Laika Gives: 7 Charities We Love & Why

Stylized image of a collection of canned food stuff for contribution

Somehow it’s already December and the holiday season is upon us. We know what you’re thinking: How did that happen so fast?! We’re asking ourselves the same question. But since we’re here, the festive season is a great time to look back and reflect on the year—and what a year it’s been!

Over the past 12 months, Laika closed not one but TWO rounds of funding, grew our team by 50%, and grew the user base by over 1000%. It takes a village to support such growth and it’s the people of Laika that make it special. Laika is very intentional about who they hire (psst, we’re still hiring!) and pays close attention to bringing on people who share the same values.

As a values-driven company, Laika puts its money where its mouth is! Each and every year, Laika offers every employee contribution matching to their favorite charity up to $200. But this year, we are taking it a step further by shining a light on some of the charities Laika employees have supported. T’is the season of giving, after all!

Hear from 7 Laika employees on which charity they chose to support, why it’s important to them, and how they feel about Laika’s donation matching program.

Clarissa Gives: Philabundance 

Philabundance seeks to drive hunger from communities in an effort to end hunger forever. Founded in 1984 by an idealist named Pamela Rainey Lawler, it started as a small food rescue organization. It is now an innovative, impactful, and collaborative organization distributing millions of pounds of food a year to those in need.

Clarissa Zorr, Laika’s Director of Brand and Marketing Creative, used her contribution matching incentive to support Philabundance. According to Clarissa ” “Food insecurity affects more than 34 million people, including 9 million children in the US. Being a parent, I can’t imagine not being able to provide food for my children. I wanted to find an organization my daughter and I could volunteer with together to help her have a broader perspective into what children her age face every day in the US.”

How Clarissa feels about Laika’s contribution matching program

“It is imperative for me to work at an organization that supports philanthropic efforts, especially those their team members feel passionate about. I really appreciate Laika’s support, and I’d love to see company-wide volunteer activities as a way to give back to communities and build team unity.”

Jake Gives: Cycle for Survival

Cycle for Survival accelerates progress in rare cancer research in an effort to bring new and better treatment options to people around the globe. Every cent goes directly to lifesaving clinical trials at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), the world’s oldest and largest private institution dedicated to rare cancer research. They run annual cycling events in March, April and May.

Jake Liebersohn, Finance Manager at Laika, chose to support Cycle for Survival this year. He explains: “I have a very close friend who lost her mother to a rare cancer. The opportunity to get out and exercise to support my friend gives me incredible joy.”

How Jake feels about Laika’s contribution matching program

“I feel incredibly proud that my company invests in its employees and shows support for the causes which they support. It means that the positive impression I am working to achieve is supported and valued by my company, and this increases my love for working at Laika.”

Donavan Gives: Achilles International

Achilles International is empowering the disability community through athletic programs and social connection. Founded in 1983, they are now a global organization operating in 18 countries and have already empowered over 150,000 athletes of all ages and abilities. Some of their programming includes: Achilles Kids, TriAchilles Team, and Achilles Chapter workouts.

Donavan Trieu is Laika’s Senior Manager of Strategy and Ops (and, let’s face it, Jack of all trades!) Donavan explains why he chose to support Achilles Internationa this year: “Running is a big part of my life and my overall well-being. I volunteer and donate to Achilles to help break down barriers for athletes with disabilities and support programs to make the joys of running more accessible and inclusive.”

How Donavan feels about Laika’s contribution matching program

“Love that Laika allows the opportunity to amplify the impact of my volunteering efforts.”

Amber Gives: Salvation Army

Salvation Army has been pursuing its mission since 1865! They assist communities in everything from disaster relief to rent and utility assistance to after-school programs and, of course, holiday giving. They currently help approximately 25 million Americans annually and serve 130 other countries worldwide. 

Amber Stevens is Laika’s VP of Marketing and explains why this is a cause very near and dear to her heart. “My mom was a single mother who moved from Kansas to Massachusetts with two young kids. She had no job, no help, no connections but knew she needed a fresh start. The Salvation Army literally helped us keep clothes on our backs and gave us Christmas presents the first year we were in New England.”

