Atlassian Foundation

Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes have always valued a culture of inclusion in their award-winning enterprise software company Atlassian. So it was no surprise that when they established the Atlassian Foundation, they wanted to give staff the opportunity to be involved. One of the company’s core values is “be the change you seek”, and so every full-time employee is offered five days paid leave to work for their favourite not-for-profit. A dedicated group of employees also manage the company’s charitable activities, which also helps increase employee engagement in philanthropy. The group’s responsibilities include awarding grants to local not-for-profit partners, organising fundraising events, and providing employees with meaningful volunteer opportunities.

The Atlassian Foundation’s vision is to advance humanity through the power of software and education, and to date it has donated more than $4 million to charities worldwide. The Foundation pursues an ‘engaged philanthropy’ model by supporting a small group of not-for-profit partners, both globally and locally, and assisting with their technology projects.

Another unique element to the Atlassian Foundation’s approach is its 1% model, with 1% of profit, 1% of equity, 1% of employee time and 1% of software licenses donated to not-for-profits. Additionally, every employee is offered $1000 in matched donations for their chosen charity.

One of the Foundation’s priorities for support is Room to Read, a not-for-profit that works in collaboration with communities and local governments across Asia and Africa.* The Atlassian Foundation has donated more than $3 million to support Room to Read’s literacy and education programs, mostly in Cambodia. Andrew Rallings, head of the Atlassian Foundation, explains the impact the donations have already had. “The donations have impacted over 170,000 children, established 238 libraries, constructed or renovated 13 schools, published 13 new local language children’s books and sponsored 1480 young women, giving them the support they need to continue their education.”

In a recent innovation, Atlassian has also engaged customers with the Foundation’s work, pioneering a new customer acquisition strategy called Causium, that merges Cause Marketing with the popular Freemium business model. Instead of simply giving away a teaser product, they charge a micro-payment of $10 for its 10 user Starter licenses, and then donate all proceeds to charity. The results have been an astounding win-win for all parties, and has raised over $3 million for Room to Read. You can read more about the Atlassian Foundation on their website.
* Room to Read delivers some of its programs in Asia in partnership with the Australian Foundation for the Peoples of Asia and the Pacific (AFAP).

Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes are the co-founders and co-CEOs of Atlassian, an award-winning enterprise software company that helps innovators everywhere plan, build, and launch great software. Atlassian was established in 2002 in Sydney, and now also has offices in the US, Europe and Asia.

Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes