A year like no other. From racial and social justice uprisings, a raging pandemic, devastating wildfires and assaults on democracy, 2020 was anything but kind – which is why here at Oliver Russell, we put extra effort into being just that.
Here are some highlights of the different ways we leaned into kindness, compassion, community, and resilience to keep our spirits high, and move forward, despite the consistent challenges and undercurrent of uncertainty 2020 made us all too familiar with.
With democracy at stake, we worked to encourage all Americans to participate in the election and codified this encouragement by signing on to the Civic Alliance.
We put our money where our mouth is and donated $1,000 to Shape Up the Vote which worked to register Black, male voters at barbershops in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Atlanta, Georgia.
Focusing on SDG5, we ran a social campaign to celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day in March, celebrating 22 powerful women in our posts.
After the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial was defaced in Boise, we built and launched a GoFundMe campaign to support its repair and the ongoing community education efforts by the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights – culminating in $19K in donations so far.
B Corp Basics was born! We developed and launched this self-guided online course to help people easily understand the goals of the B Corp movement. Coming soon in Spanish thanks to our B Corp friends at Latin Lingua.
In partnership with RoundPeg and Unity Web Agency (two other B Corps), we introduced UNIT Co, a new impact measurement and reporting platform that will take impact assessment to a new level with the ease social entrepreneurs crave.
We invested more than $1,000 in ReGrained, a company that upcycles used grain from beer production processes to make healthy snacks.
Staying true to our 1% for the Planet pledge we contributed to three cool nonprofits who do their work at the intersection of social and climate justice:
We also made some B1G1 donations resulting in:
- 101 forest trees planted
- 52 bars of soap donated
- 14 days of business training provided to former loggers in Borneo
- 4 days of training provided to children on healthy environmental practices
We also donated 106 hours to Orchestra Provisions, a food company focused on the development of sustainable (and tasty!) protein sources including crickets.
We used Terrapass to invest in carbon offsets for all travel and added an offset for all office utilities including our server’s power usage.
We supported City of Good which provided more than 20,000 meals to school children facing food insecurity in 2020. Launched at the height of Covid-19, City of Good has not only helped support our most vulnerable neighbors by providing delicious meals, but has also helped keep some of Boise’s amazing restaurant workers in the business of utilizing their gifts when restaurants were forced to shutter. We donated 322 hours of staff time to help jumpstart this nonprofit and raised $485 selling masks to support its ongoing efforts. You can learn more and sign up to volunteer or donate directly to the cause here.
We invested more than $1,000 in SHE- Style Her Empowered, a team of local seamstresses focused on empowering girls and women, who we enlisted to make our City of Good masks.
We donated 120 hours of our time, pro bono, to Boise State’s Venture College to help establish a unique program centered around social entrepreneurship concepts in partnership with the Mondragon University in Spain.
What is community without art and music? NADA! That’s why we stepped up to support our favorite local festival, Treefort, with an equity investment of $1,000 via Wefunder to help bridge the gap during a pandemic-induced, festival-free year.
We continue to offer cutting–edge benefits to our workers. From a Health and Wellness stipend every quarter, to alternative commuting reimbursements for our resident cyclists and bus commuters, and an 80% Health Care coverage benefit, Oliver Russell aims to support its team members in living full, healthy lives.
Some of our shifts in response to the pandemic are going to stick:
- All employees now have the choice to work remotely, making different lifestyle options for current employees a possibility and opening our talent pool to the best candidates, no longer constrained by geography.
- Celebration of family in all its forms will continue as we learn to better appreciate our employees more holistically. Not just as worker bees but as parents, partners, roommates, and friends. The invaluable insights gained from two school age children, two bunnies, at least six dogs, multiple spouses, roommates, and other Zoom bombers on our projects this past year will continue to help us shine.
Benefit Director’s Statement
As an Idaho Public Benefit Corporation, the Oliver Group, Inc. (dba Oliver Russell & Associates, LLC) acted in accordance with its general public benefit purpose and any specific public benefit purpose in all material respects during the period covered by the report.
The directors and officers have complied with sections 30-2007 and 30-2009, Idaho Code, respectively. The benefit corporation did not dispense with or restrict the discretion or powers of the board of directors.
Founder and President Russ Stoddard serves as benefit director and officer of the company and exercises the powers, duties, rights, and has the immunities of the board of directors and the benefit director.
There is no connection between our benefit corporation director and the organization that established the third-party standard (B Lab) or its directors, officers or any holder of 5 percent or more of the governance interests in the organization that might materially affect the credibility of the use of the third-party standard.
Here’s hoping you enjoy our silver linings and carve out some of your own upon reflection. 2020 was bad, undoubtedly, but it wasn’t all bad. And it definitely reaffirmed our belief in the importance of harnessing the power of business as a force for good.