CHICAGO (September 7, 2021) -- Zing Health, a physician-founded-and-led provider of Medicare Advantage health plans, has made official its Pledge 1% program, raising its commitment to corporate philanthropy, community engagement, and STEM education. The healthcare startup pledges 1% of its profit, equity, and staff time to support local nonprofit initiatives, amplifying the social impact goals of Zing Health’s founders and employees.
“Our mission at Zing Health is to create a positive effect on our communities and ensure that everyone reaches optimal health,” said Zing Health Founder and CEO Dr. Eric E. Whitaker. “Corporate philanthropy is an important component of that, and we encourage our employees to be a part of the solution.”
As part of this mission, Zing Health is a partner in Pledge 1%, which champions corporate donations and public engagement among early-stage companies. Pledge 1% aims to make a difference in the world by inspiring startups to give 1% of their product, profit, equity or employee time to a charity of their choosing. Its founding partners include Salesforce, Atlassian, and Rally (now Broadcom), three successful tech companies that have shown how pledging a small portion of future success today can have an enormous impact tomorrow.
"We are incredibly excited that Zing Health has taken the pledge," said Amy Lesnick, chief executive of Pledge 1%. “Zing Health can play a pivotal role in building this movement and promoting a new normal in which all companies—big and small—integrate giving back as a core value in their business."
Forging Ahead with Philanthropy
Zing Health has promised to donate 1% of future profits to local groups that address social determinants of health, including those who deal with community and workforce development or provide access to care, education, food, or housing. For example, Zing Health has teamed up with local food pantries, churches, and other not-for-profit groups to support and strengthen low-income families in the Chicago area through a collaboration with Acumen America.
“Addressing the disparities related to social determinants of health is a big part of Zing Health’s mission to ensure equal and accessible healthcare to all,” said Dr. Whitaker, who was named by Modern Healthcare this year as one of the nation’s top population health innovators. “Everyone deserves the same care, regardless of their race, background, or situation.”
As part of its pledge, Zing Health has seeded 1% of investor equity to the CPASS Foundation, a diversity STEM education initiative. CPASS partners with SMASH Academy, a college prep institute that provides students of color with viable pathways to healthcare careers. CPASS is also known for its Mini Medical School at Rush University and other programs to bring STEM education to underserved communities.
Volunteer Ethos Fosters Community Engagement
The company’s workers have also pledged to spend at least 1% of their staff hours volunteering at local nonprofits. Zing Health lets them mark volunteer time off, and an internal leaderboard recognizes their initiative. As work patterns shift during the pandemic recovery, corporate events will incorporate offsite community engagement opportunities.
The policy allows Rachel Sobel, Zing Health corporate communications director, to log volunteer hours for Recovery Dharma, a peer-led recovery support community. She has also served as an election judge without needing to use valuable PTO time. “I would be leading meetings during evenings or weekends anyhow, but Zing Health lets me accomplish things I can do only during work hours, such as maintaining our group’s website, doing outreach to treatment centers, or serving as an election judge.” Sobel said.
Pledge 1% sharpens the Zing Health focus on volunteering and making a difference, continuing its mission to build better communities. Zing Health will align its strategy and work with the Pledge 1% community to make positive impacts and work towards ending disparities brought on by social determinants of health.
“We believe that a commitment like this is one that everyone should be pledging,” Dr. Whitaker said. “Ideals like this have been part of our DNA since the beginning, and we strive to create a better world for the communities we serve.”