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Hearst Gives Back Powered by Benevity Now an Always-on Gift Matching Platform

Your causes. Your donations. Matched, year-round.


For more than 130 years, social good has connected us at Hearst. Last year on Giving Tuesday, Hearst introduced Hearst Gives Back, a new platform for colleagues to support the causes they care about. All eligible employees in the U.S. received a gift to pay it forward to an organization of their choice, and thanks to all who participated, nearly $500,000 was contributed to more than 5,100 organizations around the country.

Now, Hearst Gives Back is activated for company gift matching, allowing employees to make donations any time on the platform to the 501(c)(3) organization of their choice, and Hearst will match it 1-to-1 up to $10,000 per employee, per year. If employees are moved to take action in the wake of current events, inspired by the arts or are concerned about food insecurity in their community, they can make a donation and Hearst will support them.

To mark the launch of the gift matching program, we spoke with colleagues around Hearst about the causes and organizations that inspire them to take action and give back. 

“I am fortunate to have had charitable contributions matched by Hearst in past years as part of the annual New York United Way campaign and have given to organizations like WNYC, New York’s local NPR affiliate, and Next City, a nonprofit news organization focused on building equitable cities,” said Hearst Health Senior Vice President, Head of Mergers and Acquisitions Barin Rovzar. “I chose to support Feeding America with my seed gift because of the tremendous food insecurity toll that this pandemic has brought upon so many families and communities. While I have given to local hunger-relief organizations in the past, I had not had a connection with Feeding America and was pleased to learn about its reach and track record. Using Hearst Gives Back was a reminder of the ways in which Hearst’s businesses and the company overall supports its communities near and far.”

Gigi Pena, senior creative producer at Hearst Magazines, donates to animal protection organizations and animal shelters. “I support a nonprofit organization called Farm Sanctuary, which promotes laws and policies that support animal welfare, animal protection and veganism through rescue, education and advocacy,” said Gigi. “I also help animal shelters in the tri-state area like Animal Haven. They find homes for abandoned cats and dogs. It’s very important for me and my family to support organizations that promote animal welfare.” Racial and environmental justice are other causes Gigi cares deeply about supporting, and she’s also given to organizations that are helping winter storm victims in Texas. “I’m just trying to find any way to assist in the middle of a pandemic.”

Kim Breidenbach, director of marketing and communications at Black Book, donated to Giving Kitchen, an Atlanta organization that provides emergency assistance for food service workers, such as financial support and community resources. “It was started by a woman whose husband was a chef in Atlanta and had stage 4 cancer,” explained Kim. “After he passed away, she started the charity to give back to the community who supported them during his illness. They also have a restaurant called Staplehouse. When the pandemic started, they stopped all their food service and converted to a soup kitchen for food service workers, providing free meals for people who were out of work entirely and for whom it’s almost impossible to get another job when restaurants are closed. For Giving Tuesday they had a benefactor doubling donations, so I used my Hearst seed money and donated there knowing that I would get two times the benefit. I thought that was pretty significant.”

For Hearst Associate General Counsel Ravi Sitwala, Bryan Stevenson’s In Conversation With virtual event with Hearst President and CEO Steve Swartz moved him to increase his support of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). “It’s always been an important cause, but it really couldn’t be more important today. I think the lack of equity throughout the country is a problem that we can’t focus on enough,” said Ravi. “I’d donated to EJI in the past, but I think that discussion highlighted the importance of what Bryan Stevenson is doing and that his organization can and does actually effect real change. What stuck out to me was his optimism in the face of such a daunting problem. EJI’s focus on both remembrance and reform is a practical approach to an enduring issue that may be easy to recognize but has proved difficult to address.”

“It means a lot that Hearst is not only willing to be charitable for the causes that the company itself chooses but also wants to support the employees and the groups that they choose,” said Ravi. “I think that agency is really important and I’m grateful for it. Year-round matching is especially nice because people want to donate in reaction to something that’s happening in the moment. The donations will hopefully spur people to take further action in support of causes that they feel strongly about.”

In addition to supporting individual causes, Hearst Gives Back provides an opportunity for colleagues to come together and increase their impact by rallying behind a specific organization.

