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The Picture of Partnership: Groupon and Youth in Focus at Bite of Seattle

Posted in Groupon in the Community on July 19th, 2013 by | No comments.

By Greg Kester, Grassroots Staff Writer

Youth in Focus photo

Students from Youth in Focus, a Groupon Grassroots community partner, created a Love Local sculpture at Bite of Seattle.

Photography scholarships. New digital cameras. An 8’x7’ aluminum sculpture of a heart. The partnership between Groupon and the nonprofit Youth in Focus has certainly produced some interesting results for Seattle and especially its youth. And while these things are all quite different in nature, they have some things in common. Each has helped Youth in Focus accomplish its mission of empowering at-risk urban youth through the medium of photography—and each has helped Groupon accomplish its mission of spotlighting the best in local communities.

Groupon’s relationship with Youth in Focus began with two successful Groupon Grassroots campaigns, the first in May of 2012 and the second earlier this month. These campaigns provided the funding for cameras and scholarships, giving more of Seattle’s budding young artists access to Youth in Focus’s programming. But the aluminum heart represents a project of an entirely different sort.

Groupon's event team at Bite of Seattle.

Groupon’s event team at Bite of Seattle.

From July 19–21, Groupon will host the Bite of Seattle festival as a part of its Love Local initiative, which celebrates small-business owners’ contributions to the unique character and cultural personalities of their communities. Bite of Seattle will give local businesses and nonprofits the chance to display their creative projects in a public forum. So naturally, when Groupon decided to commission a sculpture for the event, its event organizers knew that Youth in Focus would be a natural fit. Thus, the idea for the giant heart took shape, representing the Love Local concept and an appreciation for local businesses’ impact on their communities.

To complement the sculpture’s immense stature, the surface of the piece—which has been crafted from aluminum by one of Youth in Focus’s adult mentors—will feature images and sketches from the organization’s student participants. Students will also be on-hand at Bite of Seattle to take pictures and talk about their experiences. And at the end of the sculpture’s run at Bite of Seattle, Youth in Focus hopes to move it to a more permanent home at Key Arena.

The sculpture will be an exclamation point on the work that Youth in Focus has accomplished through its partnership with Groupon Grassroots. During the organization’s first campaign, which ran in 2012, Grassroots readers raised $1,400, a sum that was matched by Youth in Focus’s board of directors. The campaign achieved its goal of helping local teens enroll in photography classes, but it also had another benefit: it helped Youth in Focus expand its presence on social media and reach out to donors who might never have been able to contribute.

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Students from Youth in Focus’s beginning digital photography class.

The final figures are still being tallied for the organization’s second Grassroots campaign, but thanks to donors—more than half of whom were first-time contributors—Youth in Focus will be able to fill a hole in its curriculum by offering intermediate digital photography classes. The new classes will bridge the gap between the existing beginner and advanced digital classes and should result in shorter scheduling delays as participants advance between levels. The new camera set, in conjunction with laptops donated by REI and software donated by Adobe, will help to ensure that students stay actively engaged with the program.

Screen shot 2011-05-31 at 5.55.13 PMAfter growing up in West Chester, Ohio, a suburban hamlet just north of Cincinnati, Greg Kester attended an extremely large state university in Columbus, where he promptly faded into obscurity. Thankfully, he was rescued from lifelong obsolescence upon moving to Chicago, getting hired as a staff writer at Groupon, and then learning how to ride a bicycle.

Groupon Employees Pitch In Across the Globe

Posted in Groupon in the Community on June 12th, 2013 by | No comments.

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Groupon UK employees learn about local nonprofits at the Employee Engagement Fair.

To celebrate Groupon Grassroots’ recent international launch in partnership with WWF in twenty-four countries, 10 Groupon offices are participating in special efforts to benefit the environment and their local communities through our Employee Volunteer Program. Here’s a sampling of what we’re doing:

Groupon France: Employees are challenging each other to reduce the use of printers. The team who prints the most paper will be publicly shamed by having to wear all green for a day.

Groupon Chile: Employees are bringing old electronics products, including CDs, batteries, and cell phones, into the office for recycling.

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Cinderella for a Day

Posted in Groupon in the Community on May 17th, 2013 by | No comments.

By Frances Cavazo, account representative

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Groupon’s Employee Volunteer Program recently partnered with The Glass Slipper Project, which gives away free prom dresses and accessories to high school juniors and seniors in the Chicagoland area. The Glass Slipper Project collects new and like-new formal dresses and accessories and provides them—free of charge—to students who are unable to purchase their own prom attire. (more…)

Live Below the Line

Posted in Groupon in the Community on May 9th, 2013 by | No comments.

