Today, Pinterest announced an expansion of the company’s social and community impact efforts through new initiatives led by Ari Simon, Head of Social Impact and Philanthropy. In this newly created role, Ari will oversee Pinterest’s social impact efforts, including a philanthropic strategy focused on expanding emotional wellbeing and place-based giving across Pinterest’s global footprint.
Pinterest believes emotional wellbeing is a precondition for inspiration and creating a life we love — that to live a life you love, you need to have a self you love. Inspiration means different things to different people. On the platform, some people are looking for recipes to cook for their family. Some people look for things to wear to work and some save quotes as motivation to exercise or feel more joyful. Wellbeing has profound resonance and it is at the heart of what it means to bring inspiration and positivity to people’s lives.
As Pinterest works to build a more positive corner of the internet, the Social Impact and Philanthropy function focuses on taking its impact offline in three areas:
- Expanded Employee Volunteerism: The company is launching an expanded volunteer service program that will grant employees five volunteer days off to support civic and community engagement activities every calendar year.
- Donation Match: Pinterest is increasing its donation matching program and will match funds to eligible nonprofits, dollar for dollar, up to $1,000 per employee every year. Whether it’s one big donation, or spread across multiple nonprofits throughout the year, it will support gifts to qualified organizations.
- Charitable Giving: Pinterest’s expanded philanthropy program will provide 250,000 shares of stock (currently valued at roughly $17 million) in grants this year. The primary focus of the grantmaking will be in the area of emotional well-being, particularly increasing awareness, reducing stigma, supporting innovations in the field, and tackling inequities in access and disparities in outcomes. In addition, the program will include a place-based community giving portfolio, and a reserve for responsive grantmaking to tackle urgent or emerging challenges, like the COVID-19 pandemic and support for organizations tackling racial and other inequities.
“Our approach to Social Impact and Philanthropy is guided by the belief that this work doesn’t stand separate from our identity as a company, but is rather core to our brand, our identity, and our long-term vision for impact,” said Ari Simon, Head of Social Impact and Philanthropy. “It’s about finding new and powerful ways to bring inspiration to the world, to reinforce our core values through action, and to show up collectively in the places where we live and work. I’m proud of our progress in my short time at Pinterest and I’m looking forward to building on this vision.”
“I’ve always been inspired by the work that employees do outside of Pinterest, donating time to causes and communities they care about,” said Ben Silbermann, CEO of Pinterest. “I’m thrilled to work alongside Ari to focus our efforts on emotional wellbeing and give employees the tools they need to move quickly whenever they feel inspired to make a difference. With more than 15 years of experience developing and leading programs in the philanthropic sector, Ari approaches this role with passion and a deep understanding of the work ahead.”
Before joining Pinterest Ari was Vice President, Chief Program and Strategy Officer at The Kresge Foundation for seven years. He led the foundation’s domestic and global grantmaking and directed its Opportunity Fund focused on protecting civil rights, promoting racial equity, and ensuring the stability of our democratic system of government. Ari joined Kresge after five years with McKinsey & Company, where he focused on social innovation, economic development, and public health. Prior to that, he was a writer and editor of the Shuttle Columbia Accident Report as well as the United Nations Independent Inquiry Committee Investigation of the Oil-for-Food Programme, served as a volunteer on ambulances in the Middle East, and worked for the Innocence Project while in law school. Ari earned a bachelor’s degree at Harvard College, a master’s degree at Oxford University, and a law degree at Stanford University.