The following is a conversation between Amy White, Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Adobe, and Denver Frederick, the Host of The Business of Giving.

Amy White is their Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), where she leads corporate philanthropy, employee community engagement, environmental sustainability, and technology for good initiatives across the enterprise. And she’s with us now. Welcome to The Business of Giving, Amy.

Amy White, Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Adobe

Amy: Thanks so much, Denver. Appreciate the invitation. Excited to chat with you today.

Denver: Likewise. Tell me a little bit about your background… and you’ve worked on both the corporate side and the nonprofit side, and how those experiences have informed the way you lead philanthropy and social impact at Adobe.

Amy: Absolutely. I appreciate that. I think my mix of experience has always been focused on community relations and societal impact. And so, I’ve had a really interesting mix of experience in private philanthropy, community philanthropy, nonprofit fundraising and policy work, and now in the corporate setting.

So, I think, what I think about that mix that really brings to my role and to the sector is that I have raised money and I’ve given away money, and I’ve talked about what the impact of dollars and volunteer hours and really meaningful corporate investment can mean.

And so, here at Adobe, we’ve had a great opportunity over the last few years to pivot our strategy to really dig in on impact measurement and talk about how we’re going to differentiate our brand in terms of those investments and how we make unique investments.

But then also thinking about going back into the shoes of what it’s like to be a fundraiser, try to make that really seamless. So, not without a little bit of paperwork, but how do we enable nonprofits through our product, our people, and our philanthropy to really go do the great work that they’re doing.

Denver: Yeah. Nice to bring a little empathy to the job when you’ve been on the other side of the desk. So, Amy, is there an approach or an overarching philosophy that Adobe has towards corporate philanthropy and nonprofit collaboration?

Amy: Yeah, absolutely. And I would say at the core of it is Adobe’s community commitment is in our DNA. We just celebrated our 40th anniversary last year, and we’ve always been about building a company that does the right thing by focusing on people, purpose and community.

And so, disconnecting ourselves from each of the markets where we have employees and we have programs is just not who we are. We want to stay close. And so, our approach is really about: One, How do we differentiate with our investments and our programs and products? So, what is the unique good that Adobe can do in the world?

Two, How do we leverage our product because our product is our most valuable asset to do good? So, that’s that technology to transform that you mentioned in the opening. We think our products are the most powerful and exciting in the world. How do we give them, the nonprofits, to enable them to do good while also complimenting that with employee-matching gifts, with employee programs, with volunteerism, and then of course grant-making and philanthropy.

And then, finally, I think we are really, really committed from CEO Shantanu Narayen, all the way through the organization to making sure that we understand that our purpose is a part of who we are.

And so, leading with that, when we’re in sales meetings, when we’re talking with employees, when we’re thinking about leadership development, it’s: How are we also giving back or doing good in the markets that we have? How do we work with our customers? How do we work with our employees? How do we work with the larger community that we’re participating in to, in many ways, leave it better than we found it?

Denver: Yeah, yeah. Well-stated. You also bring, I think, to the enterprise a mindset of optimism and hope. How does that drive change, Amy?

Amy: Sure. I often joke that hope is not a strategy, but it’s sure an important ingredient. And so, I think that for years, CSR programs were sort of nice to have. But I think, increasingly, with talent recruitment, with employee retention, and frankly with enterprise customers and individual customers, they’re looking to be inspired.

We all need to feel like we are a part of something bigger. There is a lot of things that are challenging in our own backyard as well as globally. And so, when you can find a brand or a partner or an employer that really is thinking about: How do we make pieces of that puzzle better?  How do we leave it better than we found it?  I think, is really inspiring.

And I think also, one of the unique things at Adobe is we’re really committed to sharing what that means. So, it’s not just we gave a hundred million dollars, but we gave X dollars to increase Y; it’s that we want to make sure that you understand as a mindful watcher or customer or an employee that the million dollars went to this organization, and because of that, these students graduated from college, or there is food on the table of these families in our San Jose community.

So, we really try to tie it to the outcome measurement that makes you feel like you’re a part of something bigger.

“Adobe believes in doing the right thing, but not because everybody else is telling us that that’s what needs to be done. It’s not just what you do; it’s how you do it.”

