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A Deep Dive Into Our Philanthropic Efforts

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Volunteerism and philanthropy have always been engrained in our DNA – we've prided ourselves on using the resources we have and the passion our employees share to give back to communities in need. Only recently did we begin to formalize our philanthropic efforts globally and identify key partners for building ongoing relationships with, so we decided to put pen to paper and walk you through our journey... 

We went about this by creating a working group called our Philanthropy sub-scrum, which is derived from our larger Culture Scrum team – a cross-functional, multi-level and cross-regional team of culture carriers, who embody the very best of what the MarketAxess culture is all about. 

(FYI: we’ve adopted the Agile methodology here at MarketAxess, and our development teams are organized into scrum teams, which inspired us to use scrum teams in other areas of the company as well.) 

Meet our Philanthropy Sub-Scrum (clockwise from upper left): Vishesh Padnani, Gemma Bready, Nick Moss, Kathleen Harrison, Beth Nist

About our Philanthropy sub-scrum 

Our Philanthropy sub-scrum is deeply passionate about giving back to those in need in our surrounding communities. Unlike many large companies with dedicated social impact teams, this group of employees is focused on our philanthropic efforts in addition to their day jobs. Their primary focus is on establishing relationships with charitable organizations and organizing volunteer opportunities for our employees. While donating money to charities is something we are supportive of as a company (and there’s been many grassroots fundraising efforts here!), ultimately, our goal is to build meaningful, lasting partnerships with these organizations and empower our employees to get involved in volunteering efforts - and this wouldn’t be possible without the work our Philanthropy sub-scrum does. 

The MarketAxess Charitable Foundation 

In the last year, we have expanded our philanthropic and community partnerships and established the MarketAxess Charitable Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to work with organizations that support underserved communities, with an emphasis on youth education, equality, diversity, and inclusion. Our goal is to develop long-lasting relationships that provide opportunities for growth, both in terms of corporate involvement and employee participation. 

We thought we’d give a little more detail on how we support each one of our partners and how our employees play in active role in volunteer efforts.  

IntoUniversity 

IntoUniversity is a UK-based organization that looks to address the problem of educational inequality and social exclusion by supporting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to aspire and achieve their full potential. It operates local learning centers for young people where they are provided with a combination of specially designed, aspiration-raising days and weeks, Academic Support sessions, mentoring and careers-based Student Enrichment.  

What makes IU an ideal partner organization for us? Nick Moss, Head of Post Trade Product Management here shares “their values are closely aligned to our own in that they look to provide more opportunities to students from all backgrounds and therefore help to push DE&I.” 

One of the key components of our partnership with IU is their Big City Bright Future program – something we’ve participated in since 2018 – where 5 university students joined us virtually this summer to give them the opportunity to experience our work environment and explore different career opportunities with us. The students were able to spend time with a range of different MarketAxess teams, giving them a sense of what the workplace is like by shadowing and hearing about what our employees do. 

The students also worked on a mini project involving researching and presenting solutions on a self-service ticketing tool to help our Client Services team, and even heard from our summer interns that were part of our official program about their experiences applying for internship programs and their time with us. Our hope is to see the BCBF participants join us in our summer internship program next year! 

We've been amazed by how eager our employees have been to step up and support the IU students, and they’ve jumped in and helped out in various ways. “There are a lot of interesting and exciting areas for MarketAxess employees to get involved directly in helping to support these students through mentoring, business simulation exercises and forums,” Nick says. 

The feeling is mutual. “We are hugely grateful for the crucial funding support that the firm is donating towards our STEM-themed learning centre in Brixton, and we are excited for the young people we serve to benefit greatly from the volunteering support of MarketAxess' staff teams across a range of transformative programmes,” shares IntoUniversity.  “Acting as inspirational role models and sharing their professional advice and expertise with young people who are seeking careers in the STEM sector especially, MarketAxess' teams will make a vital difference in our young people's lives this year.” 

