Category Archives: Corporate volunteerism

‘Pursue Purpose’: A culture of giving back at Change Healthcare

American workers have spoken: It’s the job perks — like company culture, paid time off, and chances to serve the community — that employees are finding increasingly valuable.

But Jonny Woo doesn’t need a study to tell him that. Woo, a Regional Volunteer Chair at Change Healthcare, has completed around 10 corporate service projects since joining the company two years ago.

“I actually think giving back makes me a higher performer,” Woo says. “It’s a really good way for me to get my work done and it’s a good way for me to meet people in the company.”

This year, Woo led a team for the Nashville Heart Walk. He recruited participants, put up flyers, and solicited donations. The team raised more than $150,000 for the Nashville Chapter of the American Heart Association.

“What’s so great about AHA is that all those funds are going back directly into the community to support research and healthcare for those that have been affected by cardiovascular disease in Nashville,” says Ashley Bostic, Change Healthcare’s Director of Culture and Community Giving.

Bostic echoes Woo’s excitement about Change Healthcare’s commitment to a culture of service and giving. She says a guiding light to community giving at Change Healthcare is one of their core values, Pursue Purpose. As the value states, Change Healthcare is here to make healthcare work better. The opportunity to help improve a person’s life propels them forward.

“Focusing on improving a person’s life in any way, shape, or form in our communities is really the foundation of our community-giving programs,” Bostic says. That means encouraging employees to use their paid volunteer hours to support local nonprofits, she says, but it also means giving Change Healthcare employees space to share their passions and concerns with their colleagues and build awareness-raising campaigns around those concerns.

“You’re helping improve others’ lives and we want to make it as easy as possible for you to do that,” Bostic says. Since July of this year, Change Healthcare’s employees have logged more than 5,000 volunteer hours nationwide.

Volunteers from Change Healthcare worked with Hands On Nashville in 2018 to code and organize medical supplies for Project Cure; stain tables and benches for an outdoor classroom at Rosebank Elementary; pack snacks and hygiene kits for those served by the Jean Crowe Advocacy Center; and tend the garden at FASHA Urban Farm.  Most recently, Change Healthcare volunteers sorted gift bags for the Salvation Army Angel Tree.

“Our teams are more connected following those volunteer events,” Bostic says.

If your company is interested in partnering with Hands On Nashville to help support the community, let us know!

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Altria’s volunteer leader talks about the company’s culture of service

 For Mark Czuba and many of his colleagues, giving back is part of the job description at Altria. 

Czuba, a business unit leader at the company, has led groups of Altria’s HON Day volunteers for several years. Czuba said he enjoys watching his colleagues take on different and sometimes surprising roles during volunteer projects. 

“A lot of people who don’t normally get to be in a leadership role, you’ll get to see them step up … and say, ‘Hey, here’s what we should do,’” Czuba said. He recalled watching one of his quieter co-workers, who rarely did much socializing on the clock, jump right in to a volunteer project along with the team. 

Czuba said that Altria, the presenting sponsor for Hands On Nashville Day 2018, strives to foster a culture of service.   

“The giving aspect is huge at Altria,” he said. The company, where Czuba has worked for 15 years, encourages employees to donate to charities by offering matching funds. And volunteers from Altria support HON and other local nonprofits during their service events — big and small — throughout the year.  

Even though Czuba and many of his colleagues work nights, Czuba said, it’s important to them to make time for service. That often involves clocking out from an overnight shift and going straight to a volunteer project early in the morning. 

“It’s challenging for some of them,” Czuba said, “but they want to put time in.” 

Thank you to all the volunteers from Altria who came out for HON Day 2018! We are so grateful for your support and partnership. 

 

Horses and Healing: The Story of Hillenglade

In September, Hands On Nashville partnered with the Home Depot Foundation and Points of Light to implement facility upgrades and improvements for Hope and Healing at Hillenglade. More than 220 volunteers tackled projects that included building children’s playhouses, screening in porches, building office and recreational spaces, landscaping, building benches and picnic tables, and more. The work done will allow Hillenglade to offer year-round programming and increase the number of veterans its services can reach. To view more pictures of the project, click here

 

Jennifer O’Neil has always loved horses.

“God was in a good mood when he made a horse,” said the 70-year-old actress, model, and director, who has spent much of her life training and showing horses. “They’re so amazing and sensitive for such a giant animal.”