By Danielle Solof, Merchant Strategy Product Lead

For five days, from April 29 through May 3, I Iived below the poverty line as a participant in the Live Below the Line international challenge. I was allowed to spend only $1.50 a day on food. My well-fed co-workers at Groupon were perplexed: Why would I subject myself to what sounded like torture? Well, because the international extreme poverty line is $1.50 a day, and because one in seven U.S. households and 1.4 billion people in the world live in extreme poverty—more than four times the U.S. population. I wanted to know what it’s like to live like so many in the world do while as well as raise money to help feed the hungry. (more…)

Playing Bingo with the Girls

Posted in Groupon in the Community on May 2nd, 2013 by | No comments.

By Sara Johnson, Account Manager

Deborah’s Place is an organization whose mission is to end the cycle of homelessness for women in Chicago.  As the largest board of housing for women only, it has three locations all equipped with learning centers and a wide variety of supportive services. On March 30th, a few Women @ Groupon volunteers and I visited the Lakeview location.  During our visit, we served and ate lunch with the residents followed by a bingo game. Prizes from the bingo game were donated by Groupon employees and our Goods department.

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Writing for a Visual Medium: Groupon Goods

Posted in Groupon in the Community on April 11th, 2013 by | No comments.

By Leah Nuetzel

Groupon’s editorial team recently partnered with 826CHI, a nonprofit organization based in Chicago dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, as part of an ongoing collaboration between writers at Groupon and 826CHI youth to celebrate the written word.

Groupon’s four-day spring-break camp, from March 25 through March 29, immersed kids in the daily-deal business through interactive experiences in humor writing and image design. Each morning began as normal corporate-world mornings do: with drinking coffee and prank-calling the boss’s mom. From there, students paired up with a professional and learned the ins and outs of working at the world’s largest cat-founded company. 

The following post is from Leah Nuetzel:

There’s nothing more rewarding and terrifying than realizing you’ve just trained a small army of middle schoolers to steal your job—and steal it they could. A month ago I signed up to lead a workshop on the process of writing and producing a Groupon Goods video; perhaps you’ve seen some of our team’s experimental content.

If you haven’t had the pleasure to work with the students of 826CHI, you should know that they are brilliant creative writers. Their imaginations are seemingly boundless and their energy is infectious. Armed with this background in creative writing and a staggering knowledge of pop culture, they are overqualified to write a Groupon Goods video. Still, I wanted to show the spring breakers a good time.

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Backyard Ziplines and Shaquille O’Neal: Hotel Amenities for the Next Generation

Posted in Groupon in the Community on April 8th, 2013 by | No comments.

By Shelby Kimbrough, Staff Writer

Funny travel 826 photoGroupon’s editorial team recently partnered with 826CHI, a nonprofit organization based in Chicago dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, as part of an ongoing collaboration between writers at Groupon and 826CHI youth to celebrate the written word.

Groupon’s four-day spring-break camp, from March 25 through March 29, immersed kids in the daily-deal business through interactive experiences in humor writing and image design. Each morning began as normal corporate-world mornings do: with drinking coffee and prank-calling the boss’s mom. From there, students paired up with a professional and learned the ins and outs of working at the world’s largest cat-founded company. 

The following post is from Shelby Kimbrough:

As a travel writer for Groupon Getaways, I spend a lot of time thinking about hotel amenities—the extra perks like WiFi, parking, and continental breakfast that hotels provide to guests for free to improve the quality of their stays. The term “kid-friendly” comes up a lot in amenities lists, usually in reference to indoor pools or nearby playgrounds. When I heard that a group of middle-school students from 826CHI would be spending the morning at my office learning how to “write like a travel writer,” I was ready. I was a pro who knew exactly what kids really wanted in a hotel. But I was wrong.

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Interviewing Merchants and Writing Profiles

Posted in Groupon in the Community on April 3rd, 2013 by | No comments.

By Christie Succop, Associate Editor

henryGroupon’s editorial team recently partnered with 826CHI, a nonprofit organization based in Chicago dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, as part of an ongoing collaboration between writers at Groupon and 826CHI youth to celebrate the written word.

Groupon’s four-day spring-break camp, from March 25 through March 29, immersed kids in the daily-deal business through interactive experiences in humor writing and image design. 

The following post is from Associate Editor Christie Succop:

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Recap the Red Pen: Learning to Write Like a 12-Year-Old

Posted in Groupon in the Community on March 28th, 2013 by | One comment.

