Volunteering at KMS: How did we measure up in 2018?

Let’s talk about resolutions. Now don’t worry–we are not here to discuss those dumbbells that have sat collecting dust ever since that really motivated workout on January 1st.

No, we want to talk about the rare beasts: the goals you stick to.

You may remember our blog post from a few months ago about our partnership with Pledge 1%– an organization that is shifting the way businesses think about corporate philanthropy.

So, what does this have to do with resolutions and goals? Well, KMS joined the Pledge 1% movement on January 4, 2016 with the goal to donate 1% of company time, profit, product, and equity to charity.

As a part of our pledge, we made a concentrated effort to weave giving back into the company culture, annual budget, and overall business plan.

We do have to admit a caveat. While we joined Pledge 1% in 2016, it wasn’t until 2018 that we successfully incorporated giving back into the company’s DNA. Now, we are not only making it easier than ever for our employees to make our community a better place, but we are also measuring our impact.


2018 has come and gone, and it is time to reflect and see how we measured up.

According to KMS President, Josh Lieberman, “2018 was a year when we demonstrated that [giving back] is becoming embedded within our culture.” And the numbers really back that up.  

In 2018, we exceeded our goal of donating employee time by over 22%! The US team alone engaged in over 550 service hours.

“KMSers have gone above and beyond the call of duty,” Employee Engagement Manager, Shekinah Henry said, “because it’s more than just a task to us. KMSers actually care, and it shows in our faces when we are given an opportunity to support a good cause.”

Throughout the year, team members participated in multiple company-led efforts, individual service projects, and even organized events for the entire KMS team.


Build websites with 48in48

In fact, one of the company’s most successful service projects, 48in48, was championed by a KMS team member, Mush Honda, VP of Testing Services.

As part of this 48-hour hackathon style event, KMSers worked around the clock–and around the globe–in an effort to help build websites for 48 local nonprofits.

KMSers from the United States and Vietnam lent their skills to the project. “We did something that was unique to that charity,” Lieberman said, “We made the delivery of it global. We incorporated our teams in Vietnam to help from a development and testing standpoint, so they could work overnight.”

And, we can’t wait to do it again! So much so that on the weekend before Atlanta hosts the Super Bowl, our team will be celebrating in true techie style…by building websites for local non-profits.  


Learn more at Per Scholas

The KMS team also works with the non-profit Per Scholas. Per Scholas offers education programs and career counseling to equip underemployed individuals with the skills and connections they need to break into the growing Atlanta tech industry. This training can truly transform someone’s career, and on average graduates see their income jump about 400%.

Lieberman, who serves on the Per Scholas board, helped charter the Atlanta chapter. Since this expansion, other KMSers have joined the cause by offering mentorship and performing mock interviews to get them job-ready.

Did you know one of our Kobiton (a product incubated in KMS’s UpStar Labs) team members, Jerome Wallace, is a Per Scholas grad?


KMS Vietnam Gives Back

Dedication to service does not stop on this side of the world. Through KMS Gives, our team in Vietnam regularly gives their time…and blood…to charitable causes.

The Vietnam offices host quarterly blood drives under the mantra “You Don’t Need to be a Superhero to Save Lives.”

Considering we recently held the 14th blood drive in December and each individual donation can save up to 3 lives, you cannot deny it…the Vietnam team really are superheroes.

In addition to regular blood drives, KMSers in Vietnam support IT education programs for students with disabilities through a partnership with DRD Vietnam. This organization really makes a big impact and we are proud to support their efforts in the disabled community.

But of course, we know there is always room for growth. In 2019, we are implementing a system to better quantify our Vietnam superheroes’ service hours.


Endeavor to donate profit

Ok, so you get it. KMS sure knows how to give time. But…do we put our money where our mouth is?

We would say so. KMS tripled its profit giving goal of 1%, by donating 3% of earnings to charity partners.

One such partner is Endeavor, an organization that pairs new entrepreneurs with seasoned mentors.

Through our CEO Vu Lam’s contribution of mentorship and KMS’s financial contribution, we support Endeavor’s efforts to help new entrepreneurs create successful businesses and in turn stimulate the economy by creating new and stable jobs.

In Vietnam, our team recently announced a long-term sponsorship of Passerelles numériques Vietnam. Through this partnership, we help provide facility funding, IT equipment, training, and internship opportunities to nearly 300 students from disadvantaged families.


Contribution of Product

If you could not already tell, at KMS we like to pay it forward. Being part of Pledge 1% has truly enhanced our company culture and challenged us to find new ways to be impactful members of the community.

What about UpStar Labs? At KMS, we incubate and launch our own very products. One such successful product, QASymphony (who merged with Tricentis), followed our example and took the pledge in 2018.

And we are continuing to grow even more. UpStar Labs is always in motion so look out for what we are cooking up.


Stepping up in 2019

What about KMS’s equity contributions?

Not to brag, but we are really proud of what we accomplished in 2018. But we have to admit…equity was one of those dusty dumbbells.

Our intentions were good, but 12 months sure does fly by and we did get our act together with our equity contribution goals. However, there is no need to fret! We are on it for 2019, such as making more pointed efforts to contribute 1% equity.

Just one month into 2019, we are well on our way to accomplishing those goals. Employees have already begun logging individual service hours and the next company-wide service project is on the books. Looking forward, we don’t see our momentum slowing down anytime soon. We suspect this commitment to service and giving back will only become embedded deeper into what it means to be part of the KMS Team.

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