We want to change the world through inspiring early-stage corporate philanthropy. Pledge 1% Colorado is a network of Colorado entrepreneurs who share a common commitment to giving back to their communities. Members pledge 1% of equity, annual profits, employee time, or company product to nonprofits of their choosing. Join us and make the community a key stakeholder in your company. It’s an easy way to #givefirst.

Since its first member exit in 2008, Pledge 1% Colorado has provided more than $5 million in community funding for Front Range area nonprofits and hundreds of hours of volunteer service. Together, we’re a catalyst for change, making Colorado communities stronger.

How Does It Work

You start with the easy pledge form on this site. Pick the pledge strategy that’s right for you and your company, or any combination of pledges. Pledge 1% Colorado’s staff is happy to help you walk through the options – it may depend on where your company is in its life cycle.

 

This strategy makes the most sense for early stage corporations (pre-series A or series A). If you’re an LLC, consider a pledge of annual profits instead. You can set aside 1% of your company’s equity now (the earlier you do it, the easier it is!) via our Warrant Form by naming the number of shares you want to give. We also have a sample Board Resolution you can use. Pledge 1% Colorado holds the warrant until there’s an exit, at which time we’ll liquidate the options and give 100% of the cash grant to the nonprofit(s) of your choosing, as indicated on the Allocation Form. You can update your allocation at any time. Download: Equity Package

This is great for LLCs at any stage. Pledge 1% Colorado will provide you with a simple non-binding Pledge Letter that reflects your intention to share 1% of your annual profits and 1% of net company sale proceeds with nonprofits of your choosing. Pledge 1% Colorado is happy to help you with those annual distributions or you can directly share 1% with the charities of your choosing. The Allocation Form helps us track impact – but you can update your allocation at any time.

This is great for companies at any stage – and is a good option for late-stage companies who are past the point of setting aside company equity. Pledge 1% Colorado will provide you with a simple non-binding pledge letter that captures your intention to donate 1% of your personal equity in your company to the community. You’ll want to work with your own professional advisors to strategize the timing of transferring the equity. Generally, it’s best to make your gift close to, but before an exit occurs – to maximize the value of your deduction without incurring the gains through the exit. Download: Founder Equity Package

This is great for companies at any stage. Pledging 1% of your employees’ time to volunteerism each year creates significant impact on your community and supports each employee’s own passion for giving back. Pledge 1% Colorado offers multiple volunteering opportunities throughout the year, open to you and your team, or you can organize your own volunteer projects to promote team-building. You can also support employees in connecting to volunteer opportunities on their own. If you don’t already have one, consider adopting our sample Volunteer Time-Off Policy. You can then track your team’s impact via a Volunteer Time Tracking Tool.

This is great for companies that have a product or service currently available in the market that you believe can contribute to solving a social problem or supporting a nonprofit’s mission. You’ll need to determine a budget and application process for nonprofits, along with considerations for ongoing support needs. Pledge 1% Colorado can share some case studies on what other companies have done and connect you to organizations that help distribute products to nonprofits.

 

 

 

WHY

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It’s a simple way to demonstrate corporate social responsibility (CSR).

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You can build a lasting legacy for your company, easily shared by all employees.

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You can easily acknowledge the role the community plays in helping you build a strong company.

Pledge 1% Colorado stands for the best of community building.

— Seth Levine, Foundry Group —

PLEDGE

Pledging is simple. Fill out the form below and our team will follow up with next steps and to answer any questions. You can update your pledge at any time. Thank you for making the community a key stakeholder in your company.

 

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Questions? Contact Matt Zwiebel at 303-442-0436 x 115 or matt@pledge1colorado.org.

MEMBERS

There’s a purpose here. There’s a social mission.
It’s not just a bottom line mission.

— Ryan Martens, Founder of Rally —

When you found a company, it’s a lot easier to be philanthropic financially and legally from the outset.

— Ari Newman, Founder of Filtrbox —

Our Board

Johanna Erickson / Barokas
Adam Hasemeyer / Spire Digital
Liz Iracki / Denver University
David Kendall / Bold Legal
Carly Kiser / Silicon Valley Bank
Micah Mador / Foundry Group
Tyler McNally / Velocity Global
Keith Olivia / Roberts and Olivia LLC
Julie Penner / Techstars

Our Advisors

Ryan Martens / Entrepreneur
Emily Bryson / Radius
Mike Devery / Silicon Valley Bank
Josh Forman / Forman Consulting
Ken Fugate / Square 1 Bank
Nicole Glaros / Techstars
James Graham / CodeCraft School
Cindy Hagg / CA Technologies
Jeff Hirota / Community Foundation Boulder County
Manny Ladis / Dizzion
Seth Levine / Foundry Group
Mike Platt / Cooley LLP
Shawn Stigler / Modus Law
Matt Zwiebel, Executive Director
Pledge 1% Colorado is a program of Community Foundation Boulder County.

Joining Pledge 1% Colorado is a great way of putting a stake in the ground for your business about something you believe in.

