Portland startup Field Day launches website to connect businesses with volunteer opportunities

Field Day, a Portland startup that aims to encourage volunteer programs within businesses, launched its web portal Wednesday after months of private testing.

Founded by former employees of Portland video encoding company Elemental Technologies, Field Day caters to businesses who see civic involvement as part of their corporate culture. It’s hoping, too, that businesses will see volunteering as a way to build connections and camaraderie among their employees in the pandemic’s aftermath.

Field Day’s website lists nonprofit volunteer opportunities and offers the organizations tools to manage events and business partnerships. It charges businesses a subscription, based on the size of the company, for access to the services that coordinate and track volunteering.

The startup employs seven at its downtown office. It ran a trial version with 16 companies and 40 nonprofits after landing an unspecified amount of seed funding last December.

“It is good business to be engaged in the community,” said CEO Eli Blackman, formerly a sales director and product manager at Elemental.

Elemental was among the most prominent of a generation of Portland startups that grew rapidly in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Blackman’s late brother was Elemental CEO and co-founder Sam Blackman, who was active in Portland civic affairs and helped launch an annual fundraising run that benefited several nonprofits.

After Elemental’s 2015 sale to Amazon, Eli Blackman ran community involvement programs at the Seattle tech giant and was inspired to start a separate business dedicated to facilitating connections with nonprofits.

Field Day employs seven at its downtown office. Its website is currently focused on Portland businesses and nonprofits, but Blackman said the startup is working with companies that have clusters of remote workers and hopes to expand to other cities , soon.

Initial feedback from businesses and nonprofits has been encouraging, according to Blackman, but he said he anticipates a lot of work over the next year as Field Day refines its approach, pricing program and a playbook for adding other cities.

“There is a lot of value and utility in what we’re building,” Blackman said. “That doesn’t mean the business model takes care of itself.”

Correction: Field Day charges businesses a subscription to participate. This article originally had an incorrect description of its pricing model.

— Mike Rogoway | mrogoway@oregonian.com | 503-294-7699 | Twitter: @rogoway |

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