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This week we’re dedicating the Atlassian Blog to stories about teams coming together to change the world for the better. You’ll hear stories from Atlassian employees, partners, and customers, all reaffirming that giving back to your community is both the smart and the right thing to do. Everyone wins.

Like most things, we started off small.

Last November, our team in the Austin office signed up to be a part of an initiative put on by Habitat for Humanity that brought 7 tech companies from the Austin area together to raise $5,000, complete a day of volunteering, and build a house for a family together.

We had such a great experience participating in that project that we wanted to do even more. Considering that our Austin office is 300 people strong, we decided to take on the project of building an entire house together as a team.

But this was no small task. To provide a family with a new home to call their own, we needed to raise $85,000 and contribute a total of 250 volunteer days. It did not take us long to realize that the only way to accomplish this goal was to team up.

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Forming the team

To raise the funds, we needed to rally at least 100 Atlassian volunteers to commit to raising $500 each. Friends, family, and even other Atlassians from different offices all pitched in to support our team. With a little effort and some creative fundraising ideas like Dares for Dollars, bake sales, and even a few happy hours, we were able raise half of it on our own, and have the other half matched by the Atlassian Foundation.

Aside from our financial commitment, we also had to determine how to fill that 250 volunteer-hour commitment. Over a 14-week period from March to June, our Atlassian teams got their hands dirty racking in a total of 2,800 volunteer hours, which is equal to $64,000 in contract labor!

By then end of our project, we were able to welcome home a single mom and her son to the house we’d built for them with a ribbon cutting ceremony, lots of high fives, and some tears, too.

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It all starts with a solid foundation

Having a set of core values that inform everything we do, from product development, to hiring, and community service, was instrumental in laying the foundation of our involvement. Specifically, two of our core values, “Be the change you seek” and, “Play as a team” were influential in our entire Habitat for Humanity involvement.

This project could not have been accomplished without our Atlassian Foundation Committee, who is responsible for harnessing the resources of Atlassian to champion various institutions in order to give back to the community. They do this by providing five paid Foundation leave days per year for employees to utilize working with organizations of their choice, as well as matching any annual charitable donations of up to $1,000 per employee.

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As a team we can

Throughout this experience, we drew strength from our company values, which empowered us to keep building and raising money. The power of teamwork enabled us to embark on an endeavor to create something tangible; a home for a family to create a lifetime of memories. Throughout the last year, our partnership with Habitat for Humanity has reminded us of the importance of having a dedication to community involvement. Whether it be through the Pledge 1% model, matching donation dollars, or simply allowing employees paid time to get involved on their own, the opportunity to be the change you seek is an invaluable gift that all companies can give to their communities and their employees.

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“Having 5 days every year really points to how important the company considers giving back, and how dedicated they are to their employees and the communities they’re involved in.” – David Nicholson, Site Reliability Engineer

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“The cool thing about these builds was that while it was a huge endeavor, there wasn’t only a single person somewhere out there doing their own thing, there were large groups of us doing it together.” – Ivan Tse, Cloud Support Team Lead

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“It was really important to me because one of the reasons I came to work at Atlassian was because of their values, and one of their values was to give back and be the change you seek. We built a house, and we did it together as a team, and that’s what Atlassian is about – teamwork.” – Keri Hannon, Support Engineer

A big, “Welcome Home, Whitney and Aaden”, was made possible by the power of the Atlassian Team. More than 100 co-workers teamed up to build this family a safe place to call home, thanks to the empowerment of the Atlassian Foundation.

Throughout October, tweet a photo of you and your team volunteering with the hashtag #TeamUp4Good to show the world all the different ways teams can make a difference. Be sure to @mention the organization you’re volunteering with, too – we’ll RT to give them some extra exposure. And if you’re going to #AtlassianSummit, present your #TeamUp4Good post at the Swag Store and receive a special token of appreciation.

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