The House that Tech Built: Austin Habitat for Humanity and Our “Care Deeply” Initiative
We launched into our “Care Deeply” initiative in 2019 with strategic giving toward one of Austin’s most pressing social issues — the housing crisis. As a $25K corporate sponsor for Austin Habitat for Humanity, we’ve contributed not only a financial donation, but four days of volunteer work to build a new home for the local Damtew-Abraha family.
The workdays spanned two weekends as volunteers from our team served together at the building site. We also donated two weekdays of company-wide participation on paid company time for a total four-month — long effort from March to June, 2019.
>> Find out what’s inspired UX designer, Nick Comito, to stick with the Praxent team for ten years and counting. “My 10 Year Tenure: How My Company Turned My Co-Workers Into My Family”
Austin Habitat for Humanity & The House That Tech Built, a Response to Affordable Housing Gap
With an influx of new people flocking to the Austin area to work in the burgeoning technology sector, prices are rising across industries, including housing. Gentrification has long been one of the city’s hot button issues, pushing the lack of affordable housing into a situation the Austin Business Journal called “near crisis territory” earlier this month.
Austin is one of 15 US cities on the verge of a housing crisis in which median home prices rise at a dangerously rapid rate. In Austin’s case, prices have risen a whopping 62% since 2008. Previously affordable housing is now inaccessible.
Non-profits and community leaders such as Habitat for Humanity are stepping in to address the situation. This year, Austin Habitat for Humanity partnered again with local technology companies to implement The House That Tech Built, a project geared toward strengthening community within the tech sector while addressing the growing need for affordable housing in Austin.
This project is part of Austin Habitat for Humanity’s Affordable Homeownership Program, which has built over 445 homes thus far. The program’s goal is to assist the many low-income, hard-working local families struggling with the constantly increasing cost of housing in the Austin area. The project offers deserving families a path to home ownership, empowering them with the kick start needed to invest in their own future.
Practicing Our Core Values: “Care Deeply”
One of our core values is “Care Deeply,” a concept at the heart of all our relationships with clients, partners and teammates. “Care Deeply” reflects our commitment to go above and beyond empowering groups of people through more than digital innovation.
In November, 2018 we hit a major financial milestone for the company. The “Care Deeply” initiative was born when company leadership decided to celebrate the milestone by giving back. The initiative includes plans for intentional and regular projects that honor our commitment to care.
Our inaugural project, the 2019 Austin Habitat for Humanity corporate sponsorship, is only the first of many “Care Deeply” efforts to come.
The Damtew-Abraha Family Sponsorship
Working with Austin Habitat for Humanity these past four months, we helped build a house for the Damtew-Abraha Family. Berhanu Damtew and Hana Abraha moved to the United States from Ethiopia independently before meeting at a church in Austin in 2015. After getting married, they welcomed a daughter into the world in 2017 and are currently awaiting the arrival of their second child.
While both Berhanu and Hana owned their own businesses in Ethiopia, the couple was forced to branch out into new fields of work to make ends meet here in the US. Hana works in logistics and customer service and Berhanu as a taxi driver. Despite their hard work, the lack of affordable housing has become an issue for the family, and for the past several years they’ve been living in a cramped, smokey and noisy apartment, with no safe place for children to play.
Since being selected as a recipient for the 2019 The House That Tech Built project, the family has been working with Austin Habitat for Humanity putting in “sweat equity” on the site of their new home.
They enjoy the community feel and the kindness of strangers they’ve met as part of the process and are thankful that people care to donate and help out. Their new home, slated for completion this year, will be located in southeast Austin. This home will be safe and healthy, and offer the family room to grow as they continue to work toward their dreams.
Work for a company whose core values are more than just talk.
When our leadership team got together to discuss how to celebrate the company’s million-dollar milestone, the usual ideas were thrown out on the table — big company party, Lake Austin yacht rental. But none of those ideas struck a chord with the heart of the group.
Eventually, the team arrived at a consensus: we need to give back in proportion to what we’ve been given. The “Care Deeply” initiative was born.
If you’re looking for a tech company with a real heart, where relationships and respect for people drive everyday decisions, we’d love to get to know you. >> Check out our Careers page for a look at current openings.