A Small Funder With an Equity Lens: What’s the New RG Foundation Up To?

Employee disengagement inevitably leads to decreased productivity and profits. When employees are engaged, the result is often increased productivity and a more resilient and profitable organization. This disconnect between employees and employer happens just about everywhere in the world, and is one of the reasons why Glenn Elliott founded his company Reward Gateway in 2007.

For the past decade, Reward Gateway has been on a mission of “bridging the engagement gap between employers and employees” by offering innovative engagement products, technological platforms and tools. While the mission of the company is narrowing that engagement gap, Reward Gateway’s overarching vision is to “make the world a better place to work.” And its founder and CEO recently took a big jump into the nonprofit world to achieve that vision.

Earlier this year, Glenn Elliott launched the RG Foundation, a $5 million nonprofit funded by Elliott’s personal equity in Reward Gateway. Much like his company, the RG Foundation wants to make the world a better place to work, but its mission is much broader, addressing a fairly wide range of global development matters.

With a particular focus on women, girls and minorities, the RG Foundation is looking to address the lack of access to education for girls in developing nations, the global pay gap between men and women, increase access to credit for ethnic minority entrepreneurs and improve access to job skills and training for people who have jobs but still live below the poverty line. The RG Foundation plans to work toward achieving those goals by supporting “amazing organizations and charities that are already doing great work in microfinance, social enterprise, education and empowerment.” And it’s not wasting any time in that regard.

Shortly after its launch, the RG Foundation announced that it was awarding the TGG Foundation a $50,000 grant. Based in Kerala, India, TGG is using its RG Foundation grant to advance its work on a Rural Empowerment Hub. It will benefit local communities by providing more employment opportunities through job creation, skills development and training, pay equality and building a better work environment. A portion of the grant is also being set aside to fund a new collection from Wayanad Clothing.

Wayanad Clothing is a U.K.-based social enterprise organization working together with the TGG Foundation to tackle gender equality in rural India. The partners work toward achieving those ends by providing job opportunities and skills development through a tailoring workshop. Thirty percent of each sale made by Wayanad is plugged back into the TGG Foundation.

Since the RG Foundation is new, there isn’t much information available aside from the one page on Reward Gateway’s website explaining the foundation’s mission. It’s certainly made a solid choice in TGG with its inaugural grantmaking.

Without a doubt, the RG Foundation has some lofty goals for a $5 million organization. However, as we are all well aware, it isn’t just the multi-billion-dollar funders that make a difference. The little guys do a lot of heavy lifting, as well. It will be interesting to see where the foundation heads with its next round of grantmaking.