About Us

2021 Mission Year in Review: Brightspot working to make a difference in over 6,000 lives

2021 Bike Build Group Photo

Through 28 projects over 12 months, Brightspot impacted over 6,000 lives and provided employees with over 380 opportunities to give back.

Like 2020 before it, 2021 was a year full of new challenges. As vaccines became more widely available during the first half of the year, we watched as the world slowly opened and established the new definition of "normal."

At the beginning of 2021, we were still working to meet the needs of our local community while engaging a mostly remote workforce spread across the country in both a safe and fulfilling way. We were able to return to in-person volunteer opportunities in the second half of the year.

Through 28 projects over 12 months, Brightspot impacted over 6,000 lives and provided employees with over 380 opportunities to give back.

Feeding our neighbors

Not only has the COVID-19 pandemic threatened the lives and livelihoods of so many, but it has also greatly increased food insecurity in our country. With food banks and pantries still facing high demand, Brightspot employees continued the mission of feeding our neighbors in need.

Brights volunteers at the Arlington Food Assistance Center
A group of Brightspot volunteers after their shift at the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) in Shirlington, Virginia

In the winter of 2021, Brightspot participated in two food drives for Food for Others and the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC). Another event included a virtual food drive in support of the Food for Other PP3 program benefiting local elementary school children. We also were able to send groups to AFAC’s Arlington warehouse on two different occasions to help sort and bag food donations for their weekly clients.

As some employees began returning to the office on a more regular basis, we began a quarterly tradition of packing lunches to feed those experiencing homelessness. We packed and donated over 200 lunches to feed our neighbors in need through PathForward.and Cornerstones Embry Rucker Shelter. We look forward to continuing these efforts in 2022.

Supporting local youth

At Brightspot, we believe in doing everything we can to to help all children have the opportunity to thrive. Throughout the year we provide support to children and families through a variety of different programs.

Brightspot volunteer work
Brightspot Chief Information Officer David Habib mentoring a young student from Aldrin Elementary School

Soaring with the Aldrin Eagles

We continue our partnership with Buzz Aldrin Elementary, a school located just down the road from our Reston, Virginia headquarters.

In 2020, Brightspot kicked off a successful in-person mentorship program with Aldrin. This Big Brother/Big Sister-style program matched 12 employees with fourth and fifth-grade students with a range of needs. The goal was to provide students with positive role models that they could lean on for support as they began their transition to middle school. Throughout 2021, this program transitioned from in-person to virtual, with 16 students receiving mentorship from Brightspot employees.

At the end of April our first in-person volunteer opportunity of 2021 and to celebrate Aldrin students return to the classroom, a group of Brightspot employees traveled to Aldrin to complete a number of beautification projects across the school grounds. This included landscaping around the school’s sign, and revamping two different gardens on the property.

Brightspot volunteers pose in front of one of Aldrin's school gardens
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Brightspot volunteers pose in front of one of Aldrin's school gardens
Another group shot at Aldrin on Beautification Day
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Another group shot at Aldrin on Beautification Day
Brightspot employees revamp the school's community garden
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Brightspot employees revamp the school's community garden
The team from Brightspot planted a mix of flowers, plants, and vegetables in the community garden
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The team from Brightspot planted a mix of flowers, plants, and vegetables in the community garden
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Brightspot volunteers pose in front of one of Aldrin's school gardens
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In August, we hosted another back-to-school drive to benefit Aldrin. 37 employees filled 42 backpacks with school supplies to set students up for success in the coming year. Along with school supplies, many employees donated new or gently used books in support of the "Aldrin Reads" program.

In 2021, in addition to the beautification day and school supply drive, we look forward to volunteering in Aldrin’s "Maker Room" STEAM space, as we help students learn more about careers in computer science and product management.

Back to Camp Letts

Summer 2021 also meant the return to summer camp for many children, which meant the return of Brightspot’s YMCA Camp Letts scholarships. To date, Brightspot has donated over 290 weeks of camp to youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. This year, Brightspot sent 24 kids to Camp Letts, with the scholarships split evenly between three local YMCA branches.

Making holidays merry and bright

Brightspot employees volunteer work
Team Brightspot at holiday-decorating volunteer day at Boulder Crest in Bluemont, Virginia

We kicked off the 2021 holiday season with a new mission partnership with Boulder Crest.

Boulder Crest is an organization with a mission of helping veterans and first responders struggling with PTSD rediscover hope, purpose and a belief in a future that is truly worth living.

On Monday, November 29, a group of 15 volunteers traveled to Boulder Crest’s Bluemont, Virginia, campus to learn more about the organization and decorate the lodge and cabins for the heroes and their families who would be staying there over the holiday season.

Brightspot purchased, built, and donated bicycles on behalf of each of our customers to 100 local children. On Tuesday, December 14, over 30 employees got together to assemble the bikes, with the help of experts from The Bike Lane and Spokes Etc. These bikes will be donated to Buzz Aldrin Elementary School, YMCA Calomiris, and children and families at the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter in Reston and Doorways in Arlington.

