Golden Volunteer

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We strive for Golden Moments, those moments that tie us to the people around us, when you are happy where you are, and you know it.


At Golden, we believe that individuals deserve the opportunity to gain fulfillment through volunteering without having to jump through hoops.


We also believe that purposeful organizations deserve innovative tools and robust analytics to quickly accomplish their objectives with minimal logistical headaches.


Whether you are an organization looking to mobilize supporters, a company or a school looking to engage your employees and students in meaningful service, or a city or foundation looking to promote your non-profit partners and drive civic engagement, Golden is the ecosystem for you.


But at the heart of it all remains a simple notion - let's eliminate the hurdles that prevent any person from participating and contributing.



A note from the Founder & CEO


Just after graduating from high school, my three best friends and I took a 12,000-mile road trip across the country. I kept a journal to document the deep thoughts that only seem to pass through my head when I have spent days apart from the structure of my everyday life. And, believe it or not, one of the things I pondered was: “Why is volunteering so complicated? Why has it been so hard for me to participate in volunteer programs, when I just want to be generous with my time? Do friends who volunteer genuinely care about the institutions they support, and did they always know what causes moved them? Do I need to pick which causes are better than others? Am I just underqualified to volunteer, or is the system working against me?”

That September, I began my undergraduate studies at Stanford – first as a Public Policy major and eventually as the school’s first Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation major. One Thursday in 2006, in front of my class of 12 students, I pitched an idea I had been developing since that road trip: a website to connect everyone with volunteer opportunities based only on what they like to do for fun.


That afternoon, I received a phone call from the class’s guest speaker, who told me that two giant Silicon Valley tech companies wanted to invest in the idea – and our team had not yet even incorporated our business entity.


On Sunday, we ate breakfast at the Palo Alto Sheraton, thumbing through a 70-page “Term Sheet.” On Monday, I asked my advisor how to approach my junior and senior years. He printed out a one-page form and told me, “Sign here. It’s all you need to drop out of Stanford.” That was the day I became a social entrepreneur.


By Summer 2007, our team had built Pinwheel.org, which at the time was the most comprehensive database of concrete volunteer opportunities that anyone over age 13 could join in San Francisco. We encountered every imaginable technical, operational, and financial hurdle, and we interacted with thousands of organizations, volunteers, and schools. I was then presented another unexpected opportunity: David Kelley, Founder of IDEO, had started a design school, “the d.School,” at Stanford. The overall purpose was to install empathy through teaching User-Centered Design methodologies to a select pool of graduate students. My work at Pinwheel seemed relevant to the d.School, so I was invited to enroll in an Organizational Behavior Masters program where I wrote my thesis on recruiting, retaining, and optimizing the lifetime value of volunteers and built essential creative frameworks in Kelley’s new program.


I completed my graduate and, subsequently, my undergraduate programs in June 2009 - an unlucky time to finish school let alone raise money for a social enterprise. Realizing my entrepreneurial soft spot in the eyes of investors was operating chops, I wrote a letter to my favorite business mogul, pitching ideas to implement a modern incarnation of their core business; I became his firm’s first Head of Corporate Innovation. I later scaled a multi-national, technology management consultancy and advised dozens of high- growth startups along the way to returning to my passion of reimagining volunteering.


With our current team’s real-world education, we introduced Golden in 2015 - a product of nearly two decades of exploration and experimentation.


I believe that technology should be used to facilitate deeper, fulfilling connections with those around us and that true happiness comes from the satisfaction of incredible personal relationships.


By making it easier to volunteer (and to manage volunteers), more of us will be able to live longer, happier lives while simultaneously allowing organizations to move forward with their important missions.


It’s been a long journey for me, but I’m thrilled to be experiencing each step, each Golden Moment.


  - Sam


Our Story
The Team

Sam Fankuchen

Founder & CEO

Prior to Golden, Sam worked in corporate innovation at Penske and as Managing Director of Applico, where he helped Google, HP, Disney and others launch new platform businesses.

Before that, he founded Pinwheel, which became the most comprehensive database of volunteer jobs open to anyone in San Francisco, and a peer counseling program that has served thousands of high school students.

He’s an accomplished entrepreneur and mentor at Launchpad LA, Amplify LA, and Stanford Haas Center for Public Service.

Sam received MA & BA degrees from Stanford, where he studied Social Entrepreneurship, Organizational Behavior, and Design Thinking.

Steve Sherrill

COO

Steve is a multi-faceted team player with a deep connection to civic engagement. In government, he’s worked in the White House and under Mayor Michael Bloomberg as a Senior Policy Advisor. In business, he’s worked in private equity with Global Infrastructure Partners and led brand marketing and e-commerce for Royal Robbins.

Since high school, Steve has been passionate about volunteering and mentoring, specifically for middle and high school students. He has taught math, entrepreneurship, writing, and English language courses in the USA and abroad. He received his BA in political science from Yale.

