Venture capitalist announces major commitment to Boston Foundation grantees at local launch of national business-philanthropy movement Pledge 1%

Pledge 1%, the national corporate philanthropy movement, gains steam with launch in Greater Boston

 Jeff Fagnan, founder of Accomplice, a venture capital firm with more than $400 million raised to date, announced Wednesday evening that his company would begin committing one percent of its equity to Resilient Coders and Inner City Weightlifting, Boston Foundation grantees that teach computer coding, other life skills and weight lifting, respectively, to underserved youth of color.

The announcement came at the launch event for  Pledge 1% Boston , a new regional chapter of Pledge 1% , a national corporate philanthropy movement dedicated to making new stakeholders in support of local communities. Pledge 1% encourages and challenges individuals and companies to pledge 1% of equity, product, and employee time for their communities.

The Boston Foundation, along with partners TUGG Boston, Accomplice, and the Greenlight Fund, serves as the facilitator of Pledge 1% Boston.  The Boston Foundation, the national Pledge 1% organization, and Cambridge Community Foundation co-hosted Wednesday’s event at The Davenport building in Cambridge, which houses Accomplice and HubSpot, among other companies.

“The Boston Foundation is dedicated to increasing and encouraging philanthropy in Greater Boston and we are very proud to represent the first city to join the national Pledge 1% movement,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation.  “We are looking forward to seeing more and more young companies join this effort and the ways their involvement will expand support for nonprofits in Greater Boston.”

As of Wednesday evening, 10 Boston-area based companies had already joined the pledge movement, committing one percent of the equity of their companies to our region and charitable causes, including Gravyty, Ovuline, Nanogenecs, FundLatinos, Pepper Lane, CoachUp, Freebird, Cuseum, and two more whose pledges are still being formalized.

Speakers included John Simon, Chairman and Co-Founder of the Greenlight Fund and Managing Director of Sigma Prime Ventures; C.A. Webb, Co-Founder of _Underscore and former executive director of the New England Venture Capital Association; Rich Palmer and Adam Martel, co-founders of Gravyty; and Ovuline President and CEO Paris Wallace.

“For us, pledging one percent of our equity was the least we could do,” said Martel. “We got our start and were able to grow because there were those who helped us before we could help ourselves.”

Fagnan, whose announcement about committing to Resilient Coders and Inner City Weightlifting was the highlight of the evening, said he was inspired to that decision by a recent op-ed Resilient Coders’ founder David Delmar wrote for The Boston Globe, in which Delmar lamented the lack of diversity in the tech startup sector.

“It moved me and broke me down,” Fagnan said. “And it drove home the point that companies must make tangible commitments to their communities and to organizations that are on the ground working to close the gaps and help people find opportunity.” 

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The Boston Foundation , Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the largest community foundations in the nation, with net assets of some $1 billion. In 2015, the Foundation and its donors paid $135 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of $123 million. In celebration of its Centennial in 2015, the Boston Foundation launched the Campaign for Boston to strengthen the  Permanent Fund for Boston , the only endowment fund focused on the most pressing needs of Greater Boston. The Foundation is proud to be a partner in philanthropy, with more than 1,000 separate charitable funds established by donors either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes.

The Boston Foundation also serves as a major civic leader, think tank and advocacy organization, commissioning research into the most critical issues of our time and helping to shape public policy designed to advance opportunity for everyone in Greater Boston.  The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), an operating unit of the Foundation, designs and implements customized philanthropic strategies for families, foundations and corporations around the globe. For more information about the Boston Foundation and TPI, visit tbf.org or call 617-338-1700.

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Quick facts

Pledge 1% is a national business philanthropy movement that encourages and enables businesses to commit one percent of their equity to the communities in which they're housed.
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Pledge 1% is based in San Francisco but is national in scope and recently signed its 1,000th member company that made the pledge of one percent equity to charitable causes.
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Pledge 1% Boston launched on Oct. 28, 2016, in Cambridge, MA.
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