Today I’m excited and honored to announce that Classy has been named one of the “100 Top Impact Companies” in the world by Real Leaders Magazine! Through their focus on sustainable business and leadership, Real Leaders Magazine seeks to inspire strong leaders for a better world.
This type of recognition is a testament to the strength of our social enterprise mission and stakeholder values, and I couldn’t be more proud of the entire team and broader Classy community for this achievement. Make sure to check out the press release and the official list.
Classy started as a simple way to raise money for a cause that we cared deeply about. When the process was a lot harder than we anticipated, we were left asking ourselves, “Why does giving need to be so hard?” So, we evolved our passion project into a tech company and launched in 2011 to solve that problem on a larger scale.
For the next nine years, we dedicated ourselves to making giving more accessible and helping our nonprofit partners not only raise more money, but do so in a more sustainable way. The collective result has been nearly $2 billion raised on Classy for myriad social and environmental causes. And, as our team will tell you firsthand, we’re just getting started!
As first-time entrepreneurs, we also had much to learn about growing a business. But the great thing about starting something from scratch is that you can follow your intuition about how the business should be built and what values should guide you.
That freed us to pursue things like our early Pledge 1% commitment to stakeholders, the #ClassyGives program that sends employees around the world to volunteer, and the launch of the Classy Awards—the “Oscars of Philanthropy”—all born from our team’s dedication to our social mission and stakeholder values.
This dedication became the glue of our culture in many ways, reinforcing a “lead by example” mindset and propelling our growth. And grow we did. Over those nine years we went from two people to 200, and from a handful of amazing nonprofit customers to over 4,000!
We also learned that if you’re not careful, it’s easy to develop a “growth at all costs” mentality which will quickly disconnect you from the very things that got you there. While Classy is far from perfect, our team’s dedication to our social mission and stakeholder values through all of this growth is the single thing that I’m most proud of after our first nine years in business, and it’s what we’ll use as our anchor for the next nine years and beyond.
Classy is proud to stand with the companies on the Real Leaders Magazine “Top 100 Impact” list. It gives me hope that the business world is moving in the right direction. It wasn’t long ago that companies like Ben & Jerry’s, The Body Shop, and Patagonia were complete outliers in the business community, mocked for their willingness to consider more than one stakeholder.
Today, thousands of companies around the world are building off of the foundation that these early pioneers set and are literally rewriting the definition of business from the ground up. Even the Business Roundtable recently declared that the purpose of a corporation should extend well beyond shareholder value. It’s a great start, but there’s a lot more work to be done.
Moving forward, our team at Classy is more committed than ever to sharing our efforts with the broader community so we can learn from, and grow with, each other in a more sustainable way. So, congratulations again to all of the companies on the Real Leaders list this year! The Classy team is inspired by you and we hope to collaborate in a more unified fashion in 2020 and beyond.