Denver: Yeah, sometimes we assume that people will get that on their own, but they have so many things coming across their desks, they don’t; so it’s a great service to give them the why.

Well, let’s talk a little bit about sustainability and, my goodness, that’s a pretty big charge, sustainability. How do you focus your efforts at Adobe around sustainability? And I’d also like to get your take, Amy, on some of this backlash that we have witnessed around ESG over the last six months or year.

Amy: Absolutely. And it is true. Adobe has a long history, not unlike our corporate plant *, sustainability has been a part of our work for over two decades– thinking about how we manage our own emissions, how we think about the development of our office sites in a way that takes into mind our commitment to sustainability in our policy, in our people, and in our products.

So, I think, you know, we were at the forefront of that before it was necessarily on the news headlines every day, which I think gives us a really solid grounding. We focus in those three areas, and I would say we have really strong commitment around climate action. And so, we have aggressive goals. I’m sure Craig has shared those with you.

But aggressive goals in our own reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and then also working across our supplier landscape to support and move suppliers forward on their own climate journey because of course, it’s the most critical sustainability conversation globally that we can be a part of.

And then, on the other P, which is product, is again, as I mentioned, we think our products are our greatest differentiator. It’s how we can leave the largest good footprint, if you will. And two good examples of that is our work with our document sign products in Acrobat.

And so, very similar to other folks you’ve heard is if we can reduce paper in your workflows by digital workflows, we see a reduction in the need for paper, but also in greenhouse gas emissions. And then, similarly, we have another product that we’ve been really working with a number of brands, talking about particularly in the manufacturing space around; it’s called Substance 3D.

And so, the idea that no longer do you have to be physically present, maybe that’s for a photo shoot or in the design of a product. If we can enable you to design that work digitally and share it and collaborate with others digitally, we can take out some of the need to ship things around the globe, to fly people around market to market, and to sort of curate a huge carbon footprint because of this one product. So that we’re really discerning when we actually have to be together and in person, what can be enabled digitally.

So, a really critical part of how we think about it. And, I think, on the ESG landscape and the backlash, I would say, for Adobe, we didn’t get into this because of the pressure that was happening. We got into it. And as I mentioned, you know, at the top is that Adobe believes in doing the right thing, but not because everybody else is telling us that that’s what needs to be done. It’s not just what you do; it’s how you do it.

And so, we committed to sustainability long before it was in the headlines and we’ll continue to be that. We’re committed to our targets and to our partnerships and to believing that this is in fact one of the largest global crises we face right now from a climate perspective, and that we each need to do our part… so we’ll maintain that.

And I think that, you know, the ESG backlash conversation is one that is uniquely US-centric. And that has a lot of influence… don’t get me wrong, but I think as we travel around the globe, my team, and we’re talking with leaders of large enterprise customers in other markets, they’re actually more aggressive than ever before.

Whether that be in India or in parts of EMEA, we have companies who are pushing us to go harder and faster on our climate targets. And so, I think, that’s what we’re going to see for a while, that in the US there’s a little bit of back and forth on the political landscape, but companies have made their commitment and already decided that this is where they’re headed. And then globally, we’ll see additional pressure, both in the policy and customer front to do more, to be a part of things, to push each other to do better.

Denver: Yeah, whatever the backlash is, you know it’s only going to last for a while because the trajectory in terms of where the future is going has already been set. So, there’s, you know, a ripple here and a ripple there.

Amy: Yeah.

Denver: But you’ll be down that road in 5 or 10 years, and nobody will even remember it. You know, you talked a little bit about your vendors and your suppliers and your customers.

You know, for those who are interested in trying to really engage them the way you have, what’s some of the advice that you would give in terms of trying to get them involved in a really intentional and constructive way, to really have an exponential impact on the sustainability objectives that you have.

Amy: So, my reaction to that is that I think climate action and supplier diversity are actually two similar motions that I think all sorts of companies are facing. It’s: How do we set meaningful targets on each of these things, knowing that we’re attempting to diversify our supplier network, or we’re attempting to either set or renew climate action goals?

And, I think, what’s interesting about them that I like from sort of a systems approach is that there’s a strong awareness that none of us can do this without one another, is that I need to talk to our suppliers as well as I am a supplier to many, right? This global supply chain, where technology is enabling it, is a web.

