Charles Allen ’86 proudly says he has been a Class Agent for Christ School since graduation. The New Orleans resident has kept his hands full in plenty of other ways, too. Strategic business development, technology, and philanthropy are Allen’s areas of expertise. In 1998, he founded Riptide Investments, a proprietary corporate strategy consulting and investment management company. Through Riptide, Allen has provided services to build business and industry throughout the New Orleans area. Allen was named to the “Silicon Bayou 100” in 2018, denoting him as one of Louisiana’s most influential people in tech and entrepreneurship. At the moment, the Greenie is most excited about an opportunity that became available in September. He is Manager of Goodness Solutions for Benevity, which focuses on corporate social responsibility and employee engagement software, including online giving, matching, volunteering, and community investment. To date, Benevity has processed nearly 3 billion dollars in donations and 17 million hours of volunteering time this year to 150,000 charities worldwide. Outside of work, Allen enjoys training for road races and triathlons.
Question: How did this opportunity with Benevity come about?
Answer: It was really a bang-bang opportunity. Riptide has been my company for 20-plus years. I’ve been trying to consult with Benevity for two years and the interesting thing is I met the guys through a mutual friend in New Orleans. Benevity is based in Calgary and the global leader in workplace giving. They work with Apple, Google, and larger companies that want to give to different charities through payroll. They asked me if I was interested in coming on board with their U.S. operations. It’s such a great situation. I work from home and still get to work out of New Orleans. They said they really wanted me to come in and build their North American team. I’m working with about 45 people in the U.S. We are all remote.
Question: It sounds like working for a philanthropic-minded company is a good fit for you?
Answer: It’s a really nice fit for me, the kind of opportunity that only comes around once in a while. You’re talking about massive-scale technology that keeps growing every day. I love the mix of technology and philanthropy. For me, it is sort of the best of both worlds.
Question: There is such a strong connection between Christ School and the New Orleans area. I’m sure you can sense that as an alum?
Answer: When I was at Christ School, I remember Charleston (S.C.) and New Orleans seemed to have a lot of guys there. That’s the best part about Christ School, there is definitely a community of people connected to the school no matter where you go. I always get phone calls from alums who are coming down for Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, and other things. It’s fun to keep in touch. We have such a great group of alums.
Question: Looking back, how did your time at Christ School benefit you?
Answer: Christ School for me was a stabilizer. It really helped prepare me for Tulane (University) and life in general. It prepared me for the ability to manage multiple things. The teachers were amazing. They imparted their wisdom but prepared me in other ways than just academics.