Stack Overflow Gives Back 2016

by Robert Cartaino

on

It’s hard to believe this has been a thing for eight years now. Every year since 2009, we’ve set aside this time of year to remember the people and the organizations who desperately need our help.

It started with Stack Overflow LLC when three employees and three sites decided to “give back” with some charitable donations and to remember the people and projects that helped us succeed. In the next year, we grew to twenty-four employees and 130+ moderators across 38 sites, so it seemed only fitting to get our Moderators more involved in the process. An invitation went out where we offered to make a $100 donation to a selected charity on behalf of each Moderator representing their community.

And a tradition was born.

Giving back… 8 years and running!

Wow, what a ride! Since 2009, we’ve grown into a top-30 online destination with 160+ communities serving 1.3 billion page views per month. So this year with your continued support, we are able to make the following donations to charity on behalf of the 509 moderators of Stack Exchange!

Charity Donation
Wikimedia Foundation
Dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual, educational content for the public free of charge. (wikimediafoundation.org)
$8,100.00
Girls Who Code
Working to close the expanding gender gap in technology and engineering, Girls Who Code provides unparalleled computer science education to equip girls with the computing skills needed to pursue 21st-century opportunities (girlswhocode.com)
$9,000.00
International Rescue Committee
Responding to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helping people to survive and rebuild their lives; at work in over 40 countries, more than 90% of every dollar goes directly to help refugees in desperate need (rescue.org)
$10,300.00
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Defending your rights in the digital world (eff.org)
$11,300.00
Doctors Without Borders
An international medical humanitarian organization created by doctors and journalists (doctorswithoutborders.org)
$12,200.00
TOTAL $50,900.00

And from our engineering and IT staff, it is important to remember some of the tools and organizations that make what we do possible:

Organization Donation
Git and the Software Freedom Conservancy $1,000.00
HAProxy $1,000.00
Creative Commons $1,000.00
Let’s Encrypt $1,000.00
SQLAlchemy $1,000.00

Even after eight years of “giving back”, this event continues to be my favorite at Stack Exchange. I wish I could share with you the rush that comes from watching the charity selections come racing back across my screen mere seconds after the invitations are sent. It is a sobering reminder of just how many people are out there on the other side of that keyboard while we quietly read our favorite posts. Think about it; right now there are 10s of thousands of people working tirelessly to help people they will probably never meet.

There’s a personal satisfaction that comes from helping someone who asks for help, but that satisfaction heightens to a genuine sense of purpose when you realize that you are creating something lasting — something that will continue to help people long after you’ve moved on.

In this upcoming year, it is good to remind ourselves that there are real people behind the help you find among these sites. Stack Exchange isn’t a piece of software, or even the work of the company behind it. It takes the collective efforts of a much larger community working together to make this all happen. It is the generosity of people like you who give so selflessly of their hard-earned knowledge to make this all possible.

So here’s to renewing that sense of purpose by doing something bigger than ourselves. And here’s to finding those small things that can make a big difference in someone else’s life, and leaving behind something lasting… for those who come after.

Cheers!