And the only way we’re going to get to the finish line is if I have to help people who are new to the journey get on board and help them think about what’s that first step. What’s the first renewable energy target, versus what’s the big, you know, climate pledge of it all as people who are a little further along that journey?

And, I think that recognition of the necessity of collaboration is something that we have the good fortune in the CSR sustainability space to do, is that we don’t worry as much about: are we competitors over here? Doesn’t matter, because I rely on your technology to move my business forward, and you need me. And so, how do we work together?

And so, that’s why you see, in some of our goals, we have a commitment around our supplier network to make sure that they have climate targets and that we are working together in collaboration, and also that we’re going and sharing our best practices.

So, you may have seen that we had a goal around our renewable energy target to be a hundred percent renewable energy by 2035, and we started to realize that other folks didn’t know how to do that. And so, as we’ve been able to quicken our pace and actually pull that goal forward an entire decade, our job is to actually share that network.

So, how did you go purchase? What’s the infrastructure and policy that you needed to start to purchase that renewable energy into the system?… and then sharing that. So, I think, we set at a really unique intersection where our obligation is collaboration to make sure that these targets are hit.

Denver: You find a lot of that in the CSR space, and I can say that perhaps from the nonprofit philanthropic world, we probably do not go about sharing best practices to the extent that we should.

Amy: It’s a good reflection. I had the good fortune of talking about our hometown strategy with some of our grantees at a conference last week, and I think the general sense around the room was the NGO network actually was collaborating less than the corporate network.

Denver: Yeah.

Amy: And so, I do think there’s some distance to go on the nonprofit side, but I think when we all have to benchmark; we all know who our competitors are from a business perspective, but those are also some of my closest colleagues and friends because there’s no good that comes from me holding a best practice in the CSR space. If I think I have an unlock on employee matching gifts, sharing that is really important.

So, there’s some great organizations that you, of course, know and have interviewed and spoken with who sit at that intersection of driving collaboration across the landscape. So, I think, on the corporate side, we’re getting better. What is the opportunity ahead, in my opinion, is: How do we actually align to some shared outcomes, right?

It’s good to share how we’re doing it and what results we’re getting, but what would be the power of working together towards a shared goal, I think, is the evolution of this corporate CSR space.

Denver: You see that coming anytime soon?

Amy: Occasionally, I think it’s more market by market.

Denver: Yeah.

Amy: I think it’s easier to geographically tie something together and say, “Oh, I mean, in San Jose, we have Google, we have Zoom, we have Salesforce, we have Adobe.” So, kind of thinking about what is the unique way that the technology sector can support a single community is an emerging conversation.

And then those shared KPIs come from that; I just think it’s hard. It’s hard because we all have business leaders who want to see outcomes. We want to differentiate. So, I think, we’re getting there. And I do think sustainability and human rights work is a place where the regulatory environment has forced some of that alignment which, in my opinion, is really helpful.

But, as you know, the philanthropic space doesn’t have that regulatory expectation around what good looks like. And so, there’s still a lot of ideas.

“…we believe that everybody’s better off when everybody has the opportunity to participate, is included and respected.”

“We think that creativity is the greatest enabler, and that it unites us, it inspires us, and it also is the skill and the opportunity of the next set of workforce readiness. Creativity is the new productivity is something we like to say.”

Denver: Yeah, that’s right. Well, I think, the philanthropic space doesn’t have the market forces that the business space has and a whole range of different things, you know, which allows it to sort of sail along the way it always has. I think that really was reflected in mergers and acquisitions. I always thought when 2008 and 2009 came, and then with COVID, there would be a lot of consolidation. There really wasn’t that much consolidation because that’s just the way the sector is.

Speaking of, you know, not having a shortage of issues, let’s talk about policy and advocacy. How do you focus on what you’re going to become engaged with?

Amy: Yeah, absolutely. So, I think, what’s important for us to go back to, which many companies do, is what is unique to what you can offer the world, right?

And so, we have organized in our history, we’ve been focused on this effort to figure out: What can we differentiate on? How do we ground what we’re best at in our business?  How do we put employees at the heart of our strategy? And so, more recently, where that has emerged is in our three pillars.

