunk, and Twilio.

Each company is making a financial contribution, and nonprofits receive both technical resources and expertise based on a mapping of their needs with the skills from the supporting executives and companies. During the program, tech leaders learn to work with nonprofit partners through a lens of equity and empathy, while using their business acumen to build social impact products that create change locally and around the world.

So what’s unique and valuable about this partnership?

Providing Tech Executives with Unconscious Bias & Inclusion Training

One important facet of the accelerator program is that tech executive participants receive training in unconscious bias, equity, and power dynamics before they meet their nonprofit grant partners. This training is customized for the executives to explore the inherent power dynamics that exist in traditional philanthropic relationships. Understanding the resource constraints and the lived experiences that nonprofit leaders are coming from allows the executives to leverage their skills to drive the most impact with their nonprofit partners.

Workshop participants

Social Impact 2.0: Towards Personal and Societal Transformation

Back in the day, companies that “did good in the community” were simply expected to write big checks at gala events. In today’s era of always-on news, people want to be more involved – and see the impact of their contributions. While one-time volunteering days can be a good way to get started, leading CSR professionals today are thinking beyond checks or one-off events to embrace giving back as part of purpose-driven business.

Additionally, it’s hard to learn someone’s organization in 2 hours: It can take weeks or months to build solid relationships to create lasting change. A longer term engagement, like the 6 month accelerator program from Full Circle Fund, helps create personal transformation by building empathy for both tech executives and nonprofit grant participants. For more on why personal transformation is critical to truly effective CSR, see this webinar from purpose experts Angela Parker of Realized Worth and my colleague Brandolon Barnett at

In the first cohort of volunteers, Full Circle Fund asked the tech executives if $5,000 was the biggest contribution they had ever made. Surprisingly, two-thirds of them said “Yes.” At the end of the program, 19 out of 20 said they would happily give $5,000 or more if it were in this format where both their minds and their money were used in a meaningful way. In short: personal experiences of transformation can help catalyze greater impact.

<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Valerie Neumark</a>, Full Circle Fund Board of Directors member speaking at an event
Valerie Neumark, Full Circle Fund Board of Directors member speaking at an event

Community Expertise

To make an impact, it helps to learn from those who are already doing the work. Full Circle Fund has 20 years of experience in the community building lasting partnerships. Full Circle Fund also has deep experience in building bridges with a focus on equity to break the traditional power dynamics between “helper” and “helped.”

And by the way, the program has a Net Promoter Score of 9.125 out of 10, which is off the charts if you know what that means in customer success!

The Big Hairy Audacious Goal here is to get 10,000 employees to replace “traditional” checkbook philanthropy with a combination of time, talent, and dollars in these accelerator programs, and inspire another generation of leaders as well as new board members. Future accelerators could have 20 people all from the same company, building skills and giving back all at once.

Full Circle Fund’s goal is to do 15-20 more of these accelerators in 2020. With your support, in the next five years, we can invest over $100 million in resources for local nonprofit leaders. Let’s get the next generation of nonprofit leaders the resources they need to address our region’s greatest challenges.

Learn more about the program and express your interest if you want to be a part of building a community that works for everyone!

If you or your company wants to make a meaningful impact using your business skills, contact Full Circle Fund about joining an upcoming cohort in the San Francisco Bay Area.


About the Author
Josue Estrada at Salesforce.orgJosue Estrada, COO at, and his team are responsible for the overall strategy of the organization, go-to-market and sales master plans, enablement programs, corporate development and enterprise projects as well as partner and alliances success. He believes technology will level the playing field bringing the social good sector closer to impact for those who need it the most. Prior to this role, he served as a Senior Vice President of Product, Marketing & Industry Solutions at and worked in a number of sales leadership roles at Salesforce. Josue held executive roles at a variety of companies including Gap Inc., DHL, and Procter & Gamble and holds an MBA in Marketing & Strategy. Not only does he speak five languages, but Josue also has extensive international business experience working in Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Belgium, the UK and Spain. He is a champion for diversity and inclusion and leads the Latinx Employee Resource Group, Latinoforce, and sits on the Board of Directors of the YMCA of San Francisco.