We recently caught up with TUGG's New Executive Director, Mike Cole to discuss the amazing impact that TUGG has had on the New England Non-Profit Sector. TUGG (Technology Underwriting Greater Good) is the nonprofit arm of Boston’s tech community that connects New England's tech entrepreneurs with the riskiest social enterprises serving local under-resourced youth through entrepreneurial, educational, and life experiences. TUGG is one of the only funders of experimental youth programming in Boston.
Tell Our Readers About TUGG!
"TUGG, which stands for Technology Underwriting Greater Good, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Cambridge whose mission is to identify and fund early-stage, high impact nonprofits; once in the TUGG portfolio, we then connect these nonprofits directly with Boston tech companies. Ultimately, we want to create value for our two biggest stakeholders: our nonprofits and our volunteer network comprised of tech employees. We are the tech workers investing in Boston's future."
Who are you trying to get TUGG in front of?
"TUGG is a unique nonprofit in that we're not
You have one of your biggest events of the year coming up- tell us everything we should know about the Tech Gives Back event!
"Tech Gives Back is the largest social impact event in Boston, on the east coast...it might even be the world (still trying to lock that down!). Historically, it's been a day of service where we encourage tech employees to get out of the office and give back by volunteering at a variety of nonprofits around Boston. This year we are expanding Tech Gives Back to
Given we’re a bookkeeping company- what are some of the bookkeeping and accounting challenges TUGG has faced as a non-profit?
"Well I'm less than 90 days into this role, so my exposure to bookkeeping challenges are admittedly limited. What I do notice is how manual our processes are and the lack of automation and integration with other services. For example, when we receive a donation it would be really nice to automatically update our accounting software, and queue up a thank-you note and tax document - right now that takes about 5 steps which in a small organization like ours, can get time-consuming."
What’s the best advice you ever received?
"My grandfather gave me two pieces of advice that impact my life every single day. The first is "Walk in like you own the place" and the second is "all you have to do is ask, the worst anyone can say is no". I think to summarize, "Be Fearless"
What do you find are your biggest stumbling blocks and what are the best ways you’ve found to overcome them?
"When I came into the role, I wanted to be perfect as much as possible - the whole "measure three times, cut once" philosophy. That proved a horrible strategy as everytime I measured, I felt like it resulted in more questions and ultimately more measurements. After about a week of a pseudoparalysis, I decided to just hack away - like a machete in the jungle, hack hack hack, away at the work, bit by bit. It's been invaluable. Sometimes diving blindfolded into the deep end is EXACTLY what you need to move ahead."
What’s next for TUGG?
"Tech Gives Back is my 100% focus right now, all the way up until October 18th. After that, I have two shifts in thinking that I think are going to make some waves, both for TUGG nonprofits but also for our donors/partners. Imagine a Boston where corporate social responsibility is seamlessly integrated into the tech community. Imagine an environment where our best and brightest can have a say in writing the future of our most at-risk communities. It's a ways away, but every day is coming more into focus. Stay tuned on that."
What do you want TUGG's legacy to be?
"TUGG already has a legacy, thanks to the vision of Jeff Fagnan and a lot of talented folks who held my role before me. In my opinion, TUGG's legacy is that it's been the best conduit between Boston nonprofits and Boston tech to date. I only want to continue this legacy, and if possible, help it to grow and evolve."