Yahoo: Finding Common Ground: When Uncertainty Leads to Opportunity

Yahoo has been in the news a lot lately. The growing uncertainty about the future of Yahoo is something that Yahoo employees across the globe are grappling with on a daily basis. For the most part, people are keeping their heads down, doing good work and hoping for the best but while on the Yahoo campus recently, there is a definitely some tension. You would think that programs like Yahoo for Good and Yahoo Employee Foundation (YEF) would not be top of mind for people, that employees would feel too uneasy about their future to be bothered with giving back. In the case of Yahoo, you’d be wrong. When an opportunity came for employees to champion their favorite causes, more nonprofit applications were submitted than in any grant round in recent history. And the support didn’t stop there! Over 100+ YEF volunteers stepped up to review the grant applications resulting in YEF granting nearly $4 million dollars to a variety of causes and organizations doing exceptional work in communities around the world through the YEF corporate advised fund at Silicon Valley Community Foundation. 
Pictured: Yahoo employees gather to learn more about nonprofits that are supported by YEF.
A history: 
The Yahoo Employee Foundation was formed more than a decade ago with seed funding from the founding executives. The intention of its formation was to give employees a way to pool their own money to effect causes about which they cared about at scale. Since its founding in 1999, YEF has grown, sustained growth through economic insecurities, and even expanded into a separate Yahoo Employee Foundation India (YEFI) with the Yahoo team in Bangalore. 
Yahoo employees have the opportunity to designate their own funds or Yahoo matched funding, through Yahoo’s matching gifts program, to be saved and pooled for future giving. YEF is run by Yahoo employees in their volunteer time. SVCF supports YEF’s work as the charitable holder of YEF funds and as a partner in identifying and supporting nonprofit organizations, both in the US and abroad. 
YEF is the platform by which Yahoos can come together under a common purpose. Emmy Negrin splits her time between Yahoo for Good and Yahoo Employee Foundation. She works on both programs and is constantly on the hunt for innovative ways to give Yahoo employees a chance make a difference. Emmy believes that, “People are looking for ways to do something meaningful, and in times of uncertainty that doesn’t change. We all want to have purpose in our lives and we can all come together with the charge of making our communities better for everyone.”  
While we reflect on the recent election and the uncertainty in this nation that we love, we would do well to learn from Yahoo. To rally together with a clear path forward, to find common ground and to continue to do good in the communities where we live and work and across the globe. As Nelson Mandela once said, “Our human compassion binds us to one another – not pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.” 
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