People who reach a certain level of success often decide they want to give back. For many, writing checks is enough. But some want to do more; they want get hands with worthy causes. But historically, there hasn’t been an efficient way for executives to identify organizations that could use their help. Or, for that matter, for non-profits to find advisers that have the skills they’re looking for. That’s why Palindrome Advisors is creating a philanthropic “Match.com”–to pair up executives with the non-profits who need them.
Inspired in part by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s Giving Pledge, Palindrome today launches the “Palindrome Pledge,” signed by one hundred leaders from technology, venture capital, hospitality, and other industries. But instead of promising a portion of their estates, these signers are committing to spend a year serving on the boards of non-profit institutions vetted and hand-picked by Palindrome.
Among the hundred are some well-known names in Silicon Valley and beyond, including former Facebooker Chris Kelly, Playdom co-founder Rick Thompson, former Mint.com CMO Donna Wells, Tapjoy CEO Mihir Shah, and Yahoo! founding executive team member Ellen Siminoff. Also on the roster: Twitter’s president of global revenue Adam Bain, Social Gaming Network founder Shervin Pishevar, Google vice president of product management Neal Mohan, and Apple director of iPhone apps Dag Kittlaus.
“We’re challenging the current model of just giving money by creating deeper engagement,” Palindrome founder Zaw Thet, an entrepreneur and CEO of 4INFO, tells Fast Company. In addition to serving on boards, Palindrome advisers are required to attend quarterly meetings with other advisers, where they can tease out issues their respective non-profits are tangling with and collaboratively brainstorm solutions. Palindrome also will be hosting an annual summit, where members will evaluate their impact and discuss best practices.
“The key is the community,” Thet says. “It means you have other people to get feedback and advice from.” The vetting that Palindrome does is also a plus that could lead to greater success for both the executives who want to make an impact and the organizations who want to make sure they’re getting good eggs.
“If you’re an entrepreneur, and you come in through us, you’ve been screened,” Thet says. “And if you’re an entrepreneur, [you know that a non-profit Palindrome sets you up with] is a good organization. They’re transparent, and they use their money efficiently.”
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