Friday for Good across time zones

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

You may already know that at Twitter we have a tradition of supporting nonprofit groups and charities that actively work to improve their communities. We do this because we believe it’s important to work directly with people where we do business.

On June 6 we held our semi-annual day of volunteering, which we call #FridayforGood. As we’ve opened more offices and gained more employees around the world, #FridayforGood has grown into truly being a global day for service. This year, nearly one-third of our worldwide staff — some 900 people — contributed their time and energy to a wide variety of causes.

We thought we’d take you through the day via highlights from around the globe, ranging from aiding low income and homeless people to installing wifi in community centers to tutoring kids, among other things.

Providing food, Internet access and more in San Francisco

In San Francisco, where the bulk of our employees work, more than 650 people stepped up to participate with more than 50 different projects. The day started at 6 a.m., when some served breakfast at St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco, the largest homeless shelter in Northern California. Dozens more were at GLIDE, where between breakfast, lunch and dinner shifts, our teams volunteered all day.

Our very own @dickc was among the Twitter volunteers who worked the food line and bussed dishes, making 2,500 lunches for poor and homeless neighbors at St. Anthony’s, which offers a wide range of basic needs and services.

“Volunteering at St. Anthony’s was an inspiring experience,” said software engineer Mridu Atray. “Not only was it an opportunity to give something back to the community but also to understand the physical, financial and mental challenges, and difficult choices they have to make every day.”

Another San Francisco project was with Compass Family Services. With the help of the local nonprofit Inveneo, we installed wireless Internet connectivity at Clara House, Compass’ transitional housing program, giving 13 families in residence free online access.

Meanwhile, back at HQ, volunteers made more than 4,100 PB&J sandwiches for Food Runners and assembled over 200 disaster kits with the Red Cross for senior citizens in the neighborhood.

In addition, Cary Gold, the supervising attorney for the Housing Negotiation Project (HNP), came by to train 13 of our attorneys to help provide legal representation to help families facing eviction. The HNP is run by the Justice & Diversity Center, the pro bono arm of the San Francisco Bar Association. Now there are more than a dozen of our attorneys who are able to help negotiate settlements for tenants.

“Can you imagine the surprise of the landlord’s attorney when they have to go toe-to-toe with a Twitter litigation or contracts attorney?” said legal analyst Allison Pharr. “Plus, Twitter attorneys get to flex their negotiation muscles while doing good for San Francisco families. It’s a win-win-win!”

Giving and beautifying on the East Coast

Beyond San Francisco, there were a variety of projects and activities elsewhere in the U.S. In New York, our team met with nonprofts and charities associated with Giving Tuesday, a day dedicated to giving back on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (and Black Friday), to discuss strategies for optimizing their impact (including fundraising potential) through the vast reach of social media.

For the second consecutive #FridayforGood in Boston, we worked with The Esplanade Association on outdoor beautification on the iconic Charles River and The Esplanade. “The area that we’re working to preserve and restore couldn’t be more ‘Boston,’ and it gives us an opportunity to give back to the city — in a physical, manual labor sense — that we love so much,” said Tracy Wax from our Boston workplace operations team.

Friday for Good across time zones

Courtesy @TwitterBoston

Workshops and games in Dublin

Meanwhile, across the pond in Dublin, some 100 of the @TwitterDublin team (put another way, that’s 75% of the office) volunteered more than 200 hours at St. Andrews Resource Centre. A long-time community fixture, St. Andrews offers comprehensive programs from child care to adult education training to elderly daycare.

“Friday for Good is about connecting and building long-standing relationships with the people who keep it alive and running,” said Karen White from the policy team. “In our community, St. Andrews Resource Centre really is the heart and soul of it.”

The day included face-painting, baking, playing bingo and football and participating in career skills workshops with the St. Andrews community. The team also helped the Centre set up a Twitter account (@SARCD2), which sent out its first Tweet:

“We have all made so many friends and really learned about the extraordinary work that this organization does.”
Karen White

Friday for Good across time zones

Courtesy @TwitterDublin

Staying smart and swimming in Sydney

In the land Down Under, Twitter Australia employees took a proactive approach to educating about how Aussies can keep themselves safe online. For National Stay Smart Online Week (#SSOW2014) — the seventh annual online safety awareness week sponsored by the Australian Federal Government — our teams worked with charities, governmental organizations and others to raise awareness about Internet safety.

In addition, sales account executive Angus Keene spent three days at the first-ever #CampEarthHour working on social media strategies to spur community involvement around the topic of climate change. Selected as a World Wildlife Federation (WWF) community ambassador, Angus met with leading climate scientists, community organizers and locals living on the Great Barrier Reef.

“The Great Barrier Reef is a fragile ecosystem and when you spend a morning, as I did, swimming with a group of friendly white-tipped sharks or a family of unaware turtles, you understand first hand how important it is to protect the environment,” Keene said.

“I look forward to continuing my work with WWF and the Earth Hour team during the year to help them spread their message of community action on climate change.”
Angus Keene

In all, our #FridayforGood was a long and rewarding day. We look forward to the next turn we can take to be good citizens and neighbors wherever we have offices around the world.