Recently, our CEO Sandeep Sahai shared some thoughts on new norms that have emerged in this unprecedented situation with most of us now working from home. One of these new norms is a heightened focus on community and giving back to those in need – which has been uplifting and impressive to see. Now more than ever our communities need us: with millions out of jobs, millions of students without internet to do their coursework, and many in our communities struggling just to put food on their table, we must find ways to act.
"Amid the busyness and professional challenges of this moment, be sure to take some time to look beyond yourself and do something for your community." — Sandeep Sahai, CEO, Clearwater Analytics
I am proud that Clearwater has made community involvement a priority – based on the voices of our employees. When we asked our employees what role Clearwater should play in the communities we operate in, almost 100% of our employees participated in the survey and nearly all of them said they want this to be a company-wide focus. That this is a priority for our employees is clear – in response, we launched a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program, which we call Clearwater Cares.
Corporate Social Responsibility
The goal of Clearwater Cares (which is also one of our four vision statements) is to:
Contribute to our local communities to have a meaningful impact on the lives of those around us.
A formalized CSR program is new to Clearwater. As we aim to implement a meaningful, impactful, and also sustainable program, we are focused on four principles:
- Align what we do to the three priorities identified by our employees: Education (specifically STEM), Human Services, Sustainability
- Drive impact through forming effective partnerships
- Provide a measurable impact
- Start small, prove it out, learn, and then expand
I am the executive sponsor to help drive this initiative. Over the last 12 months, we have made great progress – although you never go as fast as you hope. We have implemented a volunteer time-off (VTO) policy. We launched quarterly volunteer activities to make it easy for our employees to get involved (although admittedly COVID-19 has hindered our employees’ ability to volunteer). We had a successful employee giving campaign in March and April – raising over $40,000 – across all of our locations in the US, UK, and India. Sandeep, our CEO, personally matched half of the donations. And, we are starting to create partnerships with local organizations. These partnerships have been instrumental to identifying how we can gain access to the areas where we can have the most impact. Overall, the progress we have made, shows what can be done when employees are motivated and company leadership have also made it a priority.
"When Clearwater focuses on finding a solution, I've seen us accomplish astounding things, so it didn't surprise me that when faced with something like food insecurity in our community, we responded with the same enthusiasm and passion." — Elise Martindale, Client Services Division Lead and Co-Lead of Clearwater Cares
A Change of Plans: COVID-19 and Starting Small
COVID-19, while challenging in so many ways, has been a catalyst for so many at Clearwater to reach out and ask how they can help. However, as I have spoken to representatives from school systems and other community leaders, what I have learned is that although COVID-19 has helped to raise awareness, so many of the issues facing our communities are not new. They have simply become more visible.
We have always had families in our communities go hungry. In Idaho, where we are headquartered, 1 in 8 people struggle with hunger. Idaho also has more than a million people who lack broadband access, which is significant based on the size of our state. These needs are basic but are huge challenges – especially for children who deserve a level playing field as they begin their lives.
What we learned, however, is that even small contributions help – a little bit goes a long way. For instance, $10 to the Idaho Food Bank provides 50 meals; $20 per month can provide internet to a student and their family for a month. Those figures are motivating in the sense that we can really make a difference if we all contribute. That got many of us at Clearwater thinking and planning …
The Next Step: Clearwater’s Employee Giving Program
I am excited to share that Clearwater is launching an employee giving program as a next step in our corporate social responsibility program – first in Boise and then rolled-out globally. So many of our employees are eager to contribute when this gets launched later this month. This will be a long-term program that our employees can participate in, long after the current crisis.
The employee giving program in Boise will work in partnership with the Idaho Food Bank and the Idaho STEM Action Center. The Idaho STEM Action Center will be matching our employee contributions – which is amazing and generous. After Boise, we will be launching similar programs in Edinburgh and New Delhi.
"The Idaho STEM Action Center is proud to partner with Clearwater to bring connectivity to students who have not historically had access. In this digital age, a distance-learning environment is only possible for those with access. Through our partnership we are closing the equity gap and ensuring that more Idaho students have access to tools for online learning." — Angela Hemingway, Executive Director Idaho STEM Action Center
I have been leading HR at Clearwater for about a year now. It has been such an incredible journey with such a special group of people. I am thrilled to be at such an amazing company. I am proud of what we have been able to do at Clearwater. This program and the energy our employees have put behind it speak volumes to the character of who we are and what we truly value. This situation has reminded me of all the things I have to be thankful for. I’m thankful that I can give back and do that alongside the Clearwater colleagues I respect so much.