A $100,000 Moment Thanks to the Pineapple Fund 🍍

By: Jaime-Alexis Fowler, Founder and Executive Director of Empower Work

This week, Empower Work received a game-changing $100,000 donation from the Pineapple Fund. The fund was started by an anonymous donor, “Pine,” who is making “bold, smart bets that hopefully impact everyone in the world” by giving away $86 million in Bitcoin.

Pineapple Fund’s transformative gifts to 30+ organizations have been highlighted by the New York TimesCNBCMashable not just for the impact, but for the intriguing new way that cryptocurrency is influencing philanthropy. Pine’s contribution is our largest individual gift to date — and our first Bitcoin donation.

It’s a powerful reminder of how a seemingly simple moment can be a turning point, and that’s core to our mission.

Pineapple Supply Co. .jpeg

It’s a powerful reminder of how a seemingly simple moment can be a turning point, and that’s core to our mission.

Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash

Empower Work is a new nonprofit that provides immediate, anonymous support for people facing tough work situations. Anyone in the U.S. can connect with a trained peer counselor via text or web chat within 5 minutes. We offer a space to grapple with and talk through what’s happening.

Our goal: every person who reaches out not only feels supported, but empowered to take a positive next step that works for them.

Empower Work started last year to address a huge gap in what people need to navigate stressful work moments. Our research showed tough work situations are universal, but resources to navigate them are not. That lack of access has damaging implications for the well-being and rights of people, not to mention companies and the larger economy.

As I’ve talked with people over the last seven months both in research interviews and simply informally about what we’re building, nearly universally, people open up and share a challenging moment that shifted their career.

One person left his dream industry after repeated microaggressions; one person left their leadership role because their CEO made derogatory, gendered comments; one person experienced internal backlash and a negative performance evaluation after providing feedback on behavior that left them uncomfortable; one person left her first job when she saw problematic product and business decisions that were leading the company down an unethical path. And the list unfortunately goes on.

In these tough moments, people seek trusted information and someone to explore their options with before making a decision or taking an action that could change their career.

When they have someone to talk to, they’re better able to navigate and positively address what’s going. When they don’t, those moments can have significant, long-term negative impact.

We’re here to provide trusted, informed, accessible work support to everyone. No matter where you work, your personal network, your available resources, we’re here.

In The Power of Moments, Chip and Dan Heath write, “Defining moments rewire our understanding of ourselves and the world. In a few seconds or minutes, we realize something that might influence our lives for decades: Now is the time for me to start this business. Or, This is the person I’m going to marry.”

What if we could take tough, challenging work moments, and shift them towards a positive outcome? How could the ability for someone to rethink their approach, better understand their resources, or get new information to navigate a situation impact not just feeling better in that moment, but their longer economic opportunity and career trajectory? How could it affect the team their working with? The company they’re part of?

These are among the many questions our team will explore as we build and grow in the coming year. We’re already seeing incredibly positive initial outcomes.

One user wrote to a volunteer at the end of a conversation, “What a fantastic service. Thank you for being there for me. I feel equipped to take [the situation] on thanks to you.”

“What a fantastic service. Thank you for being there for me. I feel equipped to take [the situation] on thanks to you.” -Empower Work User

More than 93% of users would recommend us to a friend (and a fair number of new users say they heard about us that way!). What’s tough varies by individual. People reach out with questions or moments ranging from fear of losing their job to bad run-ins with a manager to questionable behavior or decisions they see in a company. Sometimes it’s more positive — a great job offer to consider or an exciting possibility of a promotion.

Pineapple Fund’s gift is a substantial contribution to help us build on positive momentum — to train more talented volunteers who want to use their professional skills to support others and serve more people across the United States facing tough moments. And as we’ve done over the last seven months, we’ll be listening, measuring, testing, and adjusting as we learn.

Sometimes a simple action — starting a web chat or sending a quick email — can have an outsized impact.

I’m glad I took a moment to connect with Pine. And along with our team, Board, advisors, volunteers, and users, I’m grateful Pine took a moment to respond. 🍍

Want to take a moment and help pay it forward in your own way?

Make a donation (we now accept Bitcoin!) or share Empower Work with someone you know who needs support (simply text our number 510–674–1414 to a friend). Want to contribute many moments? Use your professional skills in a new way by becoming a volunteer.

*Empower Work joins 30 other organizations (and growing) that include WatsiQuillOpen Street MapCharity:WaterElectronic Frontier FoundationPencils of Promise, and the Internet Archive.