Jennifer O'Neill

In 2009, O’Neill bought Hillenglade, a 7-acre farm in north Nashville, and founded Hope and Healing at Hillenglade. HHH is an equine-assisted program that helps veterans and their families reconnect to heal the emotional wounds sustained during combat.

“What happens in the magic of equine therapy is, it’s all about creating relationship, communication, responsibility, and partnering with that animal,” O’Neill said. She said that horses mirror the emotions they see in people. To gain a horse’s trust, a person must put forth a calm confidence in a way that sets the horse at ease — that it’s not about dominating the animal.

“Depending on what you’re carrying when you come in there — be it anger, or rage, or shyness, or a lack of ability to communicate — they’ll size that up,” O’Neill said. She said it’s a powerful moment when someone who is working through their own anger or fear has a breakthrough with a horse.

Since 2010, HHH has served more than 4,000 military and first-responders and their families.

“The whole family unit often bears the brunt of the warriors’ experiences,” O’Neill said, recalling her own experiences in a family affected by post-combat PTSD.

O’Neill’s father served as a pilot during World War II. His plane was shot down and he was held in a German prison camp for two and a half years. He suffered lingering effects from the plane crash and aftermath that O’Neill believes would have been diagnosed as PTSD if the disorder, which wasn’t officially recognized until 1980, had been understood at the time.

As O’Neill has overseen the evolution of Hillenglade, she’s been driven by a desire to build an atmosphere of respite and peace for those who have sacrificed so much.

“I feel firmly that we in the private sector have to stand up and honor and help our veterans and our warriors and our heroes and their families in any way we can,” O’Neill said.

A Benefit for Hope and Healing at Hillenglade 

What: A fundraiser for HHH, featuring The Righteous Brothers, Kathie Lee Gifford, and Nate Sallie

When: Saturday, Nov. 3, beginning at 5:45 p.m.

Where: Franklin Theatre

Tickets: http://www.hillenglade.org

 

 

 

HONDay 2018 brings together nearly 1,000 volunteers for school improvement projects

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Dr. Kimberly Fowler, principal at Hickman Elementary School, addresses the group of volunteers as Hands On Nashville Day 2018 kicks off on Saturday, Sept. 22.

Nearly 1,000 volunteers came together on Saturday, Sept. 22, for the 27th Annual Hands On Nashville Day, a citywide day of service supporting Metro Nashville Public Schools. At 15 schools, volunteers created inspirational murals, landscaped playgrounds and school gardens, painted hallways and gymnasiums, and more.

“The volunteers out here today are showing how much they support MNPS students and families,” said Dr. Kimberly Fowler, principal of Hickman Elementary School. “Their efforts are about more than a coat of paint or a wheelbarrow of mulch. They’re spending their time to show just how important our schools and our children are to the whole community.”

Continue reading HONDay 2018 brings together nearly 1,000 volunteers for school improvement projects

Building Houses; Building Communities: Why the Jones Company Commits to Giving Back

There’s a world of difference between a string of homes and a community. The Jones Company sees that line each day. Founded in 1927, the home-building organization has a 90-year history of watching neighborhoods grow and change.

Bob Jones, the company’s founder, had a dedication to philanthropy that lives on in the organization today. By prioritizing energy efficiency in new homes and actively volunteering with local nonprofits, the Jones Company works to build stronger communities, in addition to new homes.

2017 was the Jones Company’s 90th year in business. To celebrate, employees participated in volunteer projects throughout the year. Serving with Second Harvest Food Bank, Operation Stand Down Tennessee, Safe Haven Family Shelter and Hands On Nashville’s Home Energy Savings (HES) program, Jones Company volunteers from every department – from sales to purchasing, accounting to construction – worked to meet needs related to housing and well being for residents in the community we all share.

“We wouldn’t have been in business this long without an attitude of thankfulness – for our customers, our business and our neighbors. Giving back is part of that,” said Bridget Thompson, director of marketing at The Jones Company. “It’s amazing what a group of volunteers can accomplish when they share their talents and resources.”

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HES projects are a natural fit for The Jones Company, as HON’s work to cut utility costs for neighbors living on low incomes mirrors the Jones Company’s initiative to employ energy conservation in all new homes. Such efforts are also a priority for Jones Company customers. “Affordable housing doesn’t just mean getting into a house and making a monthly payment – it’s also the upkeep,” said Thompson.

