7 NYC startups that give back for the holidays

From clothing drives to charitable happy hours, these companies spread holiday joy.

Written by Liz Warren
Published on Nov. 20, 2017
7 NYC startups that give back for the holidays
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It’s that time of year when NYC startups get in the holiday spirit. From clothing drives to charitable happy hours, these companies spread holiday joy. If you’re looking for ways to give back this year, here’s your chance to get inspired.


trade desk holiday
Image via The Trade Desk

The Trade Desk, which powers buyers in advertising, selects 10 people in need and rewards them each with $10,000 every holiday season. Then, the company gets together at the Trade Desk Palooza, a company-wide event that happens at the start of the new year, and shares the recipients’ stories.

“Every day, we focus heavily on growing our company, growing our culture and growing as individuals,” said Timothy Caro, senior lead software engineer. “It’s great to step back at the end of the year to realize how blessed we all are. Giving back to others is a great way to share that blessing and remind us why we work so hard each day.”


turbonomic holiday giving
Image via Turbonomic


As a team, hybrid cloud management platform Turbonomic has led a number of traditional, community-based initiatives like donations to local food pantries, ASPCA animal shelters and soup kitchens. They’ve also led some non-traditional initiatives — in the past, they ran a prospect engagement campaign, where every content download equaled a monetary donation to Engineers Without Borders.

“I believe that humans are wired with the desire to give, so we’re essentially opening the doors for our employees to do exactly what they want…give back!” said brand marketing manager Justin Graci. “As a team, it’s super important to participate in these activities for a few reasons; it grounds us as individuals and makes us remember what’s truly important, it builds team collaboration and builds relationships between employees who may not have had the chance to collaborate with certain co-workers within the office.”

Image via Updater

Updater, a platform that helps make moving easier, organizes a holiday food drive each year. Last year, when the team was just 30 people, they collected more than 1,000 pounds of food and supplies. Now that they’re 75 people strong, the team expects even greater results.

“We have an amazing, talented team who wants to give back, so it's an incredible experience to coordinate an initiative that brings us together and makes a difference both within the moving industry and outside of it,” said people experience manager Ashley Lunsford.


Image via DigitalOcean

Cloud computing platform DigitalOcean gets everyone — employees, vendors and local nonprofits — involved in their holiday volunteering projects. The team hosts Formal Friday, which includes a formal happy hour and raffle benefiting local nonprofits. Prizes are provided by some of the vendors they work with, and all of the proceeds benefit the nonprofits in attendance.

“At the end of the day, people are what matters the most,” said office experience team lead Amanda Brazzell. “With building and scaling a business like DigitalOcean, we make it a priority to keep our community top of mind. We value the impact that we make when we come together and do good for others.”


teachable holiday
Image via Teachable

Teachable is a platform that lets people build online courses. The team makes it a point to give back year-round, with clothing drives, volunteer workshops, community service and mentorship. They partner with organizations like Books Through Bars, MSTERIO, iMentor and Best Friends Animal Society.

“The online education industry is uniquely positioned to do good in the world, and Teachable’s commitment to positively impacting our community is reflected in our company culture, starting with our employees,” said office manager and recruiting coordinator Casey Kwon. “Giving back is a huge motivator in creating a company-wide volunteer culture that encourages employees to spread goodwill and kindness throughout our shared society.”


Image via Yext

Digital knowledge management company Yext gives back to the community by partnering with local organizations New York Cares and the Flatiron Partnership. They participate in clothing and food drives, and some members of the team just finished repainting a fence at an under-resourced school in Brooklyn.

“Service opportunities are a great way to build a sense of camaraderie among employees while also doing something meaningful for the community we are a part of,” said HR coordinator Alysha Hamel. “We place a big emphasis on service here.”


Image via Yotpo

Yotpo, a content marketing solution, has a team called “Yotpo Cares” that’s dedicated to community service. They organize both onsite and offsite volunteering opportunities to make sure all employees have a chance to participate. In the past, the team has thrown a Bingo party at a senior citizen center, helped underprivileged groups with their gardening and drew holiday cards for children in the hospital.

“It's easy to lose sight of the big picture in a hyper-growth startup,” said senior talent acquisition specialist Stevie Cogan. “There's no better way to come together as an entire company than with the mission of simply giving.”


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