So, Adobe for All, Creativity for All, and Technology to Transform. So, Adobe for All is about, you know, it encapsulates our commitment to creating a workplace and a community that reflects the world. And so, we believe that everybody’s better off when everybody has the opportunity to participate, is included and respected.

That comes across in a lot of different ways from our HBCU investments in the states, to some of our work across the globe to invite folks who historically haven’t been in the conversation to be a part of it.

Creativity for All is, of course, a pillar. If you know Adobe, you know that that’s the thing we’re most proud of. We think that creativity is the greatest enabler, and that it unites us, it inspires us, and it also is the skill and the opportunity of the next set of workforce readiness. Creativity is the new productivity is something we like to say.

And then, our third pillar is that Technology to Transform, bringing transformative technologies into the world to do good is something, that as a tech company that creates products, we are committed to and think that it is the most power we have to offer.

So, when we think about policy and advocacy work, we have grantees and partners that sit across those three pillars. So, as I mentioned, it could be HBCUs or it could be an organization like EJI and Adobe for All. And so, our policy team and our advocacy work and where we position ourselves both in big-P as well as small-P policy positions is aligned with these three pillars and those partners.

So, our policy team, for example, might work with EJI to understand their policy landscape and what they’re focused on so that we can find those intersections. And we’ve seen a great deal of success with that in the US, particularly around our HBCU and HSI work where we are committed to students. We’re committed to HBCUs, but there’s a policy conversation around funding or student success that’s happening at the state or Federal level.

So, we’ll engage in those marketplaces to make sure that our position is well- known, that decision makers and lawmakers understand our commitment and investment in this space, and also that we can have some shared success in building capacity of those, in this case, universities to go after policy issues to make change.

So, across those three areas, we try to find the unique place where, okay, there’s a business alignment, and there’s a nonprofit or a community alignment on the policy that we’re supporting, so that we can go and have a joint conversation, as opposed to we can’t do everything, and we can’t be everything, so how do we be really laser-focused on where we can make an impact with our voice.

Denver: And for listeners who might not be familiar, just tell us what HBCUs are.

Amy: Oh yeah, Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

“…we don’t do things for the sake of doing them. We do things that are authentic and where we can drive impact.”

“…a key piece of that puzzle, that it wasn’t a moment of crisis. We provided general operating support, and we have a trust-based philanthropy approach– that we believe that those organizations know better how to spend their time, talent, and treasure on moving their issues forward. And it’s our job to support the ecosystem and enable that.”

Denver: And speaking up with your diversity, equity, and inclusion, you have two specific initiatives there. One is the Taking Action Initiative and the Adobe Equity and Advancement Initiative. Tell us a little bit about each of those.

Amy: Absolutely. So, the Take Action Initiative or TAI was born through, as many companies, in June of 2020, the world was in a very difficult place. And, I think, in particular, in the United States, there was a lot of internal reflection within companies and employee groups to say like, “What are we going to do? Like, what is the meaningful action that we want to contribute to this conversation about equity, inclusion, and racial diversity?”

And what I love, and this was before my time, but I remain inspired by it, is that TAI is built on the idea of a core tenet of Adobe, is that we don’t do things for the sake of doing them. We do things that are authentic and where we can drive impact.

So, TAI was an internal conversation first about how do we drive authentic change for our employees, and how do we break down the silos of the business and say we’re all committed to diversity, inclusion, and equity, and stand up these essentially working group teams across the enterprise to drive progress forward.

So, some of that is in talent acquisition; some of it is in retention; some of it is in policy change of our own internal policies. And then increasingly, which takes me to the Equity and Advancement Initiative, is some of it is the ecosystem that we are a part of.

And so, this is where it speaks to my heart and soul– Rather than make emergency or reactionary grants in a moment of crisis, particularly, when it’s something around social justice and racism, how do we proactively support the ecosystem of organizations that have been doing this work for decades and decades?

So, the Equity and Advancement Initiative is really our big ecosystem commitment where we’ve invested nearly $30 million at this point in leading organizations who are at the forefront of making change. They are the practitioners and best practice folks who are talking about policy change as it relates to the LGBT community.

They’re thinking about the place for women and girls in the policy conversation in India and other parts of the world. They’re advocating for criminal justice reform. So, all of these organizations are best in class. And so, we said, wouldn’t it be interesting if we supported the best in class with general operating support?