Lisa with student

By Lisa Farver

Groupon’s editorial team recently partnered with 826CHI, a nonprofit organization based in Chicago dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, as part of an ongoing collaboration between writers at Groupon and 826CHI youth to celebrate the written word.

Groupon’s four-day spring-break camp, from March 25 through March 29, immersed kids in the daily-deal business through interactive experiences in humor writing and image design. Each morning began as normal corporate-world mornings do: with drinking coffee and prank-calling the boss’s mom. From there, students paired up with a professional and learned the ins and outs of working at the world’s largest cat-founded company. 

The following post is from Lisa Farver, who muses about why it’s important to learn how to write like a 12-year old.

When I was 8 years old, I penned my first novel, a heartwarming story about Frankenstein’s adolescent years. I illustrated it with crayon, stapled it, put Dewey Decimal coding on the spine, and then handed it to the librarian at my school, fully expecting to see it on the shelf next to Jumanji. Later that day, I saw what was sure to have been my magnum opus lying in the trash can, and I instantly deflated. My former pride became crippling self-consciousness in the face of my first rejection as a writer.

PRIDE@Groupon Speaker Series Welcomes Lee Hart of High Jump

Posted in Groupon in the Community on March 22nd, 2013 by | No comments.

by Lily Gedny

Pride at Groupon, an Employee Resource Group (ERG) for LGBT employees and allies, hosted its first speaker event on March 6, featuring guest speaker Lee Hart, executive director of nonprofit organization High Jump.

The night started off with a comedic welcome from Jeffrey Holden, senior vice president of Product Development and executive sponsor for PRIDE at Groupon. “I should have started my intro by saying, “thank you all for coming out tonight,’” said Holden.

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He then introduced the evening’s speaker Lee Hart. He shaped his introduction of Hart around a George Bernard Shaw quote that says, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world.  The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

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Unlocking Pro Bono Opportunities in the Workplace

Posted in Groupon in the Community on March 5th, 2013 by | One comment.

By Stacey Boeke, program director at Taproot Foundation in Chicago

IMG_7108Every year, professionals donate more than $15 billion in pro bono services in marketing, HR, IT, and strategy. This annual contribution of pro bono support is four times the amount donated by corporate foundations every year, yet nonprofits often don’t know how to access these services.

Taproot Foundation supports the pro bono movement on a national and local level by helping nonprofit organizations unlock pro bono services and connecting business professionals with structured volunteer opportunities.

At a recent event hosted at Groupon’s Chicago headquarters, Taproot Foundation gathered innovative corporate representatives based in Chicago from companies such as Golin HarrisCannon DesignChicago Ideas WeekEdelman, and Capital One to discuss common challenges encountered when developing and executing pro bono programs. The first of a quarterly series entitled “Get Inspired & Get to Work,” the conversation guided participants through the stages of a successful pro bono program: discovery, design, launch, and evaluation. The gathering also gave attendees opportunities to work in peer groups to explore possible challenges. By the end of the workshop, the participants gained many of the tools necessary to create strategies for pro bono programs and overcome the hurdles that can threaten success. (more…)

Social Innovation Talk With Stacy Ratner of Open Books

Posted in Groupon in the Community on February 26th, 2013 by | No comments.

“If you have the chance to do something that makes a difference in the world, that makes all the difference.” – Stacy Ratner

BIG 1Last week, Groupon’s Social Innovation Team partnered with our newest Employee Resource Group, Blacks in Groupon, to sponsor the first event in their series of talks, discussions, and workshops with social entrepreneurs. Stacy Ratner–the Founder and President of Open Books (she was also featured on the White House’s official blog)–visited Groupon headquarters to tell us more about her background, why she started Open Books, and what she has learned from leading a non-profit in a world dominated by big business.

Prior to founding Open Books, Stacy had a background in entrepreneurial business, launching three start-up companies with a combined $30 million in committed venture funding. After succeeding in this realm, Ratner decided to combine her entrepreneurial spirit with her passion for literature and desire to make a difference. Without the support of venture capitalists or any experience in applying for a grant, she decided to open a donation-based used book store and opened her first one three and a half years later. The bookstore, located just a few blocks from Groupon’s headquarters in Chicago, has 50,000 inventoried books. The money earned from book sales helps Open Books support literacy programs for children in Chicago because, according to Ratner, “the adults of tomorrow are the kids of today.” These programs served over 4,300 children in Chicago last year alone.

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