Tech companies contributing to UWGT’s annual community investment over the next two years ::

This article was written for our sponsor, United Way of the Greater Triangle.

Addressing issues such as poverty, racial and gender disparities, and food insecurity requires community collaboration and input. At United Way of the Greater Triangle, the non-profit organization is aided in its mission to eradicate poverty and increase social mobility for people in the Triangle area by partnering with local tech companies.

Through the power of these partnerships, they are able to bring real change to residents of central North Carolina, Orange, Durham, Wake and Johnston counties.

For companies like Google Fiber, partnering with United Way has helped meet the growing need for stable home internet, while continuing their commitment to fundraising for local nonprofits that improve access to the internet. housing and food. In 2020, the company also made significant contributions to United Way’s Rapid Response Fund and Anti-Racism Community Fund.

In 2020, the Rapid Response Fund distributed over $1.4 million in the community in direct response to the need revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, Anti-Racism Community Fund dollars were awarded to support organizations’ internal capacity to work anti-racism while providing additional dollars to organizations delivering impactful programming through an anti-racism approach.

“We realize that the COVID-19 pandemic and generations of systemic racism have been intertwined, and the Black Lives Matter movement has rightfully called on more companies to change systems and influence their industries. Google is committed to improving racial equity, both internally and externally, and Google Fiber has aligned with that,” said Jess George, head of government and community affairs at Google Fiber and board member of United Way of the Greater Triangle.” The Anti-Racism Community Fund is a great fit for us because of its explicit goal of ending racism in our communities. We view this as integral to the work we are also doing with our COVID-19 response.”

“Doing the hard work internally and externally with organizations like the United Way and the community partners who work closely with them is a way for us to really look and examine the realities of families who are impacted by the economic disparities and health disparities of COVID -19 and how these relate to the racist policies and practices we have seen in North Carolina and across the country,” she concluded.

Although Google Fiber is a globally recognized company, it is also active at the community level across the state. In fact, they recently participated in a partnership with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System to find a way to bridge the digital divide for 6,000 families in the community.

Other tech companies in the Triangle region have a similar goal to Google Fiber, using their strengths and funds to contribute to community investments. Through his work at Ayon Capital and ZebPay, Rahul Pagidipati uses his finance and cryptocurrency expertise to support the community.

“Many people who we might consider poor still have a smartphone, even if it is relatively old. As smartphones become more relevant, there are exciting opportunities for microfinance – even when it comes to giving money. money to people on the street, eventually what will happen is they can use some sort of QR code to collect money,” Pagidipati said. “What I hope is that within of the bitcoin community, we can kind of create a base, small amounts of universal basic income so that our profits flow back to help people who really need it. You don’t. need a bank account to get bitcoin, and as long as a merchant takes it, you can use it.”

According to Pagidipati, ZebPay’s goal is “not to make the rich richer, but the poor less poor”. By increasing social capital through access to cryptocurrency, Pagidipati hopes to be able to provide people with a financial base that is not provided by large banks or lenders.

While he and his company still have some work to do to work out the details of such a plan, cryptocurrency has already made leaps and bounds in the public sphere in the past few years alone, so Pagidipati is optimistic about to future potential – and United Way is playing a major role in achieving these goals.

“As an investor, United Way is a great way to find great organizations doing social good and charitable work in the community,” Pagidipati said. “Not every idea works, but it’s able to get more recognition and donations, and it gives you a vantage point to see all of the work going on in the community.”

George echoed the same sentiments, pointing out that Google Fiber’s work in the Triangle community is amplified with the help of United Way.

“We all have to adapt to the challenges that have been presented to us, and I feel like this moment creates an opportunity for greater personal empathy for how communities have historically lacked access to the resources that many between us took for granted,” Georges said. “It also allows for a greater level of gratitude for these amazing nonprofits who are on the ground every day seeking solutions for the communities they serve. We have greater access to the deep well of resources we we all need to make a difference for our neighbors, for our cities and for our world, bringing that sense of empathy and gratitude to the workplace and pushing us further in the right direction.”

This article was written for our sponsor, United Way of the Greater Triangle.

Jill E. Washington