And, I think, that that is a key piece of that puzzle, that it wasn’t a moment of crisis. We provided general operating support and we have a trust-based philanthropy approach– that we believe that those organizations know better how to spend their time, talent, and treasure on moving their issues forward. And it’s our job to support the ecosystem and enable that.

Denver: Yeah.

Amy: So, it comes with money, but it also comes with support from our policy team, support from our employee resource groups, support from the company and the Adobe Foundation as a whole to push their progress forward, to amplify the impact they’re already having in the world, and to propel them into that landscape.

So, the TAI work started as an internal conversation and has evolved both into our HBCU and HSI, which is Hispanic-serving institution strategy in the US, and then into this global conversation around equity and advancement and ecosystem support.

Denver: Yeah. No, I love that. You know, sometimes these organizations are the best in class and doing the best work. The only thing that they lack is they don’t have the best marketing, and sometimes they get overlooked. And, you know, I did have one funder on the show, backing up your point, say, “If I know what to do better with the money than the organization I’m giving it to, maybe I shouldn’t be giving it to them in the first place.” So, there’s a little bit of arrogance to think that we know better than they do.

You know, you talked about employees and employee engagement, and I know how their commitment is so integral to your social responsibility and sustainability initiatives. I’d be curious as to whether you’ve observed a difference in the different generations, you know, from the Baby Boomers all the way down to the Gen Zs in terms of the way they want to get engaged, and maybe the way that you approach them and talk to them about their engagement in these initiatives.

Amy: Absolutely. I think that our opportunity and something that me and my team are focused on is equipping and enabling employees across generations and across geographies to participate.

And I think we take a very wide funnel approach to what participation looks like because we also believe that you and I are in different seasons in our life. I have two very young children. And so, most of my time ends up from a volunteer perspective, and sometimes even from a giving perspective, related to issues that are really important to them right there. So, their schools, their soccer leagues, whatever it might be.

And you’re at a different season where perhaps you’re giving back to an alumni association, or you’re engaging as a volunteer in your local community. And I think COVID also taught us that not only was it about the seasons, but also: How do we use technology to enable it? How do we help people participate via technology because they are either in different geographies or we weren’t able to leave?

And so, what did that mean? So, our job is really about: How do we enable employees to give back?  And we have the fortune at Adobe, as I mentioned, from our CEO on down to enable, empower and support our employees to drive that impact.

So, we have the most support to say we, as a company, stand for this. Go out and do it. You choose your thing, and it’s why our matching gift… we think about our giving in a pyramid. Our matching gift program is astronomical in terms of its engagement– to have over 70% of employees participating in our programs; and giving time and money to causes they care about is really a powerful message from our leadership that they have enabled that.

From the generational standpoint, to bring it back to the question, I think, it’s our job to figure out what’s the best way to offer you opportunities. So, we think about things as: What’s the bite-size opportunity you can do at lunch or from your computer when you’re working from home?  And then: What are the longer-term, maybe board-service opportunities where you’re looking for a long-term commitment that’s based on leadership development, where you’re giving back, but you’re also learning skills?

We think about it across that continuum and then target employees in those different seasons and generations to offer up what we think is the right thing to do. And then we try it again when we don’t get it right or when they move to another season, right? At some point, my kids won’t be 3 and 6, and I’ll have different time. And so, being ready for those folks that are crossing to a different season is also a part of our thinking.

Denver: Yeah, that’s really well-thought out. Let me ask you about one of your other initiatives, The Readability Consortium, which you did with a partnership with Google. Tell us a little bit about its aim and how you hope to revolutionize the digital reading experience.

Amy: So, just to go back to what I shared before, we think our products are our greatest differentiator and they are the thing. If we can figure out how to leverage the thing we do best, which is to create incredible products that enable creativity, enable the economy… if we can turn those into things or you leverage those tools for good, that’s, you know, the sweet spot of how Adobe can make impact.

So, Technology to Transform is based on that idea. Innovation that includes certainly the bottom line of the business and what our enterprise and individual customers need while also doing good is how we think about that. And so, readability sits at that intersection. It was born out of the idea that not everybody reads the same way.

And that also, reading comprehension, sometimes for folks who have different abilities, but also just for everyone, is different.

Denver: Yeah.

