Every year, our partner charity and global nonprofit Room to Read holds an annual Wine Gala for an evening of fine wine, good food and philanthropy. It’s the nonprofit’s biggest fundraising event of the year. With more than a million dollars raised at last year’s Sydney event, the pressure was on to raise even more this year.
- Would it be possible to top $1 million raised in 2013?
- What could Atlassian do to motivate the crowd to donate even more money this year?
Our fearless co-Founder and co-CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes was invited to speak on stage about the fantastic partnership between Atlassian and Room to Read, and what we’ve achieved together since 2009. He concluded with a pledge to match every dollar raised that night up to $750,000 – effectively doubling that evening’s donations. Room to Read Founder John Wood then took to the stage and kickstarted bidding for schools, libraries, local language books and girls’ education programs. Paddles were rising thick and fast, the crowd was going a little wild and in what seemed like only minutes, we had reached $750,000 in pledges! This was all thanks to Sydney’s very generous Room to Read supporters.
John looked at Mike and asked if the Atlassian Foundation could pledge any more… Mike responded: “Make it one.” John asked: “another $100k?”, to which Mike responded: “No, let’s make it one million!”.
The room erupted in cheers and applause. The bidding started again. Eventually we reached–and then surpassed–$1 million in pledges.
- Sixteen pledges for School Superhero – repair and renovation of a school and teacher training
- Nine pledges for Build a Bookworm – establishing a library in an existing school building and teacher training for 75 teachers
- Eleven pledges to sponsor a new children’s book in the local language
- Twenty-two pledges to establish new libraries in existing school buildings
- Thirty-seven pledges to fund 10 years of girls’ education
By the end of the evening, we raised an outstanding $2,448,170, which we estimate will impact the lives of 50,000 children.
To date, the Atlassian and Room to Read partnership has ensured that over 170,000 children have access to quality educational opportunities. Atlassian’s donations have established 238 libraries, constructed or renovated 13 schools, published 13 new local language children’s titles, and supported 1,480 young women towards completion of secondary school, giving them the support they need to succeed. Atlassian was also instrumental in Room to Read’s launch of a new, in-classroom Reading and Writing Instruction program in Cambodia to help young children become independent readers.
Atlassian is Room to Read’s largest funder in Cambodia and has donated more than $3 million to date.