Sustainability at GS: Fostering Our Service-Oriented Culture
This article is part of our series for the Careers blog where we highlight a theme from our Environmental, Social and Governance Report and hear from some of our people who do ESG-related work at Goldman Sachs.
Fostering an inclusive, service-oriented culture is fundamental to attracting and retaining the people we need to better serve our clients, generate long-term value for our shareholders and make lasting contributions to society. Service is embedded in our culture, and our people are eager to use their skills to make meaningful contributions. As an organization, we seek to provide service opportunities where our people can make an outsized impact, whether that is through skills-based volunteering or service projects initiated by our employees to lend their expertise to a worthy organization.
One such example is the Goldman Sachs Gives Analyst Impact Fund, which provides our analysts with the opportunity to collaborate with peers across the firm to compete to win grants from Goldman Sachs Gives, the firm’s donor-advised fund, for a nonprofit organization of their choice. The initiative is sponsored by the firm’s Partnership Committee, whose mission is to steward the firm’s culture and cultivate our current and future leaders.
In 2018, the third annual Goldman Sachs Gives Analyst Impact Fund attracted hundreds of compelling proposal submissions to support nonprofits which are addressing some of the world’s most pressing issues. Ultimately, six teams from across the firm’s offices advanced to the finals, vying for a first place grant of $150,000 from Goldman Sachs Gives.
The six finalist teams presented a variety of innovative solutions to global challenges— from supporting survivors of human trafficking through computer coding to combatting global homelessness with 3D printing technology.
One of the teams, representing the nonprofit New Story, finished in second place and received a $75,000 grant. We asked one of the team members, Alexandra Wiener of our Investment Management Division, to share some of her experiences during the competition.
Q. How did you and your teammates decide on New Story and can you tell us about the nonprofit?
Alexandra Wiener: We each had a longstanding interest in participating in the Analyst Impact Fund competition to try to make an impact through philanthropy. We came across New Story during our research and immediately were excited about their potential scale, innovation and impact. New Story wants to help the underserved throughout the world by providing low-cost housing through the use of 3D printing technology. Right now they are in the process of finalizing this technology which will enable the printing of houses with concrete. We were blown away by their plans and ambition to help those in need. My team’s plan was to try to win the competition and help fund the nonprofit’s first-ever 3D-printed village, which is planned for Latin America this year.
Q. What were some of the things you learned about the firm through the competition process?
AW: Having the opportunity to see what we do through Goldman Sachs Gives close up was really unbelievable. At Goldman Sachs, I was aware that people have things that they care deeply about and support outside of their day job, but participating in the Analyst Impact Fund competition showed me how people of the firm could rally together around a cause. We received tremendous support, advice and feedback from our peers, colleagues and several partners on our pitch. Many people attended our practice rounds in the auditorium, which really helped us visualize what would take place during the actual presentation. Presenting to the Partnership Committee was definitely high-pressure, but the feeling afterwards was just amazing!
Q. Tell us about your ongoing engagement with New Story following the competition.
AW: After the competition last year, I traveled to El Salvador to see how New Story works within a community and to see one of their projects. I’m considering another trip this year to Latin America to watch the first-ever 3D printing of a village. It takes about a day to print each house, so it the project will last a number of months. The cost will be about $4,400 per home, so there’s more money to be raised and our team is considering doing an internal roadshow with GS colleagues to help raise more funds. The team has stayed in touch with New Story’s leadership team and made some introductions through the firm that eventually led to the addition of a new board member. We’re excited to be able to continue our support for their mission and vision.