“My wife and I are both avid readers and social justice advocates,” said Mike Simonton, a managing director at Fitch Ratings in Chicago. “We believe literacy and education are the great levelers in addressing social inequities. Burst Into Books is one of our passion organizations. The founder, Jurema Gorham, brings a tangible, positive energy to her work in serving youth and their families on the South Side of Chicago. A big thanks to our Fitch colleagues who raised around $9,000 for Burst Into Books during our year-end Fitch Community giving campaign. This money represents a major slice of the organization’s 2021 budget and accelerates Jurema and her team’s valuable work in our community.”

More than 150 employees at the San Francisco Chronicle directed their gifts to the Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund. The largest newspaper fund of its kind, Season of Sharing Fund focuses on preventing homelessness and hunger by helping families through crisis, including making rent payments and stocking food banks. “Many colleagues donated more on their own,” said Bill Nagel, Chronicle president and CEO and president of Season of Sharing Fund. “Hearst Gives Back was one reason why our new givers grew by 25%. More importantly, we had 86% of our Hearst Bay Area employees participate in Hearst Gives Back, donating funds to their favorite charities. We’re excited about what’s next for the program.”

Some Hearst colleagues supported organizations that they have deeper connections with through board membership, volunteering and personal experiences.

Henry Flynn, an associate director at Fitch Ratings, is on the junior board of Publicolor. He directed his gift to the organization, which adds color and vibrancy to New York City public schools through boldly painted hallways, recreational areas, cafeterias and classrooms. “I find Publicolor’s mission to be very important and successful at filling in the gaps in the public education system here in New York City, and I appreciate that they offer opportunities for volunteers to make an impact,” said Henry. “Volunteers can serve as mentors to students in their schoolwork and personal lives or take part in Publicolor’s signature volunteer program, Painting Day, where volunteers and students paint public schools with bright colors. I really appreciate the interactions with students, and even after painting many times, I still find myself asking for guidance from my painting buddy on how to apply the tape or use the paintbrush. It’s great to see the students take initiative and transform a space where they spend so much time. I’ve kept in touch with many students over the years and they all show a great appreciation for the Publicolor ‘family’ of students, staff and volunteers who make it all possible.”

The parent of special needs children, Hearst Chief Information Security Officer Michael Palmer directed his funds to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Shriners Hospital for Children. “I have a special place in my heart for parents who are struggling with taking care of children who are unwell or who have special needs,” said Michael. “No one wants to see children suffer, so it’s one of those things that I’m passionate about: organizations focused on research and development and trying to prevent these types of issues in the future. And the other thing about these organizations, specifically St. Jude, is that they don’t charge parents for care while children are there. Parents have a lot to deal with when a child is ill, so having an organization that really allows them to focus on their children versus the finances of how they’re going to pay for these things is always something that resonates with me.”

“I used the gift as an opportunity to give to an organization outside of those I normally support, and I chose the Gary Sinise Foundation,” said Diana Ellard, regional credit collection manager at Hearst Television. “Among other things, they work with wounded veterans and their families to help adapt their house; they sponsor a trip for children of fallen military heroes; and they hold local events for their families.” Diana, a veteran herself, is very involved in the veteran community where she lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, and has used past Hearst giving campaigns to support veteran-focused organizations. “I have directed United Way payroll donations toward two organizations that are closest to my heart. This year I picked Team Red White and Blue, which I’m involved in as part of the leadership team for the local chapter, and I also donated to Veterans Bridge Home, a local company that helps veterans in multiple ways, from transitioning from active duty to integrating into the community.”

Diana added, “I’m proud to work for a company that believes in helping out nonprofit organizations. I know the money is welcomed, especially now, since many are hurting and not able to have the fundraising events that they normally would due to COVID-19.”

Hearst colleagues can make a one-time or recurring donation to a cause that’s important to them, and Hearst will provide support with a dollar-for-dollar matching gift. Discover and explore 501(c)(3) organizations that make a difference in the lives of so many, from hunger relief to medical research to social justice and more. With always-on gift matching on Hearst Gives Back, Hearst colleagues’ goodwill now has an even greater impact. We thank everyone for their generosity.

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