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2016 Top Volunteers

Kelly Salance

As evidenced by our 2016 Annual Report, this last year was a fantastic period of growth and achievement for the Neighbor Foundation. We want to take this moment to highlight our top volunteers in each region. These individuals have gone above and beyond in 2016, illustrating how to be a socially conscious citizen and exemplary employee at Zendesk.

Overview of our 2016 achievements from our Annual Report.

Overview of our 2016 achievements from our Annual Report.

San Francisco

Aaron Pewtherer - This last year, Aaron was our top volunteer in San Francisco with 59 hours. Impressively, 49 of those hours were with Reading Partners, an organization that partners with under-resourced schools and works one-on-one with students who struggle with reading. Thanks for commitment this year, Aaron!

Lori Gauthier - In 2016, Lori had a fantastic year and was the top volunteer in terms of frequency. As an active Meals on Wheels deliverer, Lori volunteered at 32 of the shifts and overhauled the process for meal delivery, streamlining for efficiency, and helping employees to better connect with the clients.

Lori delivering meals to a resident at the Raman Hotel. Photo curtesy of Leah Millis at The Chronicle.

Lori delivering meals to a resident at the Raman Hotel. Photo curtesy of Leah Millis at The Chronicle.


Erin Hampe - Erin volunteered 54 hours throughout 2016 with many different Madison organizations, always encouraging others in the office to join her. What’s more remarkable, in 2016, Erin was promoted to become a Tier 1 Manager on our Support team demonstrating how you can be successful in your job growth at Zendesk and be a top contributing member in our community.   


Saajan Shah - As a Senior Technical Support Engineer in our London office, Saajan is certainly kept busy with his job. Despite this, Saajan was a regular volunteer with our Team London interns throughout 2016. He stood out as one of the top volunteers because he would always go the extra mile for the interns, continually making sure they all had someone to eat lunch with and generally felt welcome in the office. Great work, Saajan!

Saajan and other Zendesk employees providing guidance at a HeadStart workshop in our London office.

Saajan and other Zendesk employees providing guidance at a HeadStart workshop in our London office.

Nick Peart - With an impressive 71 volunteer hours, Nick was our top global volunteer of 2016 working with organizations like Team London, HeadStart and The Challenge.  

I’m proud of very small part I have played in the great work carried out by all Zendeskians around the globe who strive to make a difference, simply because it is the right thing to do. I am always amazed at how much you can learn, grow and develop simply by giving up a little bit of your own time.
— Nick Peart


Clayton Da Silva - Clayton is a Director of Customer Success in our Sao Paulo office. As an expert in all things Zendesk, it was only natural that Clayton helped to head up our Zendesk Certification program with one of our local non-profit partners, IOS. He helped to get the program up and running including training all of the trainers. Clayton has also visited several of the local orphanages that we partner with and babies love him (evidence below). Thanks for all your hard work this year, Clayton the-Baby-Whisperer DaSilva!


Beverly Festejo - Beverly is a volunteer rockstar in our Manila office! She has volunteered every shift that has been available even beyond her work hours. She has even invited many of her friends to join us in our efforts. 

Thanks to our top volunteers for helping make 2016 our best year yet. Having champions in our offices around the globe are essential to our success in our local communities. Looking forward to 2017!

Link-SF Update

Kelly Salance

In 2014, Zendesk partnered with one of our San Francisco community partners, St. Anthony’s, to build a mobile first web app, Link-SF to help connect homeless and low-income members in the community with essential resources such as shelter, food and medical aid.  Our team of engineers at Zendesk who built the app recently gave it a much needed update.

Rose Trujillo, one of the Zendesk engineers leading the project spoke about the  updates on the Zendesk Blog,

Last year we announced a partnership with Open Referral, whose mission is to standardize civic services data across geographic regions. With this standardization, referral portals such as Link-SF can share data with each other, which decreases the amount of work duplication to maintain resource information. To that end, we are happy to announce that our latest version of the project consumes data that is very close in structure to Open Referral’s exemplary API, the Ohana API.”

With several other 'Link' instances from Copenhelp to Link-Dane, the updates continue to make this open-source project easily replicated in communities in need around the world.

Link-SF is free software. Learn more or get it here

Happy Holidays!

Kelly Salance

The holiday season is one of our favorite times of year at the Neighbor Foundation! Employees from our offices around the globe come together volunteering and helping to bring holiday cheer to many of our nonprofit partners. Here is a look at what many of our elves have been up to this holiday season of our offices around the world.


In London, we wrapped presents for Children of St. Mary’s Intensive Care (COSMIC) which supports the Children’s Intensive Care Unit at St Mary’s by helping patients and their families, and enabling their dedicated team to treat hundreds of critically ill children each year.

Santa - aka one London employee - also stopped by COSMIC’s Christmas Concert. The concert was held for past and current patients to spread the seasonal spirit and included festive readings, holiday songs and holiday treats.



In our Dublin office, we went caroling as part of Dublin Simon Community’s “Sing for Simon” Fundraiser. Simon works to prevent homelessness and provides services for people who are homeless.

We also partnered with Temple Street, which is a children’s hospital to decorate their walls and bring festiveness to the hallways of the hospital.

Additionally, we hosting a gift wrapping session in our Dublin office to wrap presents for Temple Street.



This year in Copenhagen, employees purchased holiday gifts for families in need in partnership with the Grace Shelter. Grace Shelter is a place for people who are experience homelessness to access essential resources such as food and a place to sleep.


In addition to festivities in each office, we hosted two regional activities in EMEA that brought together our teams as well as benefitted our neighbors.

