Earlier this year I got to thinking about the number of times I've been involved in raising money. My last company Paytrust raised 6 rounds of angel/VC capital (which was probably 4 or 5 too many!). Billtrust took in a small amount of venture funding in 2006 to help accelerate growth. Not once, however, in either of these companies did I participate in raising money for anything other than my company. Seems sort of selfish in hindsight.
Most companies with any sort of size or stature do something to give back. This year we decided that Billtrust should be one of those companies.
The Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America (BBBS) is an organization that can best be described as awesome. They help at-risk children who are in the need of one-on-one mentoring by a responsible adult. Kids who participate in BBBS are more likely to graduate high school, less likely to do drugs, and less likely to commit a crime. Basically they are more likely to lead happy and productive lives thanks to this organization. This is particularly near and dear to my heart. I grew up in a single family household and there were two men who took me under the wing as I was growing up. They helped me get jobs, helped me pick colleges, helped me pick out suits for my first job, helped me in a similar fashion as BBBS.
Billtrust is under way with a huge company wide fund raiser for this great cause. We're encouraging all employees to participate, we're giving out some great prizes, we built a web donation site. I don't say this to brag, it's more of an about time we did something.
How can you help? The best way is to volunteer as a big brother or big sister. There are always kids in need. If you don't have time, a donation to this great cause I'm sure would help as well.