Tackling big issues like hunger, poverty and others can be daunting. Where do you start? How do you get involved? How do you fix the problem? It’s like looking at a giant puzzle while holding a single piece in your hand, unable to see the final picture or where you can fit.
But, Randy Riggins, Senior Engineering Manager, sees it differently — your piece helps contribute to the solution, no matter how small it may seem. That’s the mentality he has taken to tackle the issues most important to him – giving deserving charities a platform, and empowering youth.
Randy would often talk with his friend Gary, an entertainment industry veteran, about how to support small, struggling charities. When Gary pitched a TV show idea that would do just that, Randy was all in. Thus, “Give” was born.
“Give” awards grants to deserving, small charities while also giving them television exposure. The show is hosted by NBC News correspondent and the founder of UNICEF’s Next Generation, Jenna Bush Hager as well as actor Blair Underwood.
Randy works as a producer for “Give” and technical lead for its digital presence. He uses his strong technical background and Adobe knowledge to help the show in its efforts to support charities that impact youth and their communities. Some of his work includes developing the show’s website with Gameheads (pictured above), a youth program that uses video game design, development and DevOps to engage, prepare and train low-income youth and youth of color ages 11 to 24 in the Bay Area. With their help, they worked on a companion mobile app which will allow users to nominate charities and get the backstories of both the charities and the celebrities visiting the show.
And the show has been on the up-and-up — the first season inspired over 3 million dollars in donations from viewers and internationally-known philanthropists. “Give” is also planning to use some of the proceeds to secure Bay Area housing for youth working their way into the tech field.
Each “Give” episode follows a similar format — a group of celebrities visit two different charities and determine how to split a money grant between the two. Celebrities featured in past episodes include Connie Stevens, Cobi Jones and Chef Sunny Anderson. The show hopes to bring on others like Ben Stiller, Jennifer Lopez and George Zimmer in the future.
No matter the amount of money, the charities’ members and leaders usually have the same reaction —cheering, clapping and maybe a few happy tears.
“The feel-good moment of the show is definitely seeing the charities’ reaction to the donation,” Randy shared.
Lifting Youth with Project 1324
Helping others doesn’t stop when Randy leaves the “Give” TV set and clocks in for work —Randy’s day job is as an engineering manager for Project 1324, an Adobe-owned platform that serves as the only global community for emerging creatives to grow, connect and express their creativity.
Randy worked on several products and technical projects in Digital Media before moving to the world of Sustainability and Social Impact (SSI). Working on Adobe Project 1324 was the perfect fit for him.
“Being able to go into SSI and still create a product while having access to outreach initiatives was an ideal mix for me,” Randy shared.
How to Help
Every bit counts when helping a community, but it can still be difficult to know how you fit into the solution. Randy’s suggestion? Find your passion and let that guide you. For him, it’s about helping youth who have less access to resources than others.
“That’s the world I came from,” Randy said. “I want to get more people who look like me in tech.”
And what about when things get hard? Randy just looks at his children to remember why he invests so much in the communities around him. His son is a successful real-estate agent and his daughter graduated law school and is now the youngest partner at the firm she works for. They succeeded because they received support and resources that others, unfortunately, lack.
“My children inspire me to reach out and help other youth. You can change lives by opening a door or two,” Randy shared.