This month marks the third birthday of DISCO Cares. Created by our employees off the heels of Hurricane Harvey, this initiative quickly became ingrained in the DISCO DNA. With the support of our senior leadership and ever-growing participation from employees, we continue to help our community and expand our impact. Our mission is simple: To help is human.
Watch this video that highlights three years of DISCO Cares in action, before we take a moment to reflect on the impact of DISCO Cares and the collective power of community.
When Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston in September 2017, we saw the effects of a community that banded together. It was a powerful moment in time — one DISCO employee and his boat helped rescue 130 residents from a nursing home.
DISCO was headquartered in Houston at the time, and five of our employees lost everything due to Harvey. Our employees and our leadership all came together to get those families back on their feet. Our employees then asked how we can do more, how we can help our community. This was the DISCO Cares moment.
Given our intrinsic desire to help, we didn’t stop with Harvey. We continued to volunteer within our community, especially supporting local families in need. We began partnerships with Angel Tree, the Food Bank, and Operation Snowstorm. But, because we believe impact occurs over time and with consistency, there was more to come.
As we continued our partnerships, we wondered how we could do more. One DISCO employee saw an article about a family impacted by Harvey that did not receive relief support due to a mistake on their application. DISCO Cares jumped into action.
The day that article was published, we were in touch with the family (the Castros) and next steps were in motion. DISCO Cares provided more than 20 hours of labor to rebuild the home and replaced items that had been lost in the hurricane.
In the summer of 2018, DISCO relocated to Austin, and sought out new partnerships. After extensive community research, we prioritized Code2College and Start-Up Kids Club, which help our next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs. (We actually made the connection to Code2College with a cold call prior to our move!) Even after settling in Austin, we continued our commitment to the Angel Tree and the Food Bank.
In 2019, we sought to create a strategic vision for DISCO Cares. We firmly believe that all companies should include a philanthropic or social responsibility element, and we hoped to create a model that other organizations can replicate. How do we scale this organically grown desire to help, and how do we continue to best make an impact both inside and outside the walls of DISCO?
On April 1, 2019, DISCO Cares became an official department within the People Team. Thanks to the support of senior leadership, this was the moment that DISCO Cares graduated from a passion project of employees to a formal recognition of our intrinsic commitment to help.
Our desire to help went into overdrive. Here is our Impact Report for 2019.
With our new motto, ”to help is human,” we hit the ground running. In Q1, we hit a 35% participation rate in a single event, with over 100 employees representing every department in the company.
However, like so many companies, the global COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in our plans as we entered Q2, and we had to improvise.
Unable to volunteer in person, we shifted to virtual volunteering and mentoring, and implemented creative fundraising campaigns to help those in need. We’re proud that even given the stresses of working from home and an abundance of Zoom meetings, our employees were still eager to volunteer during a time that was so challenging for so much of our community.
As we reflect on three years of DISCO Cares, it’s incredible to see what we have been able to accomplish together. Since our inception in October of 2017 we have:
- Adopted over 600 children through Angel Tree and provided more than 2300 items of clothing and gifts to families in need
- Mentored over 175 elementary and high school students in entrepreneurship and STEM
- Provided over 60,000 meals to families in need
- Expanded our partnerships 3X since 2017
The metric that I admire the most is our participation rate. Since inception, we have had >60% participation every year and 100% executive participation every year. Already YTD in this pandemic environment, we have had 100% executive participation and 58% employee participation rate.
The feeling that I admire most is the bond that our employees have created. Many friendships have been formed because of DISCO Cares. Not only are we helping our community, we are helping the bond of the DISCO community.
I will end with this note. I stumbled across a speech given by the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at Stanford University. In her speech, Justice Ginsburg advises the students how to live a meaningful life:
[T]o put it simply, it means doing something outside yourself. Something to repair tears in your community, something to make life better for people less fortunate than you...That’s what I think a meaningful life is. One lives not just for one’s self but for one’s community.
And I couldn’t agree more. At the end of the day, to help is human.