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Citizenship and Giving Tuesday at ZBiotics

What we value as people and how we give back to our community

ZBiotics was built and continues to grow because of a dedicated team, committed to four core values that drive our company forward: humanity, integrity, citizenship, and science. These values are a primary reason we choose to work here. Of these values, citizenship is something our team is constantly engaged with behind the scenes. Given it’s incredibly important to our team, we’d like to lift the curtain on how our team upholds our citizenship value throughout the year.

During the holidays, and Giving Tuesday in particular, corporations advertising their donations can look disingenuous and self-serving. It's one reason we rarely post about our charitable work. Our value of integrity–doing the right thing, even when no one is watching–is another we live by.

This post is not an advertisement of our good deeds. Instead, it’s a chance to spotlight the amazing non-profit organizations we’ve worked with this year, as well as to recognize the impactful work our team has done in partnership with them. We hope you enjoy learning a little more about these great organizations, our team, our values, and how we spend our time.


ZBiotics team members are encouraged to take personal time year-round, including but not limited to volunteering opportunities. In April of this year, a few Chicagoland colleagues spent the day volunteering at the Aurora, IL location of Feed My Starving Children. Together with dozens of other volunteers, they packed over 22,000 nutrient-rich meals for children in food-insecure communities abroad.

Rob Ryan, our Marketing Operations Associate, said, “The biggest takeaway for me and the thing that impressed me the most was the organization’s efficiency with the goal of funneling as much of their funding into getting food in the hands of those that need it most.”

ZBiotics also held a company-wide Volunteer Day on October 6th, where our remote-first and distributed teams could coordinate opportunities where they live. Some of them even brought their families for more helping hands!

ZBiotics volunteering at the SF-Marin Food Bank in San Francisco

Teams at the SF-Marin Food Bank in San Francisco and The Bowery Mission in New York distributed groceries and refreshed food pantries. Our Chief Marketing Officer, Kat Townsend, said, “It was wonderful to be outside in the sunlight handing out super fresh, beautiful looking produce and exchanging words and smiles with so many different people!”

At Gaining Ground in Concord, MA, one of our future lead scientists helped his mother with sustainable farming in underserved communities.

ZBiotics volunteering at Gaining Ground in Concord, MA to give back to underserved communities

Our coworkers were also cleaning up at the Idaho Humane Society (while rehoming animals) and Chicago’s ReStore (while rehoming furniture). We were all lucky enough to spend time with organizations that make a meaningful difference in everyday lives and our broader environment.

Charitable Giving

Part of the employee benefits at ZBiotics includes an individual charitable giving stipend that each team member uses at their discretion. While volunteering is a great way to participate in citizenship, financial contributions are always helpful and necessary for nonprofit organizations.

Candace Cui, our Director of Growth Marketing, chose Room to Read: “I’ve been donating to them for almost a decade in my personal life, because I love the work they do in educating women and girls, the way they’ve built programs across the world, and how much they emphasize the opportunities that learning can provide.”

ZBiotics volunteering at the Bowery Mission in New York

Sometimes, stipends are used as direct response aid. Alicia Liew, our Customer Experience Associate, gave to the Hawaii Community Foundation: “Maui was recently hit by devastating wildfires that wreaked havoc on the beautiful island and the lives of its residents. This donation will be used to provide resources for immediate and long-term recovery needs."

The goal is always to utilize our resources to provide financial assistance in spaces that need as much support as possible.

Our Chief Executive Officer and co-founder, Zack Abbott, chose Meals on Wheels, “Because they provide an incredibly valuable service in bringing meals and safety check-ins to folks in our community who aren't able to leave the house, shop, and cook for themselves easily.”

Having volunteered there regularly, Stephen Lamb, our Chief Operating Officer and co-founder, donated to The Gubbio Project, which is “a San Francisco-based nonprofit dedicated to providing a safe place to sleep and rest for the city's unhoused people. Lack of sleep is one of the most critical health issues for the homeless.”

Giving Tuesday 2023

ZBiotics also engages in a larger charitable donation in coordination with Giving Tuesday, a special day in November after the post-Thanksgiving shopping rush that encourages people to set aside as much funding as they are able to for causes that matter to them.

In 2022, we donated to the Association for Women in Science (AWIS). This nationwide organization encourages more equity in STEM fields, a mission near and dear to our hearts. Encouraging more diversity in science and technology will benefit everybody, so we were proud to help AWIS reach their fundraising goals.

This year, we asked our customers where they’d like us to donate from a selection of nonprofit organizations we’ve partnered with in the past across causes such as nutrition equity, representation in the sciences, and economic empowerment.

The majority of ZBiotics customers chose GRID Alternatives as our Giving Tuesday organization.

ZBiotics customer survey results for Giving Tuesday donations

In GRID’s own words:

Renewable energy can drive economic growth and environmental benefits in communities most impacted by underemployment, pollution, and climate change. GRID Alternatives is a national leader in making clean, affordable solar power and solar jobs accessible to underserved communities and communities of color, and our energy access work is powering off-grid communities across the globe. GRID’s vision: a successful transition to clean, renewable energy that includes everyone.

As the nation’s largest nonprofit solar installer, GRID develops and implements solar projects that serve low-income households and commu­nities. Through our unique, peo­ple-first model, we are putting money back into families’ pockets, reducing the energy cost burden for housing providers, and jump-starting solar careers. We partner with affordable housing organizations, job training groups, government agencies, munic­ipalities, utilities, and local communities to make solar a win for everyone. Since 2004, GRID has installed 89 megawatts of solar for over 29,000 income-qualified families across the country, providing an estimated total lifetime energy cost savings of $696 million, and over 33,000 people have received hands-on solar training experience.

Group of GRID Alternatives volunteers helping build more renewable energy into underserved communities

We’ve donated $7,500 to GRID Alternatives this Giving Tuesday to help support their mission in building more renewable energy into underserved communities. Climate action is clearly critical to our community, including our customers and our team. Finding ways to reduce our impact on the environment is a key component of ZBiotics’ operations.

Our Value: Citizenship

Of course, citizenship isn’t only important on Giving Tuesday or on a company-sponsored Volunteer Day. Citizenship also isn’t limited to activities at the corporate-level or the individual-level. What matters to the ZBiotics team is ultimately what led us to create a citizenship value: being a good citizen means we can positively impact our world.

If you have the opportunity to volunteer with any of the organizations we’ve mentioned above, we can’t recommend them enough! Additionally, any donations you are able to make this season or other seasons throughout the year can make a real, measurable impact on the important work they do.

We understand that it can seem tiring after the Black Friday/Cyber Monday frenzy for another business to ask you to use your money—but if you are interested in giving, we recommend using a resource like Charity Navigator to help you find nonprofits by the work they do, the communities they serve, and even detailed reporting on how they allocate funding.