Inside Act-On: A Run for Fun and Community Service

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]The poet Wendell Berry once wrote that community was something only really felt and forged in overwork – something we created through our service to others: “We are connected by work even to the places where we don’t work, for all places are connected; it is clear by now that we cannot exempt one place from the ruin of another.” The way he saw it, we’d know and recognize our community by the people we helped and good turns we did (what he called “good works”). We’d understand our place in the world by continually supporting and elevating others.

It’s a vision for service that sees community as a practice, rather than a principle, and one we’ve taken to heart here at Act-On.

Act for Good, our program for social responsibility and our way of giving back to the local and global communities we serve, is now in its second year, and has grown to encompass all manner of projects and initiatives: a partnership with the nonprofit Boys and Girls Aid to create welcome boxes for kids in Oregon’s foster system as they transition between placements; a lunch-and-learn with Dollar for Portland, a non-profit helping to alleviate medical debt; 200+ brown-bag lunches for Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse (or CORA), a Bay Area-based provider of services for victims of domestic abuse and violence.

Most recently, we were proud to take part in Portland’s 4k4Charity – a 4K fun run that’s a collaborative, annual event in its third year and dedicated to encouraging diversity and inclusion in the Portland community. Proceeds from this year’s run went to the Rosemary Anderson High School, a community-based school for alternative education open to students struggling in traditional public school settings. RAHS offers open-door, year-round access to students looking to complete their high school educations, and boasts a 90% graduation rate. Through 4k4Charity, we are helping provide students with access to technology and education that will empower and equip them for a successful future. Precisely the sort of institution that embodies Berry’s idea of service and community: solidarity and support through the work of education and empowerment.

It was an event well-aligned with Act-On’s core values and objectives – affirming our appreciation for Portland’s vibrant startup scene, strengthening our pipeline to the broader community, and encouraging and prioritizing wellness among our employees. This year’s event
was especially meaningful as our community honored Sam Blackman, the inspiration who started this movement of Portland’s startups collaborating to improve inclusion and diversity within our companies, and who died from sudden cardiac arrest in August.

We were also proud to have the third largest registration numbers of any company participating – no small feat in a city of runners!