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2021 Yelp Foundation year in review



Recently, The Atlantic published an article written by psychology professor Jami Zaki of Stanford University. He argued that as the pandemic progresses, self-care alone won’t fulfill us. The real antidote is showing up for people; giving to others rather than to ourselves.

The Yelp Foundation is always looking for ways to give more and give creatively. This year has afforded us many opportunities to do just that. We have also continued to deepen our relationships with organizations whose impactful work we’ve been proud to support on an ongoing basis.

Give a Little, Get a Lot

The Yelp Foundation continues to match Yelp employee giving dollar-for-dollar throughout the year, with an annual match cap of $1000. In 2021, there were several instances where the Yelp Foundation offered a double match opportunity. Yelp employees generously contributed thousands of dollars to organizations working to aid those most vulnerable, fight systemic racism and violence, and support women’s reproductive rights. 

One such campaign provided an opportunity for the Yelp Foundation to double match Yelp employee contributions to nonprofits fighting to stop Asian hate, and amplifying the voices of the AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) communities: This campaign resulted in sizable contributions to the following organizations:

A double match opportunity is just one way the Yelp Foundation has sought to support communities in need. Check out a recently published piece outlining ways to support AAPI friends, colleagues, and business owners. 

Deepening Existing Partnerships through Learning

To further cultivate a culture of philanthropy, we regularly invite non-profit partners to lead conversations with Yelp employees about the work they do. For example, we hosted a conversation in early 2021 with The Center for Policing Equity (CPE) in the wake of murder of George Floyd, having double-matched donations made to the organization by Yelp employees. The event served to create a dialogue around the work CPE is doing and how they’re using a data-driven approach to end racial bias in policing. The conversation was fruitful, with almost 200 Yelp employees in attendance. 

Other internal events in partnership with Yelp Foundation grantees included a Black History Month panel on supporting Black-led and Black-serving organizations that focus on the needs of communities of color. We also hosted a virtual panel with Asian entrepreneurs, and leveraged a partnership with a long-term grantee, Local First Arizona, to discuss strengthening local communities and economies through the support and celebration of Latinx businesses. These long-term partnerships have evolved beyond our annual grantmaking process, allowing us to build awareness of their work. 

Expanding Trust-based Grantmaking

In recent years, we’ve evolved our approach to tech philanthropy. Building on best practices and frankly, our own advice, we more fully embraced a trust-based grantmaking approach.

The Yelp Foundation continued to deepen its relationships with organizations it had been funding in previous years. We hosted our annual check-in meetings, in lieu of a lengthy impact report, and shared some exciting news. This year we provided multi-year unrestricted grants to nine of our nonprofit partners. Multi-year grants allow nonprofits to better plan and execute programs beyond one calendar year. We look forward to continuing the conversation with these organizations, providing Yelp employees opportunities to engage in their work, and watching them continue to do great things in our local communities. 

Aligned with the Yelp Foundation’s mission to support charitable organizations and activities addressing the needs of local communities, including access to information and freedom of expression, education, and local economic development, we’re excited to announce 2021 multi-year grants awarded to the following organizations:

  • La Cocina: Cultivates low income food entrepreneurs as they formalize and grow their businesses.
  • i.c. stars: Offers technology-based workforce development and leadership training programs for low-income adults and then connects them with career opportunities.
  • Washington Area Community Investment Fund: Promotes equity and economic opportunity in underserved neighborhoods in the Washington, D.C. region.
  • Hot Bread Kitchen: Creates economic opportunity through careers in food through offering culinary training and incubating low income food entrepreneurs.
  • Local First Arizona: Provides underserved business owner communities with funds and expertise.
  • Seed Spot: Supports impact-driven entrepreneurs in schools and communities.
  • Freedom of the Press Foundation’s Press Freedom Tracker: Documents press freedom violations in the U.S. to protect, defend, and empower public-interest journalists and freedom of speech.
  • 826 Valencia: Supports creative and expository writing skills for underserved youth.
  • Fresh Start Women’s Foundation: Helps women transform their lives through education, resources, and support.

Additionally, the Yelp Foundation is thrilled to continue supporting the following nonprofits with single year grants:

  • 826NYC: Develops creative and writing skills of underprivileged youth. 
  • ByteBack: Alleviates poverty by providing students with a clear pathway to a family-sustaining career.
  • The Literacy Lab: Provides low-income children with individualized reading instruction to improve their literacy skills.

We are ending 2021 with a hopeful outlook. The Yelp Foundation is committed to continued trust in our nonprofit partners, and Yelp employees are committed to continued learning and paying it forward. Here’s to a 2022 with increased health, caring, justice, and joy.