How Amber feels about Laika’s contribution matching program

“Laika exemplifies leading with your heart and this is just one of many ways they encourage employees to bring their full selves to work.”

Cristina Gives: Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code is on a mission to close the gender gap in tech. In 1995, 37% of scientists were women; today, it’s only 24%. Girls Who Code educates girls between 13 and 17 to inspire the next generation of women in STEM. They are currently on track to close the gender gap by 2030 through programs including summer programs and college & career programs.

Cristina Bartolacci is a Strategic Compliance Architect at Laika (as well as the star of Cristina’s Compliance Corner, check it out on LinkedIn!). She supports Girls Who Code because “supporting women in STEM, especially young girls who will be the future of these industries, is hugely important to me! Without these types of opportunities to be pushed into STEM programs and know these opportunities were available to me, I may not be here today.”

How Cristina feels about Laika’s contribution matching program

“I feel so lucky to work for a company that values giving back to organizations like this. It takes a village to lift the community up, and I’m proud of our leaders for valuing that.”

T Vicente Gives: Attic Youth Center

The Attic Youth Center is a local Philadelphia center serving LGBTQ+ youth who are often isolated, ostracized, and at risk due to the social stigma associated with identifying as LGBTQ+. The Center provides a safe and supportive environment for LGBTQ youth and promotes acceptance of LGBTQ youth in society. They offer a wide range of programs and services to provide youth with the skills they need to transition into independent adults. They seek to empower and help LGBTQ youth find their voice in a world that often tries to silence them.

T Vicente is a Customer Operations Manager and Compliance Architect at Laika. Here’s why he’s chosen to support The Attic Youth Center this year: “Homelessness, addiction, mental illness, and suicide are far more common among LGBTQ+ youth, and as someone who is part of the LGBTQ+ community who struggles due to their sexuality and gender identity, it’s very important for me to give back when I can.”

How T Vicente feels about Laika’s contribution matching program

“I love the charity matching program!”

Laura Gives: Friends Without a Border

Friends Without a Border provides accessible, high-quality healthcare to areas of dire need in Southeast Asia. They promote sustainable solutions to health care in developing countries by providing high-quality medical treatment to children 15 and under, education for parents and their families, and improving prevention programs in these communities.

Laura explains why Friends Without a Border was her charity of choice this year: “Having grown up with healthcare that is easily accessible, it pains me to see other countries struggle to gain access to healthcare and resources, particularly for children.”

How Laura feels about Laika’s contribution matching program

“Laika’s support in the form of a donation match is a meaningful part of the work culture. The matching donation displays the importance of giving back to communities and the care our company shows not only for us but for those charities closest to us.”

Laika Gives: Doernbecher Children’s Hospital

Doernbecher Children’s Hospital is Oregon’s top-ranked children’s hospital. OHSU Doernbecher offers the region’s broadest range of pediatric treatments and provides the greatest number of children’s specialists working under one roof.

One Laika employee has had close friends directly impacted by the care offered at this children’s hospital, and that’s why she chose to use her contribution matching to support it. “Doernbecher has helped several of my friends from high school whose children needed critical care that only a Level 1 trauma center could provide to save their life. The hospital and its staff always go above and beyond the help and support that any of these parents has expected, let alone could even think they needed during such trying times.”

Why it matters to work for an organization that offers donation matching

“Laika’s donation matching program enables my charitable contributions to go even further and make a greater difference in the lives of others. Using a share of company profits to put more good into the world speaks volumes of the character of Laika’s founders and executive leadership. I’m proud to work for a company like Laika, that understands and values the principles of corporate social responsibility and actively engages in such practices.”

Happy Holidays from Laika!

Let’s be honest, it’s been a tough few years, and many people are stretched thin. We hope these good-news stories of giving inspire you to reach out to the friends, family, and causes that matter most to you this holiday season and share what you can—whether that be time, money, or simply words of love and encouragement. 

Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday season—from all of us here at Laika!

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