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We’ve written before about the importance of volunteerism at Cornerstone OnDemand.  It’s not lip service to suggest that it’s become an important part of our identity and a part of our shared experience together at this company.  We build volunteerism into annual company events and, more importantly, make it part of the weekly and monthly lives of Cornerstone employees.

Why? Because I would suggest that we all agree that for-profit businesses like Cornerstone have an obligation to give something back.  We have an obligation to make an impact in our local communities.

It’s not purely driven by a spirit of philanthropy – our core volunteerism programs have proven to engage and connect Cornerstone employees in new and different ways that our nine-to-five jobs ordinarily do not.

Helping Others through Mentorship

Our most successful volunteerism program to date is undoubtedly our association with Spark, a national nonprofit that provides life-changing apprenticeships for 7th and 8th graders from disadvantaged communities. Spark strengthens communities through two paths: by helping underserved youth become motivated learners and connected community members, and by encouraging adults to nurture the next generation through mentoring and volunteerism. In Los Angeles, students involved with Spark have a 92 percent graduation rate/likelihood to graduate, versus 62 percent nationwide.

Cornerstone’s involvement with Spark has grown remarkably over the last couple of years, to the point where the visits from Spark mentees at the Cornerstone headquarters have become a regular and energetic occurrences as mentees and mentors take over shared Cornerstone workspaces (and our kitchen!) to work on projects together.

Cornerstone now counts over 70 mentors and nearly 150 mentees since 2011, making us the largest corporate sponsor nationwide.

Special Thanks to Our Own Perry Wallack

The success of the Spark program here at Cornerstone has been driven by our CFO and co-founder Perry Wallack, who was just honored over the weekend by the Spark organization.

Perry received the organization’s Spark Leadership Award to honor his outstanding leadership in promoting and supporting the apprenticeship program.

In receiving the honor, Perry had this to say:

“In today’s business world, we all have an obligation to give back to our community.  After I completed my first Spark mentorship, I brought the program to my company by evangelizing it with a few people that I thought would be great mentors.  The energy soon spread, and two years later we had over 70 mentors at Cornerstone!  The atmosphere at the office when the mentees are present is truly awe-inspiring. The employees love the experience, and appreciate the company for giving them the time, resources, and flexibility to mentor and give back to the community.”

Congratulations to Perry for a well-deserved honor as we continue to build our association with Spark.  Yet further proof that employee volunteerism can and should be a key part of any corporate strategy.