The Research Triangle Park

The future of great ideas

Research Triangle Park News

iContact Founders Make $270,000 Gift to CED


Press Release by CED

CED, the Southeast’s largest entrepreneurial support organization, today announced Ryan Allis and Aaron Houghton, co-founders of iContact, have made donations to CED totaling $270,000. Houghton donated $150,000 and Allis donated $120,000. Together, the contributions are the single largest one-time gift in the history of CED, and come as a result of pledges made while the founders were students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Allis and Houghton made their stock pledges in 2003, when iContact, which provides e-mail and social media marketing services for small businesses, was known as Broadwick Corporation. iContact was acquired by Vocus (NASDAQ: VOCS), a publicly-traded provider of cloud-based marketing and PR software, in a deal worth $169 million in February 2012.

“CED is a vital organization for the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Research Triangle and North Carolina,” said Allis. “The organization has been absolutely key to the success and growth of iContact and I am extremely happy to make this gift to the organization.”

Allis first visited CED as a part of his campus visit to UNC to ensure his work as a student entrepreneur would be supported in the community. Both Allis and Houghton were active volunteers at CED events during their days as undergraduates, and have stayed involved with the organization, including serving as members of the CED Board of Directors.

“CED provided us with encouragement and credibility in the early years at iContact,” said Houghton. “With this gift, I know I am helping CED support the next generation of great entrepreneurs in this area.”

The CED stock pledge program was established in 1998 to encourage entrepreneurs to support the organization by identifying contributions that would be made at some point in the future at the time of a successful exit. Pledges are made by individuals who have benefited from CED’s programs and services, many of which are provided free or at reduced cost to early-stage entrepreneurs. Contributions are put toward a non-operating fund that helps secure CED’s long-term viability and stability.

“Ryan and Aaron are ‘paying it forward’ with their very generous gift to CED,” said Joan Siefert Rose, CED president. “It is especially gratifying to see successful entrepreneurssupport an organization designed to help the next generation of entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. I hope their actions will inspire others to make similar pledges to ensure a strong future for this unique community resource,” Rose said.

Stock pledges are fulfilled at the time of an exit, either through an initial public offering of stock or a liquidity event through a merger or acquisition. All fulfilled pledges are considered tax-deductible charitable contributions to CED, a 501(c)(3) organization.

About CED

CED’s mission is to identify, enable and promote emerging growth companies and to accelerate the entrepreneurial culture of the Research Triangle and North Carolina.Learn more at, @CEDNC, in our Linked In Community, or on Facebook.About


iContact, the email and social media marketing service of Vocus (NASDAQ: VOCS), is a purpose-driven company that makes social media and email marketing easy, so that small and midsized companies and causes can grow and succeed. More than one million users have signed up for an iContact account. As part of its ongoing social mission, iContact applies the 4-1s Corporate Social Responsibility Model, donating one percent from each of its payroll, equity, product, and employee time to local and global communities. Visit us online at, on Twitter @iContact, at our LinkedIn Group, and at our Facebook page.

About Vocus

Vocus (NASDAQ: VOCS) is a leading provider of cloud-based marketing and PR software that helps businesses reach and influence buyers across social networks, online and through the media. Vocus provides an integrated suite that combines social marketing, search marketing, email marketing and publicity into a comprehensive solution to help businesses attract, engage and retain customers. Vocus is used by more than 120,000 organizations worldwide and is available in seven languages. For more information, please visit or call (800) 345-5572.