AppLovin Cares: A year of giving back to our communities
This year, AppLovin CMO Katie Jansen and a group of employees launched AppLovin Cares, an initiative to give back to our local communities. AppLovin Cares was started because we saw an opportunity to share ideas across the company to increase the number of ways we can give back. Before the founding of AppLovin Cares, there were a handful of employees volunteering and donating to charities. Today, AppLovin Cares has 27 members and is growing.
Every month, members of AppLovin Cares gather to discuss initiatives they want to explore. Members pitch the entire group with a plan to reach out to a specific organization that’s dear to their hearts. Additionally, AppLovin offers an employee match program, where every employee donation to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit is matched 100% by the company.
“AppLovin Cares is an exciting initiative,” says Alice Guillaume, AppLovin’s Marketing Director and AppLovin Cares lead. “We get to help our communities and support causes our colleagues are passionate about with the support of the company. This not only promotes positive team culture, but it also empowers every employee with resources to make a real impact.”
With the year coming to a close, it’s the perfect time to take a look back at all the nonprofits AppLovin Cares has worked with so far.
The American Red Cross
Before AppLovin Cares was formed, we had the pleasure of working with the American Red Cross on various events like hosting blood drives at our San Francisco office. This was a great way for many AppLovin employees to participate, and it was also an opportunity to get the word out to surrounding offices.
AppLovin has hosted two blood drives with the American Red Cross, both led by Katja Llach, a member of the Lion Studios growth team.
“I’ve been donating blood since I was old enough and always find it difficult to find time to make it to a donation center,” says Katja. “Our AppLovin office is in a prime location in SOMA, and I thought we could make use of it by hosting a blood drive and helping others near the office to access the location more easily.”
In addition to hosting blood drives, AppLovin Cares is part of the Red Cross Bay Area Ready 365 program, which provides immediate disaster relief in the Bay Area. Funds from this program help bolster the Red Cross’ emergency response community preparedness programs.
“Ready365 Member support is crucial in ensuring service delivery at a moment’s notice, and we are proud that AppLovin has stepped up to partner with us to provide hope to those when it is needed most,” said Emily Tzouanakis, Regional Director of Special Events at the American Red Cross.
Another community preparedness program AppLovin helped with was Sound the Alarm, in which volunteers canvas at-risk neighborhoods to install free smoke alarms. Since 2014, volunteers through this campaign have installed over 1.2 million smoke alarms in over half a million households and educated the residents on fire safety. AppLovin Cares volunteered time and donated $25,000 to help fund the Sound the Alarm program in 2018.
Helping the victims of the California fires
For the past two consecutive years, California communities have been ravaged by wildfires. In 2017, AppLovin Cares partnered with AppsFlyer for a fundraiser that generated over $31,000 for the Redwood Credit Union Community Fund’s North Bay Fire Relief Fund. Over 175 guests attended the fundraiser where five local wineries provided tastings.
“It was great having local wineries come to help raise funds for their colleagues affected by the Sonoma fires,” says Briana Billingham, AppLovin’s Senior Global Events Manager who led the charge with this fundraiser.
This year, AppLovin’s employees and their friends and families raised over $10,000, which AppLovin tripled for a grand total of $31,305. The proceeds went to the American Red Cross, who had more than 600 disaster workers working at support shelters to help those displaced by the horrific fires in Butte County.
AppLovin Cares also partnered with One Tree Planted to help reforest California. AppLovin’s donation to One Tree Planted will help plant over 2,500 new trees across the state. “Forests are essential for good air quality, preserving habitats, and for the overall health of our planet,” says Crystal Witten, Designer at AppLovin. “Healthy trees are also essential in helping prevent wildfires in the years to come.”
Empowering at-risk youth through art with The Simple Good
AppLovin Cares encourages employees to find organizations and causes that resonate with them, and that’s exactly what Rajiv Ragu did. “When I was catching up with my college friend, Priya Shah, I found out that she was running a nonprofit called The Simple Good. Founded in 2014, The Simple Good’s mission is to empower at-risk youth to bring positivity into communities through art and discussion,” says Rajiv.
Rajiv organized a fundraiser where the proceeds went toward buying art supplies and paying staff to run workshops for kids—and he participated in the workshops himself. “Growing up, I was fortunate enough to go to a high school that offered a ton of art programs, so I took literally every art class I could think of, including stone carving, pottery, painting, drawing, art history, and more,” says Rajiv. “My goal with this event is to help bring this feeling to at-risk youth and to spread awareness so that others can amplify the effort. It’s important for all kids to follow whatever their passions are. This is made possible by the creativity and self-discipline fostered by organizations like The Simple Good, helping kids throughout every facet of their careers and lives.”
Supporting the survivors of domestic violence with La Casa de las Madres
“Working on programs that empower women defined much of my college experience, and I devoted a lot of my free time to the cause,” says Carolyn Yang. “Upon graduation, I came across La Casa de las Madres, an organization that helps victims of domestic violence.”
