November 24, 2021
Here at The Design Lab, we’re very transparent about where your money goes. We believe that, as a successful business, we have the resources to give back and support others. What does this look like in action?
From Q1 to Q3 2021, we have donated 12% of our profits to charitable organizations and 16% went to our fund for the Waves of Change Grant.
We’ve exceeded our goal of 10% profits donated, and support three main organizations:
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is an organization that fights for civil rights, immigrant rights, voting rights, reproductive rights, and more.
Girls, Inc. offers mentorship that focuses on support and guidance to help girls discover their inherent strengths and navigate the challenges they face.
Girls Who Code is set on building the largest pipeline of female computer engineers and scientists, and is helping young women close the gender gap in tech industries.
We also donate on an as-needed basis, i.e. in the event of a natural disaster or tragedy.
For us, donating to causes and people who need support is more than just a “corporate policy.” It’s our way of bridging gaps that inherently exist in a world where people donate to causes that reflect their own lifestyles.
Privileged groups tend to give back to groups already in their orbit, rather than giving to causes that impact people who are in different, more marginalized social brackets. If you don’t fit into those groups’ orbits, you don’t often benefit from those resources – or the accessible resources are much more limited.
As a minority woman-owned business, it’s important to use our money and business success in ways that give others the freedoms and opportunities they want. That’s why we donate to programs that support women and girls, and to those who are fighting for civil liberties and representation.
Giving back doesn’t always have to be monetary. As you grow your business or as you hear about causes that could use your support, it’s valuable to offer whatever additional resources you have. You never know when your skills or support could fill a need. Plus, we believe that when we have additional resources that can be used to lift up someone else, we should offer them.
That’s why we created the Waves of Change Grant — to provide a woman of color with the mentorship and services she needs to bring her business to life.
We also know that women, and especially women of color, with money and power are more likely to problem-solve for their community and pass down opportunities to other women. That is why it’s even cooler that we’re able to run our grant for a second year. (See our first year winner here!)
As of this writing (in mid-November 2021), we’ve narrowed down over 1200 applicants to our semifinalists; our final selection will take place before the winter holidays. It’s a huge gift and responsibility to be able to hear over 1200 womens’ business ideas and stories. It’s truly awe-inspiring to read through some of the brilliant ideas these women have, and how all they need is a little more support or a few more resources. If you want to stay up to date on the grant and the business we select as our winner, make sure you follow Waves of Change Grant on Instagram.
There’s another way we can all give back as business owners and creatives: Supporting small business. Of course, it’s not all or nothing. You don’t have to boycott Amazon or your local big box store. But even a few purchases to small businesses this holiday season (or any other week of the year) means putting money and power into the hands of people who can change their lives and their communities.
Small purchases add up big time for small businesses and allow them to hire people around you, to provide sick days, to donate to local schools, to provide for their extended families. Since we live in a capitalist society, everything that’s important to you has a small business equivalent, and support from you goes so far. Small business success can also be a blessing for women and marginalized communities, and the things they create can make such a difference. Read this post from Ladyfingers Letterpress if you don’t believe us!
It’s pretty easy to see that we are driven to make an impact with our business. We know that so many other business owners, entrepreneurs, and creatives are, too. Even if you’re in a place where you can’t donate 10% of your profits (or even 1%), that’s OK. This isn’t to demand that everyone creates a charitable giving policy for their business.
Instead, it’s to highlight why giving back in our own capacities is so important. Maybe you want to support a local dog shelter, which means that you’ll need to take on fewer clients so you can volunteer in the afternoons — that’s giving back. Maybe you want to mentor young entrepreneurs in an after-school program. Maybe you want to donate your design skills, your SEO services, or your tech tools to a nonprofit that helps an at-risk community.
There are so many ways to make an impact with our businesses, with our resources, with our gifts. Imagine what a better place the world would be if we all shared resources (not just cash) and supported others who lead different lives from us? That’s the kind of world we want to live in… and help create!