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  • Julie Moline

NewCo Awards Recognize Leaders in Corporate Social Responsibility


NewCo, the online platform launched by John Battelle—the entrepreneur / philanthropist / author who also founded Wired magazine, celebrates businesses on a mission, connecting audiences to the stories shaping business, politics and culture. Every year the company presents NewCo Honors at the NewCo Shift Forum conference, singling out companies that “lead in the effort to do well by doing good.” Here are this year’s winners:

The Best Non-ProfitCo of the Year: Donorschoose.org, for giving $100M+ to teachers in public schools, mostly those in underprivileged neighborhoods. A team of 80 has vetted and fulfilled more than 600,000 classroom project requests that range from books, musical instruments and art supplies to butterfly cocoons and robotics kits. This platform has never been more important as public education faces devastating cuts, especially since teachers from impoverished school districts spend an average of $672 per year out of their own pockets.

The Best NewCo of the Year: Brandless, for donating 250,000 meals to needy individuals since its launch last summer. The company has partnered with Feeding America® to support its mission and leverage the organization’s national reach. NewCo judges were also impressed with Brandless’ commitment to offering high-quality consumer products, from organic food and skin care products to office supplies and chef’s knives, each at a single price point: $3.

The Best BigCo of the Year: Two companies won this year, the first NewCo Awards tie.

Salesforce.com was recognized both for its philanthropic philosophy as well as for activist CEO Mark Benioff, who, among his many CSR accomplishments, won a standoff with then-Governor Mike Pence; Benioff insisted that the company would not locate in Indiana if state legislators passed the RFRA bill that would allow discrimination against LGBTQ people under the guise of religious freedom. (The bill failed.) The company’s 1-1-1 policy, which allots 1 percent of employee time, 1 percent of resources and 1 percent of its product given away to worthy causes, not only makes Salesforce a good corporate citizen but also helps attract the best and brightest employees.

Patagonia was hailed as “the original NewCo,” practicing sustainability and corporate ethics when “doing well by doing good” wasn’t yet a thing. There are many practices the judges deeply admired about the firm, from hiring policy to supply chain management. But it was Patagonia’s political bravery, especially in its stance against the Administration’s position on public lands, that influenced the judges the most.

Want to learn more about NewCo? We recommend starting with NewCo Shift, the multi-platform publication that showcases the companies, leaders, and issues driving the transition to a sustainable, positive-impact business ecosystem.

For a complete list of NewCo Awards nominees, click here.