Founded by a coalition of Bay Area women in 1976, La Casa de las Madres was created as a place of safety, nurturing, and unconditional acceptance for victims of domestic violence. Today, it offers immediate, wide-ranging services to help transition these victims to live lives free of violence. La Casa de las Madres provides expert intervention and prevention services to over 15,000 individuals a year, and it promotes awareness to change the public perception of domestic violence to over 50,000 community members through education and outreach activities.
Carolyn led the collection of travel-sized toiletries, which helps ease the burden of acquiring daily necessities like shampoo, soap, and toothpaste as survivors of domestic violence transition to and from temporary housing.
The drive collected:
- 40 tubes of toothpaste
- 40 toothbrushes
- 131 bottles of shampoo
- 130 bottles of conditioner
- 144 bottles of body wash and bars of soap
- 12 deodorants
- 19 bottles of lotion
- 8 complete travel toiletry packs
- And various items like razor blades, cotton swabs, feminine hygiene products, and more.
In addition to our travel-sized toiletry drive, AppLovin Cares worked with La Casa de las Madres on a clothing swap and donation. AppLovin hosted a clothing swap where friends and family could trade or donate clothes. The clothes were then donated to Mission Thrift, which sold and donated 100% of the proceeds to La Casa. This quarter, Mission Thrift raised $10,000 for the organization.
“My friends and I have hosted clothing swaps and always had a truckload of items to donate afterward,” said Bojana Bozic, Senior Analyst at AppLovin who led the clothing swap. “I genuinely like [La Casa de las Madres’] mission and their work for domestic violence victims and survivors.”
Providing school supplies to children in need with Sydney Paige
According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, one in five children in the United States live in poverty. Additionally, the National Education Association estimates that children from low-income families are six times as likely to drop out of school than children from higher-income families.
To help these underserved children, AppLovin partnered with Sydney Paige to purchase and distribute high-quality school supplies to homeless and foster kids. AppLovin employees gathered to pack and load 350 individual backpacks full of school supplies. Additionally, each backpack included notes of encouragement made by AppLovin employees to help kids get excited about the new school year.
“I firmly believe that so many future problems can be solved by helping children get the education they deserve, and one way we can help is by giving children the supplies they need to succeed in school,” said Parya Bahrani, AppLovin’s San Francisco Office Manager who led the pack-out event with Sydney Paige. “This cause is near and dear to my heart, and my heart almost burst seeing how much engagement we had at the office! I could not be more proud to work alongside such giving, empathetic people!”
If you would like to support Sydney Paige, the organization offers a buy-one-give-one deal where a second backpack filled with school supplies will be donated to a nonprofit of your choice when you purchase one. Companies can also reach out to set up employee engagement events to help Sydney Paige fill backpacks with supplies and donate them to students in need.
Helping low-income, high-achieving students reach college success with Minds Matter SF
Everyone deserves a chance at obtaining higher education, no matter their background. That’s why AppLovin Cares donated over $10,000 to Minds Matter SF, an organization that has a 100% success rate of getting its students into a four-year college. Students in the program are provided professional mentorship, academic planning programs, summer college programs for high school students, and SAT and ACT instruction.
“I got involved with Minds Matter SF because their philosophy aligned with my passion for developing people with high potential but limited access to succeed. It’s extremely motivating when you’re explaining a concept and it clicks for the student and they have that “Aha!” moment,” says Alice Guillaume. “I saw MMSF’s vision, respect their values and wanted to be a part of it.”
Helping kids become confident writers with 826 Valencia
Education is dear to many members of AppLovin Cares, and we’ve been lucky enough to work with some great organizations that make measurable impacts on children’s lives. One such organization is 826 Valencia.
This year, nine AppLovin employees volunteered for 826’s Storytelling and Bookmaking Field Trip program where students worked together to craft and publish original stories. Volunteers for this event helped groups of students write a narrative with creative protagonists and antagonists. Students were then able to add their own unique endings to the story, and they left with printed copies of their very own book.
“Organizations like 826 Valencia can really impact the trajectory of a student’s life for the better,” says Katy Jensen, AppLovin’s Content Marketing Associate, who led this event. “So many times I’ve seen students who are reluctant to write come out of an 826 program with an entire piece that they’re proud of. I also love that 826 provides the opportunity for volunteers, whether they’re confident writers or not, to be directly involved in helping develop students’ writing skills. There’s a lot to be learned from supporting young writers’ new and creative ideas and approaches to storytelling.”
These are just some of the incredible organizations AppLovin Cares has worked with over the past year. We’re incredibly humbled and proud to be able to do our part in giving back to our communities, because when they succeed, so do we. We look forward to continuing our efforts in 2019 and can’t wait to see what the new year brings.