EVERFI hosted the grand opening of its new global headquarters on Tuesday, September 17th. This occasion celebrated the company’s new 80,000 square foot office space accommodating more than 550 employees in the West End neighborhood of Washington, D.C. A far cry from the company’s start 11 years ago, when the founders and earliest employees worked out of a small Georgetown rowhouse and EVERFI CEO Tom Davidson’s desk was located in the kitchen.
Davidson, Mayor Muriel Bowser, and actor/comedian Kenan Thompson of Saturday Night Live gave remarks to a crowd of local business leaders and EVERFI customers. The group was congregated in what the company fondly calls The Delta Room. Imprinted on its floor is a map of the Mississippi Delta; a region in which some of the nation’s lowest-income schools are located and whose students were the first recipients of EVERFI’s education programs back in 2009. The Delta is a high-traffic area of the office and a constant reminder to employees of the impact they are making in the communities that need it the most.
EVERFI creates digital education products–including lessons on financial literacy, digital citizenship, substance abuse prevention, and office conduct and culture–and implements them in schools and institutions across the U.S. with the financial support of third party buyers, including BB&T, HSBC, MassMutual,, and UBS. To further ensure the success of these programs, the company brings together coalitions of devoted advocates including local and national stakeholders, public figures, policymakers, thought-leaders, foundations, educators, and sports leagues (NFL, NHL, MLB, Premier League, and U.S. women’s national soccer team)–all committed to building a system to empower and equip young people and adults with the skills to lead happier, healthier lifestyles.
From left to right: Jon Chapman, Ray Martinez, Muriel Bowser, Tom Davidson, Kenan Thompson
It’s an innovative business model that engages private businesses to be part of the solution to the country’s inadequate education system. “We can’t just rely on the government and the nonprofit sector,” said Davidson. “Education is the only major GDP driver in the country where the private sector has basically taken a knee and has not done its part to invest in schools the way it should. Part of that is creating a really efficient system to allow that to happen, and that’s what we’ve done.”
Mayor Bowser commended the rapid growth of private sector jobs in D.C., outpacing government jobs. “We are attracting more tech companies and tech talent and we are proud to be the number one city for women in technology,” said Mayor Bowser. “I am frequently challenging our tech partners to think about ways to help us with bigger issues. We know technology has been very good at connecting people–with dates, with rides, with faster ways to get food delivered to their homes–and just think what EVERFI has done to use technology to connect many deserving people to better services and better opportunities and better lives.”
“I am frequently challenging our tech partners to think about ways to help us with bigger issues. We know technology has been very good at connecting people–with dates, with rides, with faster ways to get food delivered to their homes–and just think what EVERFI has done to use technology to connect many deserving people to better services and better opportunities and better lives.”
Thompson spoke about his own humble beginnings and his decision to support EVERFI’s programs in schools in New York City and beyond. “Certain communities are thought of less often than others, so what EVERFI is doing really intrigued me,” he said. “They’re reaching out to the other side and balancing the scale. These are actual lives that are being changed, these are futures that are being carved out with a little more fairness and that’s a beautiful thing.”
Davidson stated that the role of the CEO in America is dramatically changing (and the Business Roundtable agrees). CEOs now have a responsibility, and business incentive, to become more socially and civically minded, both internally and externally. “The default position that the only job of CEOs of companies is to return the shareholder value isn’t going to cut it anymore,” said Davidson. Today’s workforce and consumers care about things like education access, pay equity, diversity and inclusion, harassment, and unconscious bias training and they have expectations of business leaders to step in. They want to be employed by and customers of companies that invest in bettering society and that take a stance against injustices.
“It is a totally new day of corporate social responsibility,” said Davidson, “and EVERFI believes that we can be the operating system behind that. We’ve started to build those pieces that allow for this kind of outward and inward engagement of every major company and brand in the world.”
Davidson touched on a few of EVERFI’s latest programs, including The Compassion Project, built along with LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, which is helping to build, that teaches young kids about empathy and bullying-prevention; Mental Well-being for Students, designed in partnership with The Jed Foundation to take on the escalating rate of loneliness, self-harm, and suicide among high school and college students; and 306–African-American History, developed with Clayborne Carson, Stanford University historian and Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute.
“Leveling the playing field is hyper-critical,” said Thompson. “I feel like this is a room full of game-changers and I’m beyond excited to be part of this historical movement and to help get these programs into every single school.”
To learn more about the work of EVERFI and its coalitions, click here.