There are only 365 days in a year, several holidays, loads of work, budgets, and deadlines. So why encourage service, and even fund community development, when there’s so much company development to do?
Because, it's the right thing to do, of course.
Integrity, doing the right thing, is a central part of our core values. In today's world, we recognize that working together to improve our communities is more important than ever. So, in 2016, we created the Community Impact Fund— five, $1,000 grants awarded to customers working on community development projects. We created this fund in an addition to our other community involvement initiatives. These include four paid employee-service days, and our annual community service day— where we all get our hands dirty and volunteer to improve a local park.
Giving back does a good thing for everyone involved. As this Contrast Creative blog post articulates, “businesses are quickly realizing that employees who are passionate about a group they volunteer with can be extremely good ambassadors for their company while helping others. Through volunteering, your workplace and brand instantaneously have an eager, dedicated and trustworthy name and face associated with them.”
This is definitely the case. It's been truly rewarding to take the values we hold dear in the office into projects that we care about. However, while we might have seen the most benefits from volunteering in the field, we needed to consider how we can use our resources to best benefit the communities we're serving. Creating the Community Impact Fund has allowed us to reach communities across the country and in situations where a sustainable volunteer presence might've been difficult. For more information about weighing your options for effective community involvement, check out this blog post by Make It Better on efficient ways to donate.
This fund was entirely sponsored by employees’ voluntary donations through weekly payroll deductions. In just 6 months, our generous employees contributed over $5,000; hence, the five one-thousand dollar grants. We asked our customers to fill out an application and explain to us how they would use the grant money and what the impact would be on their community.
One of the five grants awarded was to Bristol CT Board of Education Athletic Department. They used the money to fund a Special Olympics Unified Sports Program. The program brings athletes with and without intellectual disabilities together to train and compete on the same team. We were really touched by how they used sports and friendly competition as a common bonding point to foster friendships, self-esteem, and important life skills.
We enjoyed our experience so much, we're doing it again. Are you an organization that is dedicated to making a difference? In the next few months, keep an eye out for the new Community Impact Fund application. We look forward to funding five, new, $1,000 grants that will go towards projects dear to our customers. More information to come!
Let's keep the conversation going. Do you have new volunteer opportunities for us? Does your company give back to the community? Please reach out and let us know, we love learning from you.
From our team to yours,