Amy: And so, well, I’m a glasses-wearer, I don’t know if you are, but not unlike your prescription for your glasses is that not everybody can do things exactly the same way, and we need a tailored approach for people to do it better and faster.

And what I love about readability is that, yes, it really supports readers, where reading acquisition and some of the struggles that maybe students have had, if they have different or divergent learning capabilities, it helps them.

But it also helps you and I who are reading briefing documents if we have the right prescription, and we can do that faster or retain more information in a way that we’re able to execute against it in a more meaningful way. That is the sweet spot of that. And also, about the consortium is that this is sort of our belief, yes, we have one piece of unlock in this puzzle around liquid mode and our role to play, but we’re not the experts at reading.

And so, bringing in the folks that are good at reading, bringing in the folks who are thinking about divergent learners, and then also thinking about the business capability and opportunity that exists there is that consortium and collaboration is going to make both the product better, but the experience for the users in each of those different pockets really, really sing.

Denver: Yeah, that’s incredibly exciting. It really is. It’s a big challenge we face in this country. And I think a lot of people are holding out a considerable hope that this may be a way to address that challenge.

You know, you just mentioned a moment ago Liquid Mode. What exactly is that, Amy?

Amy: Yeah. Liquid Mode is a feature in Acrobat Reader, our free PDF viewer. It enables digital reading on mobile devices. Liquid Mode is powered by AI technology to reformat PDFs. And so, it helps the reader to adjust the font size and the spacing and sort of that idea of your individual prescription for reading. And so, Liquid Mode enables that.

And then, once you know how you are best equipped to read, what your prescription is, you can set that across your devices so that anything you read is sort of unique to you and enables many folks to read faster, to have higher comprehension, and then, as I mentioned, supports folks who have maybe different learning abilities to really figure out how to unlock some of the things that have been most challenging for them, whether that’s dyslexia or just neuro divergency, to really equip them to find the right prescription for them.

Denver: Wow, who knew? Certainly not me.

Amy: We have a lot of hidden gems like that, Denver. So, happy to talk more anytime.

“I think it will always be that hybrid. Giving back to your community, we believe, it’s a part of who Adobe is. And that place-based strategy, that hometown, and we have a lot of hometowns, is something that’s really critical. How do we enable you to participate in your own backyard, while also connecting you to a global conversation about how we can leave it better than we found it?”

Denver: Finally, Amy, how do you see the intersection of technology and social impact evolving here in the years to come, and what role will Adobe play in that evolution?

Amy: Ooh, that’s a big one, Denver. I think when it comes to where we’re headed, of course, as both a tech company and a company that believes the power of technology can enable creativity, productivity, and community success, I think we’re committed to one, going… continuing to go after that, to finding that triple bottom line where our people and our product and our community are all better off by the business that we run.

I think, also a core tenet of how Adobe has approached its technology work is from an ethical place where we know that there are concerns about the landscape of technology, and we want both our customers, as well as the broader technological consumer base, to feel like the tools that they use in technology are safe.

And that they can move through the world and be creative and work in systems together, leveraging our technology, and feel comfortable about their privacy and that our values of ethical technology are something that they can trust.

And then I think that technology is, of course, the greatest enabler that we’ve seen in this lifetime.  I think we continue to have to think about how collaboration, both with our tools and our people who are inventing new products and how the world is going to work together, that we started our conversation with that as thinking…as employees or other folks are thinking about how they give, how do we enable that with technology? How do we bring technology into the conversation where it’s not a means to the end, but it is the enabler of how people participate?

I think increasingly, we also know that folks want to participate in person, but that doesn’t mean that technology doesn’t have a role to play in matching them with the causes and issues they care most about by enabling them to be able to connect with people around the globe for learning and education as well as leadership and volunteer opportunities.

And so, I think it will always be that hybrid. Giving back to your community, we believe, it’s a part of who Adobe is. And that place-based strategy, that hometown, and we have a lot of hometowns, is something that’s really critical. How do we enable you to participate in your own backyard while also connecting you to a global conversation about how we can leave it better than we found it?

And so, I think, technology has a huge role to play there in the infrastructure of how we do it, but also in the storytelling and creative expression of it.