— Seth Levine, Foundry Group —

FAQ

Yes. The Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado (EFCO) rebranded to Pledge 1% Colorado in September 2016 to better align with the global platform we co-founded with Salesforce, Atlassian, and Rally for Impact called Pledge 1%. At the same time, we broadened our program to include pledges of time, product, and founder equity. We’re excited about the latest evolution of our innovative program that began in 2007, led by entrepreneurs who had a social mission beyond their company success. We’re particularly thrilled about the opportunity to engage exponentially more companies in our philanthropic movement in partnership with the global Pledge 1% program.

Pledge 1% Colorado is building a strong community of entrepreneurial giving in Colorado while connecting our members to the larger global network of startup philanthropy via Pledge 1%. Pledge 1% Colorado is a Founding Partner of Pledge 1%. We were the initial incubator of the program until we spun it off to the Tides Center in April of 2016. Pledge 1% Colorado continues to partner with Pledge 1% by sharing pledges, resources, best practices, impact stories, and more. By joining Pledge 1% Colorado, you are automatically recognized in the Pledge 1% global network and eligible for the member benefits provided by that program.

Nothing. Pledge 1% Colorado doesn’t take any fees. Many companies allocate 10% of their pledged value back to Pledge 1% Colorado upon exit to help us sustain and grow the program. You can do that through the Allocation Form.

Your pledge can be for any form of equity. Pledge 1% Colorado encourages early-stage companies to make grants of stock options (or equivalents). Our warrant form is structured to reflect that.

For founders’ pledges, you should consult with your professional advisors as to the best form of equity to give. If you are past early-stage, consider giving equity (rather than options) to maximize your deduction. If you transfer your gift to the intended nonprofit before an exit event, you can avoid realizing the gain to your income.

If your company is acquired, the acquisition agreement will typically include some purchase offer to existing shareholders. Again, Pledge 1% Colorado will pass 100% of the value onto your nonprofit designees. Pledge 1% Colorado is happy to oblige the acquisition process in whatever way we can.

Here are a couple of resources to help you present the concept of Pledge 1% Colorado to your Board of Advisors:
Pitching Pledge 1% to Your Board
Board Resolution Document

Many investment agreements require an equity holder to promise not to sell for a period of time after a public offering, so any transfer of the equity interest should require compliance by the transferee with this lock-up commitment. Pledge 1% Colorado will agree to comply with a lock-up obligation of the transferor.

Some company charters, bylaws, shareholders agreements, or operating agreements restrict the transfer of equity interests to third parties and require the consent of the company or other equity holders, so those documents must be reviewed to comply with notice, consent or waiver requirements. Normally, restricted shares are unregistered under securities law, and require a securities law exemption on a sale, but not for a gift. Unvested shares or warrants are usually not transferable until they become vested, so the vesting terms of the granting instrument must be reviewed before making a gift.

We hope that all of our pledging companies experience successful exits – but if that’s not the case, that’s okay, too. If you have pledged company equity via a warrant, until there is an exit event, the warrant has no value. While that means Pledge 1% Colorado can’t contribute any cash on your behalf to your chosen charity, you’re not on the hook for a cash donation.

The pledge form is the first step in acknowledging your intention to give back to your community. We’ll provide you tools to support your pledge, but except in the case of the warrant for equity options, our pledge materials are non-binding. We want to support you and your team in fulfilling your commitment and we encourage you to track your impact so you can share your story with your employees, investors, and the broader community – along with other members of Pledge 1% Colorado and Pledge 1%. There is no audit function of our program. Once a year, we’d love for you to participate in a program-wide survey to help us measure our collective impact and build a library of successful stories to inspire other companies in Colorado and beyond.

A sale of stock will result in capital gains (long-term or short-term) to the extent the sales price exceeds the seller’s basis in the stock. With a sale of assets, the proceeds must be allocated among the various assets of the business, including Goodwill, covenants not to compete, and future services. Any gain on Goodwill or other assets is a capital gain, however anything allocated to covenants not to compete and future services will be treated as ordinary income.

With an installment sale, the gain on the sale can be deferred into future years as the payments are received.

Contributing shares with the lowest basis will reduce the gain recognized to the donor on the subsequent sale of the company. In addition, the fair market value of stock that qualifies for long-term capital gain treatment (owned 1 year or more) can be deducted as a charitable contribution whereas the deduction is limited to basis if the stock is short-term.

The value of privately held stock may be discounted due to minority interests or lack of marketability. This will reduce the amount that can be deducted as a charitable deduction.

Absolutely. The first thing you can do is to encourage your investees to consider joining. Knowing investors support their desire to give back helps companies take the leap to make a pledge. You can also pledge 1% of your investment profits. That can be accomplished either by issuing Pledge 1% Colorado a 1% interest in the GP (a profits interest or a standard member interest) or by making a 1% special allocation out of the GP – this can take multiple forms, but since we are tax exempt we are indifferent to the manner of the distribution.

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