The Entrepreneurs Foundation Announces EF Impact Award Recipients

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2014 accomplishments highlight an impactful year for the Foundation and member companies

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2014 was a momentous year for giving back in the Austin community. In total, EF and member companies donated a total of almost $1.4 million.

Today, the Entrepreneurs Foundation (EF) announced the recipients of five community-focused awards to be formally recognized at the annual Texas Independence Day celebration on Monday, March 2. Award winners include Gene Austin, BuildASign.com, CreditCards.com, Jones-Dilworth Inc., and the Austin Startup Games.

Each year the EF Impact awards recognize the Community Leader of the Year as well as three member companies for their contributions to the communities in which they operate, collectively known as the Culturati Awards. Member companies are categorized by size into three groups: small (less than 50 employees), medium (50 - 100 employees), and large (greater than 100 employees). The Foundation generates a scorecard to assess, aggregate, and quantify these contributions across company programs and community impact. Lastly, a new category, called the Mountain Award, has been announced for the 2015 ceremony. This award recognizes the launch of a successful organization or program that encourages and rewards innovative corporate culture.

Gene Austin, CEO, President and Director at Bazaarvoice, was recognized as the 2015 Community Leader of the Year for his outstanding corporate and civic leadership. “It’s an honor to be recognized in the company of leaders past and present who have contributed so much to Austin by inspiring us all to be better corporate citizens,” said Austin. “We live, work and play in the greatest city in America that is fueled by a spirit of teamwork, volunteerism and investment in our future. I’m constantly amazed by our community’s individual and collective commitment to apply passion and expertise in ways that meaningfully improve the quality of life for us all.”

BuildASign.com, a leading online custom printing provider, won the Culturati Award for large companies with the execution of numerous community-wide endeavors over the past year, including Canville, Philanthropitch, and CreateAThon which each bring together talent and sponsors to benefit local nonprofits. “It has been a huge year for us in accelerating corporate culture at BuildASign,” said Dan Graham, CEO. “Beyond events, we have developed culture-focused programs for our employees such as matched donations, volunteer time off, and a payroll deduction plan.”

CreditCards.com, the leading online credit card marketplace, won the Culturati Award for medium-sized companies with their continued focus on employee benefits, including volunteer time off and employee recognition for community engagement. “We’re thrilled to be named a winner of the Culturati Award, especially after we successfully hosted our first-ever week of giving in 2014,” said Chris Speltz, CEO. “In just five days, 57 of our employees dedicated themselves to serving eight nonprofits. It was genuinely inspiring, and we look forward to serving the community further in the coming year.”

Jones-Dilworth, Inc. (JDI), a boutique consultancy that brings emerging technologies to market, won the Culturati Award for small companies with their donation of over 319 hours of pro bono design and public relations work, and their monetary support of 11 different organizations in the Austin community in 2014. “JDI is enormously lucky to have grown up in Austin, in a community that prizes giving and getting help” said Josh Jones-Dilworth, founder and CEO. “I love that in Austin we still get our hands dirty, stubbornly independent of title, calendar, inbox or bank account. Austinites make time, from scratch if need be. And I love how favors here aren’t transactional IOU’s, but rather the natural byproduct of a special camaraderie. The principle of the thing still matters in Austin; pro-bono isn't just an aesthetic. I’m struck by the degree to which Austin’s collective corporate culture shaped who we are at JDI, and who we are becoming. We’re honored to be part of a long tradition of modern, innovative philanthropy.”

The Austin Startup Games, a nonprofit that unites high-growth tech companies in friendly competition to build great cultures while giving back to their local communities, won the first annual Mountain Award for launching a successful organization that encourages and rewards innovative corporate culture. Executive Director Gillian Wilson, Jay Manickam (uShip/Everfest), Shawn Bose (uShip/Deily), Chuck Gordon (SpareFoot), Dan Graham (BuildaSign), Henrik Johansson (Boundless Networks), and Joshua Baer (Capital Factory) are the champions and Board Members of The Austin Startup Games. “The Games are instrumental in the tech community,” said Jay Manickam, Co-founder of uShip & Everfest, "A group of intrinsically motivated entrepreneurs successfully came together for the greater good, giving back to the community while having an amazing time doing so.”

2014 was a momentous year for giving back in the Austin community. In total, EF and member companies donated a total of almost $1.4 million. This includes almost $1.2 million in cash to nonprofits, $170,000 in youth entrepreneurship programs, and $25,000 in in-kind donations. EF’s member companies volunteered 12,694 hours of their time to philanthropic activity organized and supported by EF, across 2,265 people. 9,220 of those hours came directly from the companies receiving EF Impact awards. Across the Culturati Award recipients, Bazaarvoice, uShip, and SpareFoot, the leaders recognized in this year’s EF Impact Awards increased headcount by a total of 208 employees.

These achievements, in addition to the Community Leader of the Year, Culturati, and Mountain Awards, symbolize a movement in corporate culture that EF will be highlighting with the launch of the Culturati Conference. The event is slotted to take place in September of 2015 and will assemble innovative CEO’s from across the country to engage in a dialogue about corporate culture as a critical driver of business performance, growth and sustainability.

“We are extremely proud of, and humbled by, the contributions we’ve seen within the EF community over the past year,” said Eugene Sepulveda, CEO at the Entrepreneurs Foundation. “It is also validating to quantify the effects of positive corporate culture right here in our backyard, especially as we’re designing our upcoming Culturati Conference. 2015 will be truly transformative.”

The Texas Independence Day Celebration will take place on Monday, March 2, 2015 from 5:30 - 7:00 PM CT at Silicon Laboratories. The event is invitation only. To learn more, please contact info(at)amplifyaustin(dot)org.

About EF

EF helps companies build successful corporate cultures that drive business performance and enrich their communities through entrepreneurship.

Founded in 1999, the Foundation provides structured programs and events that help build and promote successful corporate cultures, making Central Texas an even better place to live, work, and play. EF is headquartered in Austin, Texas.

For more information, visit: http://www.amplifyaustin.org.

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Jordan Bresler
Jones-Dilworth, Inc.
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