The EMEA Finance team put 100 Christmas packs together today for Dublin Simon Community.  Each pack included a pair of gloves, beanie, tea, coffee, sweet and biscuits.

We also hosted a Holiday Jumper Day in our London, Dublin and Montpellier offices. Many employees dressed in their most festive jumpers while raising money in the office for local non-profit partners.


We worked with Projectos Amigos das Crianças, a group of orphanages in São Paulo. Employees volunteered at their site to wrap gifts and we offered them a grant to support their holiday initiatives.

San Francisco

This year, we participated in Adopt-a-Family through Compass Family Services and adopted 10 families. This program matches donors with families who are homeless or extremely low-income. Through participation from most of the office we were able to purchase all of the gifts for our neighbors. We even had a group of volunteers help give the presents to the families.

We also ventured out to the neighborhood and helped to decorate 11 Community Housing Partnership’s tenant building around the Tenderloin with holiday decor.


This year in Madison, our management team partnered with Madison Area Food Pantry Gardens to help them package over 550 pounds of cornmeal to be donated to food pantries around Madison.  

A bunch of Madison employees also doubled as elves this holiday season at The Boys and Girls Club and helped wrap donated gifts. 

This holiday season we want to thank all of our non-profit partners around the world for their hard work and dedication. While we know the challenges are great, so are the opportunites to come together and make a real difference. Happy Holidays and we are looking forward to 2017! 

A Thanksgiving Adventure to Remember

Kelly Salance

This year, as part of our Thanksgiving celebrations in our San Francisco office, we organized a canned food drive benefitting St. Anthony’s. After collecting over 500 cans, two members of our team planned to drop the proceeds from the drive off, as well as a couple boxes of retired Zendesk swag – t-shirts and mugs – to be donated. All in all, we headed out the doors for the three-block walk with a massive cart of nine boxes precariously stacked above our heads.

The walk is short but requires crossing Market St. – a main artery in the city for buses, trolleys, cars and thousands of pedestrians each day. As we pushed our cart across the intersection, we cleared the dreaded first train track easily. Keeping up our momentum for the second track, we were not so lucky this time.  The cart slammed to a halt with a loud thud, as the front wheel lodged into the tracks.  The top two boxes full of cans of corn, green beans, and other veggies immediately flew through the air and crashed down to the pavement, rolling all over Market St.  In an attempt to get the cart unstuck, we jerked it backwards, which freed the cart, but knocked off the remaining boxes in the process.

With boxes, t-shirts, jars and cans spread out all over Market St., traffic halted, and our team of two quickly scrambled to gather everything. Before we fully knew it though, there were over a half dozen people helping. A local business owner, young teens, people waiting for busses, a police officer, and neighborhood folks all rushed to help. It was only a matter of minutes before everything was cleaned and people were helping us finish crossing the street. All in all, we successfully delivered every box to St. Anthony’s and only lost a jar of pickles in the process!

When reflecting on this adventure, it reminded us exactly why we love being a part of this community. People from all walks of life quickly came together without blinking an eye to help. What should have shut down traffic for some time, took five minutes to clean due to the help that we received from our neighbors.  It was clear that with a community like ours, a setback like this is truly no big dill!

Community Spotlight: The Arc San Francisco

Kelly Salance

Do companies need to build a diverse and inclusive workforce? Of course there are the moral reasons, yet, in addition many studies demonstrate the business case for diversity and inclusion.  According to one study,  inclusive teams outperform their peers by 80% in team-based assessments. This makes sense – hiring diversely leads to different perspectives, which in turn creates more diverse products and overall business. Additionally, when companies are inclusive, meaning actively adapting the culture and behaviors to respond to employees, then people will feel included. That’s why at Zendesk we work with The Arc San Francisco, an organization that serves adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, to increase our company’s diversity and give populations with hiring barriers the opportunity to build their careers.

The Arc is a lifelong learning and achievement center supporting over 700 individuals with developmental disabilities in San Francisco. With a mission to serve this population by promoting self-determination, dignity and quality of life, The Arc offers a variety of programs to help individuals achieve their personal goals. Individuals come to The Arc at different points in their personal growth and professional careers. There is programming to support individuals at each step in their lives with classes in three development areas: Adult Life and Skills, Employment Development, and Careers and Advancement; all of which aim to learn new skills or reinforce others at any stage of adulthood.

Further, The Arc focuses on job training and placement teaching skills such as resume writing, computer and mobile skills, professional communication skills and professional conduct to individuals looking for employment. Today, almost 300 clients have found employment at top companies around the Bay Area with an average length of employment of seven years.

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The Arc understands this importance and strives to help companies diversify their workforce through hiring adults with developmental disabilities. According to the Campaign for Disability Employment, “Businesses that are inclusive of people with disabilities – in recruitment, retention, and advancement – benefit from a wider pool of talent, skills, and creative business solutions. Additionally, work environments that are flexible and open to the talents of all qualified individuals, including those with disabilities, actually promote workplace success for everyone.”

Zendesk’s partnership with the Arc began five years ago when we first hired a client of The Arc, Eric, on our Workplace Experience team helping with office services. Since 2011, a lot has changed at Zendesk but Eric is still here as one of our most committed employees. In the spring of this year, we worked with the Arc to hire Casey to our IT team where he maintains the conference rooms and makes sure they are working properly -- no easy task between our two buildings. Both Eric and Casey have been invaluable to their teams, providing essential work, boosting moral and contributing to a more inclusive work environment.

Interested in hiring a client from the Arc?

The Arc minimizes all barriers to hiring a client through pre-employment preparation, on-site job coaching, and ongoing support to the client and team. For more information about The Arc San Francisco Employment Services contact Kristen Pedersen, Director of Employment and Education Programs, at