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Philanthropy: How Groundswell is Reimagining Corporate Giving



Deanna Ritchie

Nearly every industry has undergone some type of transformation in recent years. Yet corporate philanthropy has remained remarkably unchanged. However, it’s finally getting a fresh, modern overhaul thanks to one innovative company.

Taking a Second Look at Traditional Corporate Philanthropy

For generations, corporate giving has operated under a very systematic process. Businesses interested in donating funds to non-profits would either write checks or, if they were large enough, start a company foundation. Unfortunately, both options present several challenges and obstacles.

In the first case, the business may not have a consistent approach to giving. Consequently, giving happens infrequently and isn’t made a priority.

Many companies wait until the end of the year to make their donations with the hope of getting a last-minute tax benefit. However, the benefits aren’t necessarily as significant as possible because the giving has undergone a stop-and-go pace throughout the year.

In the second case, companies that start foundations tend to take a more holistic, long-term view of giving. In that way, they’re more sophisticated when it comes to laying out a charitable giving roadmap.

Nevertheless, they can wind up spending a lot of time on the administrative and management aspects of their corporate philanthropy setups. This means they may have fewer dollars to contribute because so much goes into the expense of running the foundation.

Examining the Employee Role Within the Context of Traditional Corporate Giving

Where do employees fit into the picture?

Usually, they’re relegated to the role of sideline observers who have very little say or sway. Unless an employee has reached the C-suite, the employee is unlikely to be asked for opinions on non-profit suggestions. Having no voice means the employee is effectively shut out from all pertinent discussions involving giving.

Consequently, employees may or may not support the charities that receive donations from their employers. As a result, they’re effectively removed from what could be a morale-boosting, profoundly satisfying experience.

What’s the answer to streamlining corporate giving and empowering employees to participate in their employers’ philanthropic pursuits? According to Groundswell, the solution lies in reimagining Philanthropy-as-a-Service instead of as a product.

Revolutionizing the Corporate Philanthropic World Through Technology

The Groundswell response involves providing companies with a cloud-based platform that enables businesses to give money more efficiently to charities.

Groundswell’s philanthropy-as-a-service allows companies to set up “personal foundations” for all employees. These foundations can be funded from the company’s coffers or a mix of employee and company funds.

Employees can choose to manage their contributions from an intuitive Groundswell dashboard. In addition, employers can keep track of all funding through the same user-friendly portal. This creates a rare opportunity to attract and keep workers through a purpose-driven benefit.

In the words of one global chief human resource officer, “…the idea to simplify corporate giving to put it in employee’s hands, and potentially make it a benefits package offering for a company is extremely compelling.”

Groundswell founder and CEO Jake Woods agrees. He foresees Groundswell as an impetus for companies to turn philanthropic choices over to their workers.

Exploring the Advantages of Philanthropy-as-a-Service

Removing the cumbersome friction points related to traditional corporate philanthropy isn’t just efficient and practical. It’s also an avenue for businesses, teams, and the wider community to see both financial and social returns. Some of the key advantages of philanthropy-as-a-service include those listed below.

1. Employers can enhance their philanthropic initiatives.

Philanthropy matters to companies, their employees, their shareholders, and their customers. Brands can make more significant strides toward reaching their goals by putting corporate giving into their workers’ hands.

Plus, companies that opt to utilize Groundswell’s system have all their corporate philanthropy data in one location. The data can be retrieved at any time to construct reports showing how money is flowing toward social causes.

2. Employers can gain a better understanding of the charities employees love.

Companies may assume that they know the non-profits their employees prefer. But, unfortunately, many are in for a surprise. Often they’re only half correct — or perhaps they’re entirely off-track.

By democratizing the corporate giving process, employers can finally gain a more comprehensive understanding of their teams. These insights can prove invaluable, especially when trying to find and woo job candidates most likely to fit into the workplace culture.

3. Employees can get tax breaks they might have missed before.

Many people donate to non-profits throughout the year but don’t keep track of those donations. When tax time comes around, they may wind up missing the chance to get the tax breaks they’re entitled to because of a lack of documentation.

Groundswell presents employees with the ability to create end-of-year reports for tax purposes. With a complete track record of their charitable giving in one place, employees don’t have to look for lost receipts. Instead, they have everything they need to take applicable deductions.

4. Employers can establish a more purpose-driven culture.

Today, employees aren’t afraid to leave an employer if they feel disengaged. So one strategy to reduce churn is to build purpose in the workplace.

Permitting employees to make charitable contribution decisions shows them that they’re trusted. It essentially tells team members that “what matters to you matters to us as a company.” That’s a dynamic, positive message that could make an employee think twice before going anywhere else.

5. Employers can show the exact effect their teams are having on communities.

It’s one thing for a company to say that it’s given “x” dollars toward a few charities. It’s quite another to be able to show how broadly its contributions have gone to make the world a better place.

For instance, an employer might want to create year-long branding campaigns focused on each charity its employees earmarked. After all, the data would be instantly accessible through the Groundswell platform.

With the world watching corporations more closely than ever, this type of outreach could help a company illustrate its social or political commitments.

Never before have companies had the ability to change their philanthropic endeavors. However, with the philanthropy-as-a-service model, employers have the freedom to hand over more responsibility to their team members.

Groundswell isn’t just a way to equalize the practice of giving. It’s genuinely groundbreaking from every perspective.

Image Credit: GivingTuesday; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.


Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending



Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play

London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs



Deanna Ritchie

As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations



Deanna Ritchie

As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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