Groundswell Launches Platform Seeking to Revolutionize Corporate Philanthropy

Founded by a powerhouse trio, Groundswell’s goal is to democratize charitable giving and become a ubiquitous component of employee benefits packages

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–September 1, 2021–

Groundswell today announced the upcoming launch of its platform aimed at disrupting charitable giving. Groundswell will revolutionize how companies approach employee compensation and corporate philanthropy by empowering employees with their own personal donor-advised funds. Like the 401k did for retirement, Groundswell puts employees in the driver’s seat of corporate philanthropy and empowers them to create worldwide impact. Groundswell will also provide all donors with the tools historically reserved for the ultra-rich, including personalized matching services, frictionless donation options, tax-free investment opportunities, and impact reporting. The company intends to make its platform a ubiquitous component of employee benefits packages and charitable giving.

Groundswell was founded by Jake Wood, the co-founder and former CEO of Team Rubicon, Joe Marchese, multiple-time founder and investor, and Adam Miller, founder and former CEO of Cornerstone OnDemand. Wood will serve as the CEO of Groundswell, and Marchese and Miller will serve as Executive Co-Chairs.

Groundswell in effect gives employees their own personal foundation, and a payroll integration will let them automatically divert their charitable giving into their account – with the option for the company to match those funds or gift money directly into it, eliminating the antiquated post-donation matching programs that companies operate today.

“The model for today’s corporate philanthropy is outdated,” said Wood. “Gone should be the days when corporate philanthropy decisions are made by senior-level executives or boards that don’t reflect the diverse backgrounds or perspectives of their employees. Groundswell will democratize philanthropy for the masses, and does that by building a solution that gives everyone the power of a personal foundation in the palm of their hand.”

Groundswell eliminates the administrative burden of donation matching programs and provides companies with a unique opportunity to give better by reframing corporate philanthropy as a pillar of corporate talent strategy that helps to attract, engage, empower, and retain diverse, values-driven employees. Reports available from the Groundswell platform will offer executives a dynamic snapshot of what issues employees care about. While a company’s annual survey can provide a point-in-time view of the issues that matter, Groundswell will provide real-time analysis as societal events unfold. That means executives can be better prepared to navigate the increasing expectations of consumers and employees to speak or act on social issues.

“Groundswell is the right idea for this moment, and Jake is the right leader to make it a reality,” said Marchese. “FinTech has disrupted every corner of financial services with the exception of philanthropy, and we’re eager to tackle that half-trillion-dollar market.”

Human Ventures CEO Heather Hartnett has joined the board of directors. The founding team includes Tammy Hahn as Chief Product Officer, Karan Keswani as Chief Technology Officer, and Candice Schmitt as Chief Administrative Officer.

“Philanthropy has historically been the domain of the top 1%. Groundswell is putting the power of philanthropy in the hands of the other 99%,” said Miller. “We believe that just as health and retirement benefits have become a universal component of employee compensation, support of an employee’s charitable interests will become the next must-have employee benefit.”

About Groundswell

Groundswell provides a new type of financial service that leverages cutting-edge technology for better giving. Our platform allows companies to create personal foundations for its employees and gift or match employee contributions straight from payroll, like a 401K for giving. It puts employees in the driver’s seat of corporate philanthropy and empowers them to create worldwide impact. Groundswell also provides everyone access to tools historically reserved for ultra-rich philanthropists: personalized matching of the best non-profits for the causes you care about, frictionless donations, tax-free investments to grow your impact, a single tax receipt at the end of the year, and a unified picture of your impact over time.

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Alberto Lammers; [email protected]


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