Many of you will have seen last week’s announcement about the creation of the Autodesk Foundation. The foundation has been set up to formalise something that’s long been part of Autodesk’s culture: supporting charitable causes through direct investment, software donation and matching of employee gifts. This formalisation will also bring greater alignment around our support for the broader design community, which is something that’s new.
I’m particularly excited about changes being made to Autodesk’s employee volunteering program.
As an Autodesk employee I’m able to spend 4 hours per month of company time volunteering for qualifying nonprofit organisations (political and religious nonprofits as well as those with discriminatory practices are ineligible). That’s just company time, of course: we’re obviously able to volunteer our personal time, too. For every 10 hours of company time I log, Autodesk will give me a $100 “Cause Card” which I can use to donate money to the charity of my choice (which Autodesk will then match, too, up to a certain limit).
This is a great incentive to encourage Autodeskers to donate their time.
Which leads me to something I’ve been thinking about for some time… I almost wrote this post at the beginning of January – this has been a potential New Year’s resolution of mine for a year or two, now – but the launch of the Autodesk Foundation seems a great time to do it.
If you work for a nonprofit organisation and need some help with a programming project of some kind – ideally one that involves AutoCAD or other Autodesk software – then please send me an email.
I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to fit you in – I have no idea what kind of uptake this offer will generate – but I’d love to talk to you about your projects and find some way to help (or round up some colleagues who are better suited to helping deal with the challenges you’re facing).
As an example of a qualifying project that I’ve been volunteering time on, over the last year or so: Cornell University’s AguaClara project – which belongs to the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department – designs sustainable water treatment plants to bring clean water to many who wouldn’t otherwise have access to it. There’s more information on their wikipedia page.
From a technology perspective, the AguaClara team makes use of MathCad for engineering calculations and uses the results to drive AutoCAD to generate the final design. They had some specific requirements around sectioning that I’ve been able to develop for them. It seems the team has recently opened their 9th water treatment plant, which is just wonderful news.
Participating in this kind of project is extremely motivating (and one of the reasons I’m happy to be working at Autodesk rather than a bank :-). I’m looking forward to learning more about how nonprofit organisations are using Autodesk software to make the world a better place. And doing my bit to help!