Rob Petit

Head of Engineering

Golden’s Head of Engineering has three decades of software development experience, most of which has involved mobile and remote computing.

In his past life, he worked in R&D labs within some of the nation’s most admired aerospace companies. Other notable accomplishments include prototyping a wearable for a major manufacturer, and incubating engineering teams within several well-known startups.

He is a lifelong volunteer and animal lover.

Michelle Chiang

Head of Design

Michelle has a diverse and well-rounded background in creating thoughtful experiences within recreation, finance, e-commerce, health care, media, and entertainment industries. She has experience evolving with startups and companies going through acquisitions and mergers.

As an advocate for holistic design, she leads by example in collaborating with her engineering and product counterparts. She is passionate about distilling complexities into intuitive and friendly solutions.

Building systems for the betterment of humanity is one of her core philosophies in life. Michelle received her BFA in Graphic Design from Virginia Commonwealth University, VCUarts.

When she’s not designing or brewing up ideas, you’ll likely find her outside learning a new sport or going on a hike!

Allan Soriano

Head of Quality Assurance

As Head of QA, Allan’s goal is to always deliver the highest quality product. He works with our Product, Engineering and Marketing teams to constantly improve the user experience. Previously, he worked as Senior and Lead QA at companies such as Fandango and TrueCar.

Upon receiving the job offer at Golden, Allan was excited to join a team that made making a difference easier and more accessible through technology.

Outside of work, Allan loves bringing people together through happy hours, game nights or parties — He was also an ex-DJ and used to own a food truck!

Albert Blanco

Head of Support

Albert has over eight years of customer service experience in building and leading teams. Prior to Golden, Albert helped to build and expand the in-person, driver-based customer service vertical at Uber for his region of the U.S.

Passionate about science and process improvement, Albert brings an analytical approach to the team and loves being a problem solver. He has a strong sense of community due to his family’s military background and his involvement in philanthropy throughout college. He has also spent nearly all of his professional experience in technology companies and believes that technological advancements have the potential to radically improve lives globally.

Brian Henze

Lead Integrations Engineer

Brian started his tech adventures early in life by taking apart random household appliances just to see how they worked and if he could put them back together. Fast forward a few decades and today, his passions include building a better future by taking advantage of the hacker skills he acquired along his journey, spending time learning the mysteries of the universe, and building a stronger, more connected community.

His professional journey includes over a decade of software engineering experience with multiple Fortune 500 companies as well as seeing two companies blossom from startups to publicly-traded entities. Brian has worked on everything from embedded software projects to fullstack web applications to managing hundreds of physical servers running thousands of applications. He has been on teams that built products from highly secure communications devices to payment processors that handled over a billion in revenue each year.

Brian Wyant

Lead Platform Engineer

Prior to Golden, Brian has worked at a string of startups, helping to scale their systems and processes. Having spent half his life programming and working in different areas, he’s got stories.

From years of interest in psychology and the softer sides of our human experience, Brian is excited to contribute to Golden’s mission. He believes technology is a massive lever for societal change, and believes that increasing human connection through positive volunteering experiences has the potential to contribute to widespread issues such as depression and anomie.

Fun fact: Brian joined a dance crew here in LA, and took 4th place at the amateur competitions at Camp Hollywood. If you’ve got a little jitterbug in you, perhaps you’ll see him out there.

Felipe Arroyo

Lead Front End Engineer

With 20 years of experience in the engineering industry, Felipe has specialized in strategy, technology and design. Previously, he consulted for major companies including Saatchi, Deloitte, Sapient and AKQA and contributed to numerous award-winning projects for Google, Nike, Disney, HBO, ESPN and more.

Because of his lifelong passion for volunteering, Felipe has spent decades as a math and science tutor. He also is the President and Head Coach of a Youth Football & Cheer 501 (c) (3) NPO serving young children (ages 5-14) and families in the community for over 10 years.

Fun fact about Felipe: He’s an un-official Seinfeld aficionado and can name the title of the episode by watching a 15-second clip.

Hallie Uhrig

Community Manager

Golden’s Community Manager is a soon-to-be graduate at the University of Florida. It is at school, while serving as the CMO of her sorority, where Hallie found her love for volunteering and all things philanthropy.

Hallie has a background in a wide variety of creative fields including architecture, graphic design, and performing arts. At Golden, Hallie combines her passions to develop and scale innovative solutions for volunteers, organizers, and community managers across sectors.

Anna Rehm

UI/UX Designer

Anna leads the product design for web applications at Golden. She loves solving tough challenges by creating interfaces with the user in mind. At Golden, this involves making tools that are beautiful and intuitive to help the organizer make powerful decisions to improve engagement or create better opportunities.

Prior to Golden, her career included working on e-commerce and SaaS products for the auto and food industries. She’s thrilled to be working on a product that is meaningful and creating social change. She’s applying her industry disruption skills to the volunteering space.