Founded in 2016, AlignedWorks is three decades in the making.
The AlignedWorks’ vision for aligning the full value of people with full value solutions to social, economic and environmental problems originated with co-founder Gerry Hartis when he worked with outdoor adventure teams in the 1980s as an educator. Gerry asked each member of the team to affirm that they would give the full value of their commitment, knowledge, skills, and effort to the other members of the team as they jointly negotiated the rigors of the deep wilderness.
As Gerry began a business career in the 1990s, he drew on that experience, recognizing that building enterprise teams required the full value of each member. He also began to realize that business could be a calling and a force for good in the world. Not only should businesses profitably deliver one form of value, they should profitably deliver full value: social, environmental, and economic value. Business team members should deliver full value to their enterprise, and the enterprise itself should deliver full value to its customers and their communities.
Through bringing these ideas to the table together, the idea of full value enterprise was realized
Meanwhile, co-founder Dr. David Vader joined the fledgling engineering faculty at Messiah College. Motivated by a desire to live out his Christian faith, David actively sought to understand what it meant to make the most of his life and profession in service to the pressing needs of our world. He began to notice worthy causes that could benefit from the time and talent of the professionals he had worked with every day in his earlier career at IBM’s Advanced Thermal Laboratory but were unlikely to access help through the marketplace.
Looking for a solution, David helped found the Collaboratory at Messiah College, a center for service and scholarship that enables students, educators, and volunteer professionals to apply academic knowledge and live out Christian faith through imaginative, hands-on problem solving, meeting needs brought by mission, relief, and development organizations and social-impact for-profit businesses. As he ran the Collaboratory, David recognized the academic and not-for-profit context of the Collaboratory made it challenging for the resulting innovations to break free from dependence on charitable giving to scale and reach more communities of need.
Chocolate Meets Peanut Butter
It was at this time that Gerry began to look for a vehicle through which to bring the full value of people to full value solutions to social, economic and environmental problems. David’s experience with the Collaboratory proved to be foundational in building the organizational culture, structures, processes, and resources needed to realize their shared vision of increasing hope and human flourishing. In April 2016 Gerry and David founded AlignedWorks Venture Talent, LLC.