For Jones Company employees, volunteering as a group also offers the chance to step out of daily roles and take a break. During one Second Harvest project, Jones teammates got a kick out of seeing their colleagues, construction workers nearly always wearing work clothes, wearing hairnets, shelling peas and having fun.

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In today’s business world, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become less of an option and more of a requirement. According to Deloitte, 70 percent of millennials are influenced by a company’s CSR practices when considering taking a job. For Jones Company, however, building community simply comes with the territory.

Thank you, Jones Company, for spending your 90th year in service!

Learn how to increase your team’s corporate social responsibility.

GEODIS and McMurray Middle School: Partners on HON Day and Beyond

Social responsibility is part of the culture at GEODIS. It’s not unusual to find the company’s Nashville office collecting donations of food, clothing and other supplies to benefit local schools – in particular, McMurray Middle School.

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 HON Day 2011

In 2011, a group of GEODIS employees spent Hands On Nashville Day volunteering at McMurray Middle School. From that day forward, a partnership grew between GEODIS and McMurray. They became PENCIL Partners, with GEODIS employees participating in “Principal for a Day” and other school events, and holding fundraisers to benefit the school. Around the holidays, GEODIS employees donate specific foods and household items to help serve McMurray families.

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A food and clothing drive at GEODIS

Shayla Holt, Transportation Planner at GEODIS, helps coordinate volunteer events as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility committee (SRC). When it comes to HON Day, “everyone’s always excited about doing something for the school,” she said. “Even with football games going on and other Saturday activities, people look forward to giving their time on HON Day. It encourages people to get involved in other service events, such as food sorting at Second Harvest.”

While GEODIS remains in contact with McMurray Middle School throughout the year, the team has returned to serve on Hands On Nashville Day. “We present it as a family event,” says Holt. “Employees bring their kids to volunteer and enjoy spending time together.”

Holt shared that it’s important for the SRC to be excited and passionate about service in order to motivate employees. While GEODIS makes sure to thank participants after volunteer events, many people simply enjoy knowing they’ve made a difference. “Last year, McMurray teachers volunteered alongside our team on HON Day. Our employees interacted with the principal and teachers, and understood how their work impacted the school,” she said.

This year, McMurray Middle School will be undergoing construction during HON Day. However, Shayla Holt will return to serve as site leader, and the GEODIS SRC is working with Hands On Nashville to find new volunteer opportunities – all while continuing to grow the partnership with McMurray.

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HON Day 2016

Thank you, GEODIS, for your commitment to the Nashville community!

 

Learn more about employee volunteerism with Hands On Nashville.

Community Partnership Brings Public Art to Educational Spaces

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This August,  Hands On Nashville and Dollar General joined the Nashville Public Library to unveil murals at six library branches, each of which were completed by Dollar General volunteers this summer! Continue reading Community Partnership Brings Public Art to Educational Spaces

Hands On Nashville Day Volunteer Spotlight: Stephanie Jensen

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Hands On Nashville Day 2016 is made possible in part by generous supporters like Dell and their volunteers, like Stephanie Jensen. Stephanie plays a leading role in connecting its Nashville team to service opportunities. Continue reading Hands On Nashville Day Volunteer Spotlight: Stephanie Jensen

2016 Sarah Cannon Days of Service Recap

On June 16 and 22, dozens of volunteers from Sarah Cannon Research Institute gave their of time and talents over two days of service. Volunteers supported nine Nashville nonprofit organizations and programs, giving 231 hours of their time to the Nashville community.

Projects included:

Sarah Cannon, thank you for your elbow grease and dedication to service!

Here are a few pieces of volunteer feedback we keep reading over, and over:

“This was absolutely amazing and something we totally need to get more involved in.”

“We had an AMAZING time at the YWCA Resale Boutique! From steaming “Dress for Success” suits to sorting the clothes that would be stored for winter, it was a great opportunity to help prepare the store for so many women who can benefit from this resource!”

“We had a great time together!! Look forward to more opportunities to be in service!”

“This was absolutely amazing and something we totally need to get more involved in.”

“We had so much fun at the different Sarah Cannon Community Day activities. We are so grateful to work for a company that supports community service. I’m so proud to be a part of such a great team!”

Ready to get involved? Sign up for a volunteer project at HON.org.