In its latest issue, The Washingtonian set out to find “truly philanthropic companies in the region.” It compiled a list of 18 companies that stood out for their altruistic work, and Social Driver was among them.
Social Driver has received many accolades over the years, but for Social Driver CEO Thomas Sanchez this recognition is especially sweet.
“It is the hope and goal of Social Driver that our company and our team members are not only regarded for the amazing work this agency produces, but also for the issues and values that we support in our community,” Sanchez said.
The mantra at Social Driver remains a steadfast mentality throughout the company: At Social Driver we believe that the future is bright, all progress is social, and the drivers make history.
“Formalizing our commitment to the community was a major milestone for us and our company,” said Anthony Shop, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Social Driver. “We wanted to walk the walk and make investments in causes that reflect our values.”
In 2016, The Driver Foundation (formerly The Driver Fund) was created to provide financial support for nonprofits that the company and its employees believe will create that bright future. With a focus on improving the lives of young people, two of the principal beneficiaries of the Foundation are The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25, and LearnServe International, a D.C.-based nonprofit that equips high school students from diverse backgrounds with the entrepreneurial vision, tenacity, confidence, and leadership skills needed to tackle social challenges at home and abroad.
The Foundation also provides matching grants to causes that team members support through their own volunteer work and philanthropy.
Jake Reid is one such Social Driver team member who felt strongly about a cause and brought it to the attention of The Driver Foundation. “The Paradise Fire was one of the most destructive fires in American history. World Central Kitchen immediately recognized thousands of people would be homeless from the fire during Thanksgiving and set up a donation where money would directly go to ingredients for meals. I made a donation and to my surprise, our Driver Fund was able to also make a company contribution. This is important to me because the company values the things we value as individuals and helps us support our own missions we believe help make the future brighter,” he said.
This commitment to the community goes all the way back to when co-founders Sanchez and Shop first dreamed of owning their own business. “Our vision for impact goes beyond our bottom line,” Shop, who serves as Executive Director of The Driver Foundation, said. “We’ve offered pro bono workshops and trainings since the first month we were in business. Now, we can continue to volunteer our time and expertise in this way while also providing financial support. This is exactly why we founded a company,” he said.
Megan Cotten, a long time Social Driver team member who worked with the company as a client before joining the team as a co-worker, feels strongly about working for a company that gives back and makes a difference. "I love that Social Driver supports causes that are not only important to me, but also that are making such a huge impact in the D.C. area. I foster for DC PAWS Rescue, a non-profit that rescues homeless animals from high-kill animal control facilities. Every donation The Driver Foundation gives helps us save the lives of animals in need."
There are many ways in which the Social Driver team can give back to the community. The company has partnered with LearnServe to host group mentoring sessions that involve the entire company. While some of the organizations that Social Driver team members support directly relate back to their profession, such as teaching coding classes and serving on professional boards and committees, other team members contribute time and resources far outside the scope of their professional lives, such as fostering pets and mentoring youth.
Whether their cause is specific to their profession or a completely unrelated calling and whether the donation is one of money or one of time, the people at Social Driver are encouraged to look beyond the bottom line and volunteer their resources and talents for good.