Guest Post from BostonCarlos: $50,000 Brass Ring

11.2.2015 | 11:09 am

NewImageA Note from Fatty: Carlos is pretty much a Superfriend of Fatty. And of everyone else he meets. He’s just like that. He’s also the kind of guy who gets things done. 

Specifically, he recently orchestrated a $50,000 donation to World Bicycle Relief. I find his attitude and willingness to think big and execute really inspiring, so I asked him to write up how he did this, to share on the blog. 

$50,000 Brass Ring

In the middle of my trip home from a long conference week in Las Vegas, I stopped in JFK airport in New York City for my connecting flight to Boston. Five hours on a plane is plenty of time to miss important stuff at work, so I quickly loaded the corporate mail app on my phone.

The first e-mail read, “Hi Carlos, YEF is extremely pleased to inform you that World Bicycle Relief has been recommended to receive a YEF Impact Grant of $50,000!”.




That’s a lot of money.

If you know me, you’ll very easily imagine that I didn’t care who was looking and started dancing for joy in the middle of a very busy terminal.

How It Happened

But let’s rewind a bit. How did this grant come to be? Last year, I found out that Yahoo (my employer) had a fund called the Yahoo Employee Fund (YEF for short). The company describes it thusly:

Founded by Yahoo employees in 1999 with leadership from David Filo and Jerry Yang, the Yahoo Employee Foundation is a grassroots, philanthropic organization that gives Yahoo employees easy and accessible ways to give back to their communities. YEF is funded through employee donations – many of which are matched by Yahoo itself. Employees are then eligible to champion grants for organizations they believe in for groups of representative Yahoo employees to vote on.

TL;DR: employees ante into the pot and then they decide which charitable foundations end up getting the money. There are millions of dollars in said pot and several rounds of funding each year.

Anyways, I found out about this fund and a lightbulb went off. I immediately set up my paycheck to auto-donate a portion of my earnings and I found the paperwork to start applying for grants for WBR.

World Bicycle Relief has been near and dear to my heart since Elden introduced us to them a few years ago. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to donate a few bikes a year since. And even more luckily, I was a winner in one of Elden’s famous “Grand Slams” and ride an Ibis Ripley now because of it!


After looking at the paperwork, the first round of funding we were eligible for was $1,000. I reached out to the amazing and wonderful Katie Bolling of WBR and let her know we had this opportunity. Katie and I filled out the paperwork and applied. It was really as simple as that.

A few weeks later, we were notified we were approved for a $1,000 grant! I can’t express how low-hassle both YEF and WBR made this application process. All I had to do was explain why WBR deserved the grant and talk about how much I love the organization – two seriously easy things for me.

We went through one more $1,000 grant cycle successfully before it was time to apply for the big kahuna: a $50,000 Impact Grant. I got back in touch with Katie Bolling and Tricia Puskar at WBR.

The big difference this time was the even more extensive research the YEF board does into how the funds will be used and the impact that usage will have. After a few weeks of putting the necessary information together and one very close call with the deadline, we were fully submitted for consideration. Now it was time to wait. This was July of 2015.

Big Day

Back to October and my return from Las Vegas. We got approved. Pure elation was running through my body. Four long months of waiting were over, and we had been selected. Doing my happy dance in the airport looking like a total buffoon.

Doing the math in my head I realized that we’d be able to put more than 250 bikes in the field in Kenya. That’s 250+ students with better attendance, better grades, healthier lives, and more time in their day to do the things they need to do. Thousands of lives changed. I was/am just a little proud that we got this crazy grant approved.

Not So Crazy

Reflecting on the process though, I realized it wasn’t that crazy. The hardest part of it was the waiting. It made me think about how many friends of WBR work for awesome companies like Yahoo. How many people have at least a donation matching program with their empolyer?

My bet is that there are a lot of you out there.

PS:  If you’re on Twitter, think about tweeting @YahooEF and @Yahoo your thoughts on the grant. I think they deserve a huge pat on the back!


  1. Comment by Likey No Bikey | 11.2.2015 | 11:38 am

    FANTASTIC! Nicely done BostonCarlos, YEF, Katie, and Tricia.

  2. Comment by wharton_crew | 11.2.2015 | 11:45 am

    Carlos, as a former Yahoo (we overlapped by 2 months, apparently) I know and appreciate the YEF. But the YEF doesn’t do anything without people like you who actually take the time to get the wheels turning.

    Major thanks to you for taking this initiative!

  3. Comment by Jenni | 11.2.2015 | 11:52 am

    Absolutely inspiring!!

  4. Comment by NZ Ev | 11.2.2015 | 12:08 pm

    Fantastic Carlos!!!!

  5. Comment by PNP | 11.2.2015 | 12:09 pm

    AMAZING! Off to see if my company has something like this…

  6. Comment by DaveT | 11.2.2015 | 12:18 pm

    Way to go Carlos!

  7. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 11.2.2015 | 12:29 pm

    Great Job Carlos! I’ll buy you a beer when we see you next!

    And thank you Elden for making us all more involved, and willing to give.

  8. Comment by Corrine | 11.2.2015 | 12:35 pm

    Way to go, BostonCarlos, YEF and WBR. You guys rock!

  9. Comment by Eric T. | 11.2.2015 | 1:25 pm

    Chapeau to both Yahoo!(and its YEF) and Boston Carlos! Good people doing good things.

  10. Comment by Kate | 11.2.2015 | 1:46 pm

    That’s awesome! Well done all around!

  11. Comment by leroy | 11.2.2015 | 2:16 pm

    Dear Boston Carlos: Wow!

  12. Comment by Frank W | 11.2.2015 | 2:59 pm

    Great job Carlos!!!! You’re the man.

  13. Comment by BostonCarlos | 11.2.2015 | 4:13 pm

    Thanks for posting this, Elden! Super proud of Yahoo, YEF, the team (katie, tricia, myself), and the FoF contingent who gave me the drive to keep going on this. Lots of smiling going on on this side of the computer screen these days. This is the best community ever. Love you guys.

  14. Comment by Heidi | 11.2.2015 | 4:40 pm

    Absolutely fantastic!

  15. Comment by Doug (way upstate NY) | 11.2.2015 | 6:44 pm


  16. Comment by MattC | 11.2.2015 | 10:05 pm

    Way to go CARLOS! You da MAN!!! That is HUGE HUGE HUGE! I tried years back (when Fatty first turned us on to fundraising for Livestrong) to get my company (Lockheed Martin) going with the matching donations…turns out it’s not something they want you to be able to do…and I couldn’t get ANYONE in my company to help me…and I had talked to Livestrong people and they couldn’t help navigate the corporate doo-doo. I might have to try again w/ WBR and see if we can work something out…though our program I believe is only matching donations (I raised over $3500 that first year, which was horrifically hard for me). I’m still quite impressed and when I get back off travel I will approach HR and see if SOMEBODY can help me navgate the dark waters of getting $ from the faceless entity.

  17. Comment by Amy Thompson | 11.2.2015 | 10:55 pm

    Great work Carlos, Katie, and Tricia! And nice job shining a light on this Fatty! We are so proud to be Friends of fatty and World Bicycle Relief.

  18. Comment by Cyclingjimbo | 11.3.2015 | 12:52 pm

    Great work, and congratulations to Carlos, Katie, and Tricia! Well done.

    This is another great example of how things go in Fatty’s universe. Lots of really good people doing really good things. Good karma.


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