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A Sustainable Design Blog

Our Charitable Donations 2015

by Jennifer Stewart | May 28, 2015 | Studio News

We like to do good. Not in the poor grammar sense of the word, but in the dictionary-definition ethical sense. However, one person’s idea of good may be another’s definition of evil, so in deciding where to put a portion of our annual profits, we aim for those organizations that have a positive impact on the structure of sustainability: Economics, the Environment, and Ethics.

It’s not easy to choose as there are so many incredible causes and organizations in the world. To narrow it down, we focused on those charities whose activities are really needed in our region and whose impact will have a positive effect for generations to come.

Economic Contribution

Girls Who Code

This charity runs programs and clubs dedicated to giving high schools girls the opportunity to learn coding skills. This fundamental knowledge sets them up to enter into careers in computer science, engineering, mathematics and design.

The computer specialist career field is expected to grow exponentially, but the big problem this industry is facing is that it’s a dude fest. If you walked into a freshman computer science classroom today, it would seem that the solution is already here because the classrooms are usually filled with women. The trouble usually comes after the first or second year when those who did not have experience in coding before getting to college start to drop out. Blame this on the stereotypes that make us believe science kits are for boys and dolls are for girls. Because of this boys usually find their way into computers whereas girls don’t as often stumble into coding as a hobby.

Girls Who Code has set a goal of teaching 1.15 million girls how to code while they are in high school, giving them the early exposure needed to keep up in those computer science and engineering courses. Even if many of the girls they reach don’t become the female version of Steve Wozniak, they will get the invaluable experience of learning to do something they never thought they could do.


Environmental Contribution

Climate Solutions

This charity is all about getting our region off of fossil fuels. They work to lobby the government and shape policies for clean energy as well as invest in innovation.

When trying to determine where to invest a portion of our profits, I consulted the Copenhagen Consensus Center, which is a group of economists focused on determining which causes can have the greatest positive impact on the world’s problems. Investing in clean energy to kill our reliance on fossil fuels was in their top five. Why? Fossil Fuels are the number one contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, so if we can get rid of them, we might be able to live on this planet a while longer.

One of the comments from the CCC, though, was that innovating our way out of fossil fuels was a problem that governments should handle because they can create environmentally beneficial policies and invest massive funds into research. Modern Species may not be in government, but by backing Climate Solutions we can make sure someone is out there pushing politicians to save our collective butts.


Ethical Contribution

Refugee Federation Service Center

This charity helps 2,500 refugees a year adjust to their new life in Seattle by helping them find housing, employment, social services, and even apply for citizenship.

Imagine what it must be like to witness unspeakable tragedy – war, poverty, violence, the loss of everything you’ve ever had, your safety and security – then to be plunked down in the middle of a foreign country, safe, but traumatized. Then imagine having to go to the DMV. Many of us would think it was a small step up from a war zone.

Seattle is home to refugees from countries around the world like Georgia, Laos and Somalia. These refugees have already been through hell and while they are no longer is the dangerous situation they left, they face a new danger of finding themselves homeless because of what we often see as the mundane hassles in life – finding an apartment, getting references for a new job, applying for a bank account, getting an ID, finding a doctor. These can be monumental challenges for them. When these refugees become homeless they take a toll on our city, but with the help they get from RFSC, they can not only get help for these difficult but doable tasks, they can also become contributing members to our city culture and raise mentally and physically healthy children with the ability to contribute even more.

Jennifer Stewart is the Office Manager and wanna-be organizational psychologist at Modern Species. For more posts from her, click here.

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If building a disruptive, dynamic brand is not in your plans, neither is profit.- Laura Busche