Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Pledge 1
Community Manager
Community Manager


Original link here
Author: Alex Collmer


When we started our 501c3 foundation in 2017, the thinking was simple. It seemed like the rinse and repeat nature of striving to hit ever-expanding bookings and revenues numbers quarter after quarter would eventually get boring, and we wanted Vidmob to be more than just a company. I remember our lawyers laughing at us at the time, and politely pointing out that a 3 year-old start-up probably didn’t need a foundation. But we were steadfast in our vision to build a purpose-driven company, and Vidmob Gives was born. Shortly after that, we hired Burr Purnell as the first Executive Director, and started down the path of figuring it all out. In the years since, we’ve worked with hundreds of charities all over the world, working with causes aligned with all 17 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We also formally joined Pledge 1%, donating 1% of our equity to the foundation and committing to donate 1% of annual revenues in perpetuity. This was already a lot, but another of Burr’s contributions was to convince us to start doing annual service trips. The first trip saw 17 Vidmob employees go to Brazil to build houses for 2 homeless mothers. I’ll never forget watching the video recap of the trip during our end-of-year holiday all-hands, and promised myself that if I had a chance to join the next one, I was going to figure out how to make it work.


That opportunity came in February of this year, as Vidmob’s Jamie Bradley (Senior Director of Enablement) pieced together the details for an even more ambitious 2nd service trip. For the last few years, we’ve been working with an organization in Rwanda called Komera, which focuses on developing self-confident young women in the Kayonza district of the country, through education, community development and health. Their simple belief that investing in young girls is the fastest way to improve the world, resonated deeply with me, so I cleared my calendar, got my shots, and 2 days after a last-minute trip to London, headed off to Africa. 


We spent a week working with the staff at Komera’s Leadership Center in Rwinkwavu. We were ostensibly there to do two things; (i) build a playground for the children of teen mothers so that they could continue their education, and (ii) build a chicken hatchery to provide a source of food through their eggs and a source of income through the selling of chickens.  But it ended up being much greater than that. On one rainy morning, we taught a group of current students how to use gen AI tools, and collectively made children’s books, howling with laughter as a group when the miraculous images rendered on a projector in real-time in front of the class. We danced together with the staff and girls. We did yoga together. We laughed and shared stories together. But above all else, we carried rocks together. Big rocks.




Now I’ve long believed that there are few things more wonderful than doing hard work. But doing hard work with a grateful counterpart that has completely different life experiences that they’re happy to share is about as good as it gets. Day after day, we moved the supplies necessary to build the hatchery and then assisted in the construction – side-by-side with the women who would be benefiting from it. We painted, learned how to skin bark off of trees to get usable timber beams, mixed cement, learned how to make a cement-like grout from just the local mud and water, helped build the foundation, stacked, shaped and grouted the bricks for the wall, and at one point, I even talked them into letting me do some welding.


It is not a stretch to say it was one of the best weeks of my life.  And as I sit back in New York reflecting on the trip, here are a few of the takeaways from the week:


Service work is a key pillar of company culture. Put simply, more companies should do service trips. They can be tied to performance reviews, and there is no better way to get close to some of your co-workers. I cherished the opportunity spend so much quality time with a bunch of Vidmob’s rising stars.


Komera is an amazing organization. I cannot imagine a charity where our dollars would have more impact.  To put a little math behind it, the average rent in Rwinkwavu is around $6-8 per month. Each mature chicken from the hatchery we helped build will have a value of about $1-2. And it will hold hundreds of chickens. Again, I am more proud of the work we did during this week than any other week I can remember.


There is no better investment than young women. We met one after another current students and alumni, and their stories are incredible. As just one example, on the weekend after our service work, we went on a tour of Akagera National Park, guided by one of the park rangers. Midway through the day, she told us her story.  It turned out that she was a Komera graduate. When she was 12, her mother told her that they couldn’t afford to send her to school.  So she begged her mother to reach out to Komera. After many interviews, she was accepted and they helped her complete primary and secondary school, and then get into college. Now in her mid 20’s, she had graduated, gotten her dream job, paid to build a new family home, and is hoping to soon begin re-investing any overflow income back to Komera to support future versions of herself.  Now multiply that by the hundreds of girls that Komera works with, and you can see how quickly entire towns and districts can be impacted. Talk about girl power!


Some secrets are too valuable to keep to yourself. I believe this is the case as it relates to corporate service trips. If anyone wants to learn more about how we run these, about Komera, or how to set up sometime similar for your own organization, send us a note. We’re happy to share everything we’ve learned.




And if you want to join me and Vidmob in making a donation to Komera, here’s the link.  I promise you it will be going to a great cause.

1 Comment