Our time on this earth is limited and we have a commitment to leave it better than we found it. Practically, this means refusing to corroborate the agendas of organizations who, knowingly or not, act with blind disregard to the consequences of their actions on present and future generations. Moreover, it means devoting our collective energy towards causes that will impact the world in a positive way. Kalamuna works primarily with mission-driven organizations. The best way to live up to our values is to act upon them. Here are some examples of how what we do defines us at Kalamuna.
We are proud to work with clients like Fair Trade USA, which seeks to cultivate the conscious consumer and eliminate exploitation. They do this through a market-based approach that ensures sustainable livelihoods, safe working conditions, environmental protection, and community resources for farmers and workers around the world. In collaboration with our local partner Comrade, we relaunched their site on Drupal 8. It’s a great story of three Oakland organizations working locally and acting globally.
The Human Services Agency of San Francisco serves aging adults, children, and many of our local population’s most underprivileged populations by administering nutrition and housing programs, services for disabled individuals, and much much more. Our work, in partnership with Exygy, will improve access to services and empower government to build upon our technology ecosystem to deliver them.
Early in our history we built bookshare.org — the largest online repository for accessible reading materials. This resource enables, amongst others, sight disabled students to get textbooks in accessible formats, empowering them to learn alongside sighted students instead of being segregated into special needs schools.
Building on this commitment to web accessibility, we authored an online resource to guide developers and content producers in the creation of digital web experiences at the University of California at San Francisco. UCSF is a graduate-level medical research university that also provides patient care. They are the second-largest employer in San Francisco and a leader in innovation in disease prevention and treatment. If the cure for cancer were one day discovered, it would not surprise me to hear UCSF was responsible. Our work will help research propagate to all who have a right to access it.
GreenBiz initially began as an environmental newsletter from founder Joel Makower, founder and author of the definitive book on Woodstock that naturally evolved into an online resource. While still committed to the written word, the organization’s advocacy mission is served increasingly by running large-scale conferences like VERGE that promote a new class of sustainability officers within the world’s largest corporations. At one such event, Dell leadership committed on stage and camera to ship 100% environmental packaging by 2020. The power of this model of change from within is substantive. Additionally, their editorial platforms offer opportunities for thinkers to escalate ideas into new transformative realities by showcasing groundbreaking work at the grassroots level.
Empathy Breeds Excellence
Kalamuna seeks to have real impact on people’s lives, and to advance the causes of organizations doing great work in their own right. This approach leads us to propose practical solutions to real problems. We are not afraid to push back on feature requests we can easily accomplish and bill for if we feel that fulfilling them will not serve our client’s mission. For example, when Pinnacle Engines, whose innovative engine technology helps emerging countries fight greenhouse gas emissions, wanted a multilingual website, we demonstrated with analytics where their current audience was, and focused their budget on messaging to help them grow.
Clients who are mission-aligned are more willing to engage in a true partnership, which enriches the quality of their participation in the project lifecycle. We have found, time and time again, that our teams are more motivated to achieve excellence, and also willing to cut the right corners in the service of larger goals. This means a better product at the end of the day for end users.
We work with nonprofits, higher education, and innovative companies of diverse structures, including for-profit corporations. Here is a slide from the financial report I share with all members of the company (and now with you):
By communicating our values more clearly, investing in R&D to make our process efficient and powerful, and by keeping our rates affordable, it is my hope that we will be able to provide even more organizations with the partner they deserve.
To organizations looking to work with agency partners, I encourage you to advance your values too. Relationships are built on trust and understanding, and a partnership founded in aspirational goals will result in significantly better outcomes than a reductive transactional vendor engagement. We can build a better world together.