Photo gallery: Brightspot's 2021 holiday bicycle build


2021 Bike Build Group Photo
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Brightspot employees building bicycles for local children
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Brightspot employees building bicycles for local children
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Brightspot employees building bicycles for local children
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Brightspot employees building bicycles for local children
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Brightspot employees building bicycles for local children
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Brightspot employees building bicycles for local children
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Brightspot employees building bicycles for local children
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Brightspot employees building bicycles for local children
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Brightspot employees building bicycles for local children
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Brightspot employees building bicycles for local children
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Brightspot employees building bicycles for local children
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Brightspot employees building bicycles for local children
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Brightspot employees building bicycles for local children
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Brightspot employees building bicycles for local children
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Brightspot employees building bicycles for local children
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Brightspot employees building bicycles for local children
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To close out a year of giving, the Brightspot community came together to support the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, which provides holiday gifts to deserving children in need. This year 76 employees adopted 115 Angels, providing them with clothes and toys to help them celebrate the holiday season. In addition to sponsoring this group of angels, a team of 16 volunteers traveled to the Salvation Army warehouse on December 17 to help distribute the gifts to families in a safe and socially distanced environment.

Brightspot employees volunteer work
Brightspot volunteers at the Salvation Army's Hyattsville, Maryland warehouse for the annual Angel Tree gift distribution day

Powering a global movement for inclusion

Brightspot has been the lead digital partner for Special Olympics for over a decade. Continuing to invest in their technological infrastructure during the pandemic has been critical to enabling Special Olympics to meaningfully connect with its athletes, volunteers and donors. To date, we’ve designed, developed and launched 15 properties to support the movement, and our in-kind work continues to make a significant difference for Special Olympics both globally and locally.

January 14, 2021
Special Olympics and Brightspot recently launched multi-site websites for Special Olympics Tennessee and Special Olympics Virginia, equipping them with tools to restructure the information architecture to make it easier for athletes, caregivers, coaches, volunteers, and prospective donors to find the content they need.
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Helping Special Olympics adapt to a new world

Following the 2018 redesign of the Special Olympics website and inspired by the global use of other Brightspot customers, we sought to empower Special Olympics programs around the world to build their own websites on a shared platform.

After launching the first state program site, Special Olympics Virginia, in summer 2020, Special Olympics Tennessee became the second program site to migrate to Brightspot in January 2021. By empowering programs with Brightspot it makes it easier than ever for these programs to align with the global mission and share the organization's message of inclusion and achievement.

Following the launch of Special Olympic Tennessee, we also completed a migration of a Eunice Kennedy Shriver website to the Special Olympics' core CMS, creating a beautiful new experience dedicated to the founder of Special Olympics. This section features more information about her life, a media library, tribute letters and an opportunity to pledge to include.

In early April 2021, we also launched the 2022 Kazan World Winter Games site. The Kazan World Games site is published in three languages—English, Russian, and Tatar—and marked the start of a broader three-year commitment to deliver solutions for the 2022 Kazan Games, 2023 Berlin Games and a revamped live schedule and results platform that builds on our previous work from the Abu Dhabi World Games in 2019.

In the fall, Brightspot kicked off work on a host of new enhancements for the Special Olympics family of sites, including custom modules for a new interactive inclusive health experience coming in 2022.

Supporting Special Olympics locally

At Brightspot, we are proud to do our part in the inclusion revolution. Led by Brightspot employee and decorated Special Olympics athlete Rose Pleskow, we were once again able to celebrate with a virtual version of Spread the Word Day in March. On that day, employees had the opportunity to play an inclusion-themed game of bingo and sign a virtual banner, pledging to continue to promote acceptance and inclusion of all people in a variety of ways.

In June, as sports resumed for Special Olympics Virginia (SOVA), Brightspot organized local volunteer opportunities for our employees to experience the joy of Special Olympics in-person once again.

First, in June a group of volunteers came out in support of SOVA as they co-hosted a rugby clinic with Wolfpack Rugby. Soon after, eight volunteers from Team Brightspot helped run SOVA’s Summer Series Potomac Softball Tournament. Volunteers assisted with announcing, scorekeeping, awards preparation and presentation, and general hospitality.

Another group of volunteers hit the pitch to support SOVA’s Area 26 Soccer Invitational Tournament in October. In between ball running and scorekeeping for different games, Brightspot volunteers had plenty of time to cheer on the athletes as they competed on a beautifully sunny fall day.

Next up: We look forward to planning a unified bowling night in spring 2022, as well as sending a group of volunteers to the upcoming 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in June in Orlando, Florida.

Looking ahead to 2022

In 2022, we look forward to reviving and reimagining many events and partnerships that have been on hold since the start of the pandemic, including the Brightspot Unified Challenge golf tournament. We will also continue to explore and expand on our partnerships and new opportunities and have high hopes for a phenomenal year ahead.

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