Full Mozilla team picture taken during the Berlin All Hands, January 2020

Mozillians Use Expense Reimbursement to Care for Others

Earlier this week we shared how our staff is helping one another out during the Coronavirus crisis. And on March 13, Mozilla authorized $1,000 reimbursable expenses for employees to use at their discretion. The goal: to help us adjust to working from home, and to organize for changes to come in a scenario of extreme self-isolation. And while the money can be spent on things like IT equipment, furniture or childcare, several Mozillians have instead decided to use the reimbursement to support those around them: their families and their communities.

Helping immediate friends and family pay their bills is a big theme. One colleague, in particular, decided to help a friend who just lost her job (and is pregnant). Others want to help stock groceries and pay bills for family members who have stopped working.

Many of us are thinking about others in the community who are financially impacted by the social distancing, including those working in the service, entertainment, events and airport industries, and other small business owners. One colleague suggested leaving large tips:

screenshot of a Slack conversation. Jen Simmons slacked: "Give it in tips to the small businesses and workers in your community that are going to be hardest hit by all this."

We’re also thinking about the organizations that have long helped the most vulnerable among us: food banks, elderly support organizations, women’s shelters, volunteer fire departments, free meal school programs, and local churches.

screenshot of a Slack conversation. Travis Long slacked: "Our local Meals-on-Wheels will start delivering other necessities to local seniors to keep them from having to get out and about." Emily McMinn replied: " Yeah that gave me some warm fuzzies :heart: I was thinking of finding a local food back or meal delivery to donate to."

screenshot of a Slack conversation. Kim Moir slacked: "Our local food bank announced they are seeing a huge increase in need for cash donations because so many people have been suddenly laid off. Another idea is women's shelters (domestic violence increases in these types of situations), homeless shelters or charities that deliver meals to seniors."

screenshot of a Slack conversation. Alice Rhee slacked: "like others who are considering flexing this to others - I'm considering donating to my church, which is the central hub for many community-support initiatives (food bank, homeless outreach, gathering spaces for AA/NA, elder support, etc.)"

These are all great ideas and I’m glad that we are able to support all of them through this expense reimbursement. We’ve always said we put people first at Mozilla and it’s heartening to see how these ideas are proving that.

One common thread some observed is how privileged we feel to have a secure job in the tech industry and how much we want to help those that are most impacted by the situation and are not able to just “sit it out.” Seeing these conversations makes me proud to be a Mozillian.


Note: the feature image at the top of the post was taken in Berlin during a company All-Hands week-long retreat in late January 2020.