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Canva: A Force for Good in the Heart of San Francisco

June 11, 2024

An inspiring story of partnership has been unfolding between St. Anthony’s and Canva, the global design powerhouse. This partnership recently culminated in the remarkable transformation of a space on the 5th floor of St. Anthony’s main location at 150 Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco, dubbed the 5th Floor Empowerment Design Project, and stands as a testament to the impact of collaboration and community engagement.

A Commitment to the Community

Canva, renowned for its innovative design platform, has always positioned itself as a company with a purpose beyond profit. At the heart of Canva’s aspiration to do the most good is the Two-Step Plan: to build one of the most valuable companies in the world and then use that value to effect as much good as possible. This vision is deeply embedded in the company’s culture and motivates its team worldwide to engage in acts of kindness and community service, from organizing food drives to environmental clean-ups.

Aligning Missions

The partnership between St. Anthony’s and Canva was sparked by a shared vision of addressing homelessness and hardship, issues that are particularly evident in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. Megan Walsh, Canva’s global head of lifecycle marketing and a long-time resident of San Francisco, highlighted the city’s fluctuating cycles of prosperity and decline, noting the consistent challenge of meeting the needs of the unhoused. “St. Anthony’s long history of providing care with dignity aligns perfectly with how Canva builds its culture and presence in the community,” Megan remarked.

Echoing her sentiments, Silvia Oviedo, a Canva product and content executive, emphasized the significance of St. Anthony’s role in one of the city’s most challenged areas in providing a sense of compassion and belonging in the community.

Empowering Through Design

The 5th Floor Empowerment Design Project directly supports St. Anthony’s mission to foster hope and renewal for the guests they serve. This initiative transformed a previously unused space within St. Anthony’s into a calming and welcoming environment for adults and children facing tough transitions. “The project felt like creating a fresh start,” Silvia explained. Through thoughtful visuals and space design, Canva and St. Anthony’s aimed to empower individuals by providing them with a nurturing space that could serve as the foundation for rebuilding their lives.

Building a Sustainable Partnership

Canva’s engagement with St. Anthony’s extends beyond one-off volunteer efforts; it’s a partnership that thrives on continuous collaboration and mutual support. Canva’s team, from finance to marketing, regularly volunteers at St. Anthony’s and brings their unique skills to various projects, including specialized design work for the organization’s facilities like the 5th Floor Empowerment Design Project.

Megan advises other corporations seeking to make a significant impact: “Develop a relationship that goes beyond ad hoc volunteerism. Create engagement opportunities tailored to your strengths as a business.” This approach has not only enriched Canva’s team but has also strengthened their role in the community and amplified the impact of their contributions.

Looking Forward

As Canva continues to expand its role as a Force For Good, the company remains excited about the future of its partnership with St. Anthony’s. Both organizations are eager to explore additional collaborative projects and volunteering opportunities that will further drive community impact and empower San Francisco’s most marginalized communities.

A Model of Corporate Citizenship

Canva’s story with St. Anthony’s is a reminder that corporations can indeed be powerful agents of change. By leveraging their resources and expertise, companies like Canva can make a profound difference in the community, setting an inspiring example for others to follow.

This ongoing partnership addresses immediate community needs and builds a foundation for lasting impact. It demonstrates how businesses can effectively contribute to the social fabric of their localities through thoughtful and sustained collaboration.

If you’re interested in creating opportunities to positively impact the local community, contact Chloe Hall, Corporate Relationships Manager, at 415-592-2800 or chall@stanthonysf.org to discuss ways to collaborate!

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