Bronx Lacrosse 

MarketAxess has partnered up with Bronx Lacrosse to give a helping hand in their classrooms and on the fields. The goal of the organization is to use lacrosse as a vehicle to build community, improve academic engagement as well as help children develop essential soft skills. The initiative also provides academic support and tutoring in order to help students reach their potential – which is where our employees come in.  

We kicked off our partnership with Bronx Lacrosse last fall with 5 virtual employee volunteers to provide mentorship and guidance to their mentees – all while the students were also learning the basics of playing lacrosse.  

Austin McDonald, a Client Sales Associate and one of our initial volunteers, found the experience to be incredibly rewarding, despite most of it being virtual. “I was impressed to see how eager my mentee was to not only complete his required assignments but also learn more and challenge himself during each session,” he shares. “I was able to attend a few practices and live games. It was amazing to see my student, as well as the whole team – many of which only just started playing lacrosse this year – compete at a high level and beat older teams with access to more resources.” 

Transitioning their academic and enrichment programming to a virtual setting due to the pandemic was no easy feat for Bronx Lacrosse, but we were there to support them every step of the way. Dan Leventhal, Founder, and President of Bronx Lacrosse shares, “MarketAxess provided Bronx Lacrosse with several dedicated and reliable volunteers to virtually tutor and mentor our students on a weekly basis throughout the school year. These virtual sessions conducted by MarketAxess employees were integral to our students’ success in the classroom during this very challenging year. Bronx Lacrosse is beyond thankful for MarketAxess' involvement, and we look forward to growing our partnership in the years to come." 

We had such a strong start with Bronx Lacrosse, that we are expanding our partnership for the coming year to help fund a year of tutoring and mentoring for 20 students – which means even more opportunities for our employees to get involved and make a meaningful difference in these students’ lives.   

It works both ways: “It was an awesome experience to be able to give back to the community,” shares Austin, “but I think I learned more from my student and these kids than I could ever teach."  

PENCIL 

PENCIL brings together business professionals, educators and students in over 500 NYC schools to open eyes, open minds and open doors via numerous hands-on initiatives and immersive programs. 

We specifically partnered up with Urban Assembly Gateway School for Technology (UAG) to work with 25 of their 11th graders for the 2020-2021 school year. The goal of PENCIL is to introduce students to different careers and tools within the fintech sector, as well as help them develop the necessary skills to successfully apply to internships – so we knew they’d be the perfect match for us as a partner. 

“From our first PENCIL meeting it was clear that the students of UAG had found their match in the MarketAxess team,” says Hannah Chan, Program Manager at PENCIL. “Our MarketAxess volunteers’ thoughtful guidance, mentorship and expertise has created impactful connections and shown students the many possibilities of working in the tech industry.” 

For Kate Sullivan, one of our employee volunteers and the Product Manager for Munis, getting involved in the PENCIL partnership was personal. “Gaining exposure to how tech companies operate through co-ops and firm partnerships as an engineering student was a major part of my own path towards a career in technology. I'm grateful that MarketAxess provides opportunities for employees like myself to pay it forward to current tech students like those at UAG through our partnership with PENCIL." 

So how exactly did we do this? Each week, PENCIL prepared an agenda on topics that would be helpful for the students to learn about, such as how to answer interview questions, how to prepare a resume, and creating a LinkedIn profile. And our employees, like Nithi Subbaian, a developer at MarketAxess, then met with students one-on-one in virtual breakout rooms. “This partnership with PENCIL allowed me to share what I've learned by working at MarketAxess, as well as get to know the students and learn their interests and what they're working on,” she shares.  

Kristina Dvorakovskaya, principal of UAG, sums it up the best: “For Gateway students, superheroes look a bit different. They fight cybersecurity attacks. They scour lines of code for errors. They build networks and develop software. Through our partnership with MarketAxess, our students were able to meet their superheroes and get a unique insight on what it takes to become one!” Talk about inspiring! 

It’s been so rewarding to see the results of the partnerships with these organizations, and we look forward to expanding the work we do with each of them...and bringing on even more employee volunteers in the future (hopefully in person!).