HCA Healthcare — the Nashville-based company that owns and operates more than 186 hospitals and 2,000 sites of care in 21 states and the United Kingdom — has a long history of service, including through partnerships with Hands On Nashville. We spoke with the Corporate Community Engagement team about how 2020 has been different for the company’s desire to give back to their communities.
Q: Let’s start with the history: Can you tell me a little bit about the history of the HCA Healthcare Foundation? What made them want to get started helping others?
A: The mission of the HCA Healthcare Foundation is to promote health and well-being and to strive to make a positive impact in all the communities HCA Healthcare serves. We accomplish this mission by providing to nonprofit organizations support in three areas — leadership, through colleague board service; service, through colleagues volunteering their time and talents; and financial support, through direct grants and by matching colleagues’ charitable contributions. HCA Healthcare is committed to our communities well beyond the efforts of the Foundation. Giving, serving, leading and learning are key components of our approach to helping every colleague engage in a meaningful way with their communities.
Q: One of your big initiatives is HCA’s Community Days! Can you tell me a little bit about that?
A: This year, because of COVID-19, HCA Healthcare re-imagined its long-standing tradition of two days of service completed by corporate colleagues as Community Days: A Month of Service. From Oct. 1-31, our Nashville-based colleagues were encouraged to volunteer safely in person or virtually at nonprofit agencies across Middle Tennessee in increments of one hour or more. We partnered with our long-standing nonprofit agencies to bring back favorite projects and relied heavily on Hands On Nashville to help us explore new ways — virtually and in person — our colleagues could volunteer.
Q: During the October month of service, HCA Healthcare — in partnership with HON’s GeekCause — organized Nashville’s fourth ever Hack for the Community. Could you explain just a little bit about this IT initiative?
A: Hack for the Community (H4TC) is a 36-hour gathering that brings Nashville’s best visual designers and software developers together to create technology solutions that benefit our community. Since its inception in 2014, H4TC has served as an avenue to inspire IT talent to think outside the box to solve problems and give back to the community while connecting nonprofit organizations to much needed tech resources.
Q: Since 2020 has definitely been a curveball, what did H4TC look like this year? How did you adapt, and how did the campaign go?
A: Originally scheduled as an in-person event in April 2020, Hack for the Community evolved into a virtual event held on Oct. 29 and 30. Despite the challenges in transitioning to a virtual event and the challenges facing our community, Hack for the Community engaged nearly 200 tech volunteers and contributed 3,500 hours of service to 14 local nonprofits. While the challenges of 2020 prevented some volunteers and nonprofits from participating, the virtual event enabled H4TC to engage IT talent from across the country, and even a few volunteers from India, to help local nonprofits. The unforeseen impact of COVID-19 has no doubt brought to the forefront, even more, the significance and vital impact of both our nonprofit community and the tech sector.
Q: Tell us about a win from this year:
A: After safer-at-home orders were issued by Mayor John Cooper on March 23, HCA Healthcare corporate campus cafeterias have become vacant as nearly all corporate colleagues moved to work from home. An empty campus meant a drastically lower need for food services. So, with fully stocked onsite amenities and a willing and able workforce in place, HCA Healthcare, Sodexo, and Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee came together to meet a very important need within the Nashville community. Each day for nearly three months, approximately 20-25 redeployed Sodexo employees prepared 500 ready-to-eat meals utilizing food donated from Second Harvest. Daily, freshly prepared meals were delivered by Sodexo staff to the Nashville Fairgrounds where a shelter had been erected to manage the overflow of homeless residents who had been relocated to the temporary site due to the need for social distancing to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Additionally, in response to COVID-19, HCA Healthcare has allocated more than $1 million in charitable funds through the HCA Healthcare Foundation and a tax-exempt trust to aid COVID-19 relief efforts and address community needs, including right here in Nashville. Read more about those efforts here.
Thank you, HCA Healthcare, for all you and for your continued support of Hands On Nashville and our mission to meet needs through volunteerism!