Adobe launched the Equity and Advancement Initiative (EAI) in Fall 2021 in collaboration with the Adobe Foundation to address systemic barriers and advance social equity.
Like many companies in 2020, Adobe grappled with how to be an ally to racial and social justice movements. While Adobe recognized it does not hold all the expertise and cultural competency to solve large-scale social justice issues, the company realized—with financial support from the Adobe Foundation—it does have the people, products, and philanthropy to empower the leaders and movements who can.
Adobe and the Adobe Foundation’s support goes deeper than one-time funding or a standalone marketing opportunity. It includes access to both general operating funds from the Foundation and wraparound services and engagement from the company. For example, EAI organizations have access to Adobe products, policy support, and pro bono consulting from its employees.
Pro bono has been a highly successful form of wraparound support for the EAI cohort members.
Pro bono services help tackle the challenge of limited organizational resources by leveraging the talents and time of skilled private-sector volunteers. Paired with grants, pro bono amplifies impact by providing organizations with needed expertise and bandwidth to increase reach, impact, and efficiency.
Since 2017, Adobe and Taproot have collaborated to offer Adobe’s flagship pro bono program, the Pro Bono Residency, a 12-week program that mobilizes the expertise and passion of Adobe employees in skilled volunteer projects in marketing, strategy, and technology to make a sustainable impact for community partners.
Pro bono programs are also transformative for employee volunteers. Consultants found the experience to be one of bilateral learning, as they learned about the challenges faced by the nonprofit sector and the communities these organizations serve.
“The work we did for [the nonprofit] allowed them to put together an actionable plan to make real changes…It makes me proud to know that I was able to contribute to the safety of people who are working on the front lines fighting for human rights.” – Adobe Senior Engineer and Pro Bono Residency participant Ian Reasor
Pro bono is also an exercise in building trust between funders and grantees, as nonprofit organizations entrust their corporate consultants with providing input on important strategic decisions that will affect their organizations significantly.
Pro bono consulting can be a powerful philanthropic pillar not only for generating impact, but for increasing understanding and collaboration between the nonprofit and for-profit sectors.
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