Denver: Yeah. Well, there were some wonderful values embedded in your DNA at your founding back in 1982, and whether it be ESG as we talked about, or Adobe’s AI ethics principles, you’re not just reacting to current events; those values have been there really from the outset, and you’re updating as the world changes.

Amy, you mentioned hometown just a moment ago and the fact that you had a lot of hometowns. Tell us a little bit about what you do for these hometowns.

Amy: Absolutely. So, one of the unique investments we’ve made in the last year or so is to really think about: we do have a lot of hometowns. We have employees that are in over 25 unique offices and markets around the globe, and each of those folks thinks about where they live as it’s Adobe’s hometown, and they want to see their company and that brand show up in the community, in giving back and supporting that. So, we have a number of ways we enable that across the globe.

One of the most exciting opportunities we announced earlier this year with the opening of our new San Jose Tower was our hometown commitment in San Jose where, of course, Adobe has been headquartered in San Jose for over 30 years. And so, really thinking strategically about how does Adobe support the civic infrastructure of this city.

And so, we took an approach that was, you know, based on interviews with local leaders and nonprofit organizations and employees of Adobe to say, Where could we drive meaningful change? Where can we differentiate? And so, the hypothesis here is that emerging from COVID, downtowns across the world, but across the US in particular, are really struggling.

And so, we decided to make strategic investments in downtown revitalization because our headquarters is in the heart of downtown San Jose. So, we have eight grantees coming out of that portfolio for $2 million.

And what we’re doing there is half of the grantees are focused on social service delivery, so food security; housing, things that are helping the folks who are most dramatically impacted by homelessness and insecurity that was only heightened by COVID– giving those folks general operating support grants to be able to go do what they are best at, while concurrently acknowledging that we are a creative company and that downtown San Jose has this vibrant arts community, but also they are suffering.

Because as fewer people are moving around downtown, and employees haven’t quite come back to the office at the rate that we’re all hoping for in the near future… is giving them an infusion of cash to think about how they can program and activate downtowns because we think downtowns and civic spaces are better off when people are in them.

And so, our approach is really: How do we give these unique sort of strategic grants? And then we combine it with the full force of Adobe. So, we have an individual relationship manager focused on: How do we empower these nonprofits with our employees through volunteer programs? How do we give them the product to move their missions forward?  And then also, how do we create a cohort or a network that connects the city with nonprofit agencies, with educational institutions? How can we be the catalyst for bringing those folks together around a single, shared goal, which is that revitalization?

So, we’re really excited. We think it is a unique opportunity for Adobe to participate in a conversation about one of our most important downtowns, but then also to take that model to other markets. So, we just kicked off conversations in Bangalore and Noida in sort of taking that same approach: What are the organizations at the intersection of making these communities vibrant?  And how do we work with them and bring everything we can to making them successful?

Denver: Yeah. Very cool. I think we all are looking at that balance between place-based grants to help the people who are suffering today.

Amy: Yeah.

Denver: But at the same time, think of systems change, and what has to be done to reinvent these downtowns in a world that’s never really going to return to the way it was pre-pandemic.

Amy: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Denver: Amy, where can listeners go to learn more about some of these initiatives that you discussed today?

Amy: Yeah, absolutely. Well, first, I would say, please join us in celebrating the 2022 CSR report, which is available on our website, which is So you can find out more about our products and what we’re doing in the education space as well as in the philanthropic space there, and then dive a little deeper into the progress that we’re making, on

So,I really hope that you’ll take a chance to peruse some of our great grantees and partners. We think they’re some of the best in class and also, I think: be inspired. I think that our employees have been the heart of this company and have led us through our work.

And so, you’ll see how our people are our greatest asset, and they’re making an incredible change in the world, both in our engineers and folks that are volunteering, you name it, is that Adobe’s commitment to giving back and doing good in our local communities sings through on those pages. So, thanks for asking.

Denver: Great. Well, it’s the most interesting world that you inhabit, Amy. I want to thank you so much for being here today. It was a real pleasure to have you on the program.

Amy: Well, thank you so much. Appreciate your time and the invitation.

Denver Frederick, Host of The Business of Giving serves as a Trusted Advisor and Executive Coach to Nonprofit Leaders. His Book, The Business of Giving: New Best Practices for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Leaders in an Uncertain World, is available now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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