Bonsai, an online career-advice platform that launched in April, will soon allow executives who host career advice sessions on the platform to donate their earnings to the nonprofit WhyHunger, the organizations jointly announced on Monday (Nov. 30).
Known as Chat for Charity, the new partnership between Bonsai and WhyHunger – which is dedicated to ending hunger and its root causes in the U.S. and around the world – is expected to raise up to $100,000 for the nonprofit in Bonsai’s first year of operation. Bonsai tells Billboard over 1,000 executives (known as “coaches”) and more than 2,000 users (“learners”) have signed up on the platform to date.
Started by CEO Patrick Sullivan — the founder of licensing platforms RightsFlow (sold to Google in 2011) and Source3 (sold to Facebook in 2017) — and COO Jake Rosenfeld, Bonsai matches students and young professionals with experts and executives in the music and technology industries for one-on-one video meetings. To make its platform more accessible, Bonsai users are invited to pay what they wish in exchange for sessions with execs such as The Orchard founder Richard Gottehrer, former Facebook vp of operations Ellen Silver and former Spotify global head of publishing Adam Parness. Bonsai tells Billboard that users to date have paid an average of approximately $50 for a 30-minute, one-on-one session.
Executives who wish to participate in the nonprofit initiative, which kicks off the first week of December, will donate 100% of their earnings from the career advice sessions (minus Bonsai’s 25% transaction fee) to WhyHunger.
“When it comes to building your career, often it’s not just about what you know, but who you know. Our platform bridges this gap and connects those in need with leading industry professionals,” said Sullivan in a statement. “As unemployment has skyrocketed, which has a direct correlation to hunger rates, we couldn’t think of a better organization to partner with to help give back to our community. From music industry professionals to technology founders and executives, Bonsai is made up of top tier talent offering career advice. We hope this partnership will serve as motivation for Bonsai learners to know that by helping themselves and seeking out career advice, they are also helping in the fight to end food insecurity.”
“Due to the impact of COVID-19, with job insecurity on the rise, hunger is more prevalent than ever,” added WhyHunger executive director Noreen Springstead. “Not only are individuals in need of career advice and strong mentorship to weather the storms of an uncertain job market, but there is also an increased need for Americans at large to help combat the hunger crisis. We are thrilled to enter into this partnership and extend a heartfelt thank you to the Bonsai professionals whose time and efforts will have a profound impact in ensuring nutritious food for the one in six Americans facing food insecurity while we build towards long-term solutions to end hunger for good.”
According to WhyHunger, 54 million Americans are currently facing food insecurity — a 54% increase since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Recent college graduates are particularly at risk for unemployment; in June, the unemployment rate among that demo reached a high of 20%, according to Labor Department data.
Founded in 1975 by singer-songwriter Harry Chapin and radio DJ Bill Ayres, WhyHunger provides critical resources to support grassroots movements and fuel community solutions rooted in social, environmental, racial and economic justice. Eighty-six cents of every dollar raised by the organization go directly to programmatic work.
For more information, visit joinbonsai.co.