By Luke Kanies, founder and CEO of Puppet

One of Puppet’s (and my) strongest beliefs is the importance of expanding access to technology and education throughout every swath of the country and economy. In our modern economy, technology is the basis for economic development and moving up the social ladder, so expanding access to technology is critical to ensuring that everyone in the economy has the chance to truly compete for success. Expanding access is also critical to ensuring that technology is used to address everyone’s problems — not just the problems experienced by a narrowly defined group.

As a small company working hard to build a great business, Puppet doesn’t have a lot of money to donate. But our employees do care deeply about the community and our society, so we put our philanthropic dollars and effort into creating more access to technology and technical education for more people. By partnering with our fellow Portland-area companies, including Elemental Technologies, New Relic, Simple and Vacasa, we can do more, and bring more attention to the causes that matter in our tech community.

As a perfect example, this year’s 4K 4Charity Fun Run benefits Rosemary Anderson High School, which helps young people who are having a hard time in life to stay in school and graduate, thus hopefully enabling further success in their lives. Those who do not graduate from high school earn less over their lifetimes, and also have a harder time maintaining economic security for themselves and their families.

Rosemary Anderson does a great job for disadvantaged young people, and has been doing it for more than 30 years. If you want to know more about its work, and the results, watch this video.

Last year, the 4K 4Charity Fun Run raised more than $55,000 for Rosemary Anderson High School, and this year, we want to raise even more. Just as importantly, the run brings more visibility to Rosemary Anderson High School and the young people it’s benefiting, thus giving them access to role models and opportunities they would otherwise rarely have.

The consequences are great if we fail to include every part of our society in our technology-driven world. People without that access can do less than their peers for themselves and their families, and risk falling behind even more over the generations. We need to help young people now, especially young disadvantaged people trying to build a basis of education, so they can build better lives for themselves, their families and their children.

The benefits go way beyond these individuals, though. The world is full of smart, poor kids; if they’re given the chance to learn and develop, they can contribute their intelligence, creativity and unique viewpoint to solving society’s problems. We all benefit when everyone has equal access to education.

Rosemary Anderson High School students are those without access to the great things so many of us take for granted. This simple event can bring significant funding and attention to the work of changing these students’ lives. We support this work, we think every Portland company should, and we think you should, as an individual human being.