How These Tech Companies Give Back to Their Local Communities

December 19, 2019

Eight Boston-based tech leaders recently told us how their teams give back over the holidays. They explained that while the spirit of giving might be reflected from the top-down, leadership takes cues from employees about which organizations to support and how. 

For example, Nuance Cares matches employee nonprofit donations dollar for dollar and provides team members with 16 hours of annual volunteer time. And while Vestmark’s Charitable Contributions Committee runs point on project execution, the volunteers regularly reach out to the larger company for suggestions regarding fundraisers and service projects.

Learn more about their in-office and on-the-ground initiatives below, as well as how the spirit of giving back impacts each company’s culture. 

 

 

Forward Financing
Forward Financing

Forward Financing’s employee-led service initiative allows team members to nominate organizations they would like to see the company support. Shannon Braley, director of people and culture, told us below how the program, in addition to dedicated days off for volunteering, has enabled employees to build homes through Habitat for Humanity and adopt a family of seven from The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Boston. 

 

How does your Forward Financing give back to the local community, both during the holidays and throughout the year? 

In 2019, we launched the Pay it Forward program, an employee-led initiative that donates $10 for every business we fund throughout the year to a deserving nonprofit. Our employees nominate and select an “impact organization” they feel aligns with our company mission, goals and values. This year, we have donated over $100,000 to deserving organizations that are making an impact on our community like the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Boston, BUILD and Year Up. 

Throughout the year, we provide employees two paid volunteer days and coordinate multiple opportunities to donate their time to giving back. This year, we’ve helped build homes with Habitat for Humanity, sorted food at the Greater Boston Food Bank, donated meals to the New England Center and Home for Veterans in Boston and more. 

We feel that we’ve really been able to make an impact on our community in a short period of time and we are really proud of that. 

This holiday season, we teamed up with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Boston and adopted a family of seven.’’

How is this spirit of giving reflected in your company culture and the way your team works together?

We are fortunate to have a highly supportive and collaborative culture where everyone is always willing to pitch in and help one another get the job done, whether it falls within their specific responsibilities or not. 

We spend a lot of time collaborating and working together, both in and out of the workplace. We have fun giving back together and team-building while making an impact. 

This holiday season, we teamed up with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Boston and adopted a family of seven. Each of our departments elected to contribute with their own money to shop for this family in need. It was great to see each team come together and reflect the spirit of giving this holiday season. 

 

3Play Media
3Play Media

3Play Media emphasizes accessibility in their work inside the office and out. Amanda Ervin, office manager, told us that the team recently worked together to help build wheelchairs for local men and women in need. They also celebrated Giving Tuesday by donating to the American Society for Deaf Children, a cause close to the team’s hearts and in line with the transcription services company’s values. 

 

How does 3Play Media give back to the local community, both during the holidays and throughout the year? 

Giving back is important to 3Play Media. Every year we encourage employees to take advantage of our charitable contributions program. We match every donation made by a 3Player, up to $500. So far, we have donated to 12 different organizations in 2019. 

This past year, we built wheelchairs for those in need in the community through Wheels in Motion. Earlier this fall, we donated stuffed animals won at our building’s carnival to the children in the burn unit at Shriners Hospital. For Giving Tuesday, for every file our customers submitted for captioning and transcription, 3Play Media donated $1 to the American Society for Deaf Children. We raised just about $6,000. 

We match every donation made by a 3Player, up to $500.’’ 

How is this spirit of giving reflected in your company culture and the way your team works together?

3Play Media is all about making video accessible to everyone. Just because someone is differently-abled does not mean that they shouldn’t get to benefit from a product or experience just like everyone else. Along these same lines, everyone deserves to live their best life possible. It’s important to us to help our company and community be the best it can be. 

 

Nuance Communications
Nuance Communications

Beth Conway, chief people officer at Nuance Communications, understands the fact that community service not only builds team morale but increases overall cooperation, both essential factors for business growth. Below, Conway shared how Nuance Communications has contributed to underserved populations in Boston.

 

How does Nuance Communications give back to the local community, both during the holidays and throughout the year? 

Nuance Cares, our global corporate social responsibility program, encourages employees to support their favorite local and global nonprofits by providing 16 hours of volunteer time annually and matching dollar-for-dollar donations. Our year-round focus on supporting the communities where we live and work is just one way that Nuance gives back. 

This holiday season, Nuance donated to the Ronald McDonald House, a global charity that provides travel and housing assistance for families so they can stay near their hospitalized children. Nuance is also proud to support local organizations throughout the year, including the Museum of Science, Bottom Line, Angel Flight, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Boston and more.

Our Nuance Cares program emphasizes the importance of giving our time and energy to organizations that need support.’’  

How is this spirit of giving reflected in your company culture and the way your team works together?

At Nuance, one of our four guiding principles is “Make What Matters.” But that dedication isn’t limited to our business philosophy. Our Nuance Cares program emphasizes the importance of giving our time, donations and energy to organizations that need support. 

We encourage employees to get outside of the office and make a difference in their communities by organizing individual or team volunteer activities with local nonprofits. Whether they are cleaning up local parks, assembling care packages for low-income college students or sorting everyday essentials for local children in need, Nuance team members can build team spirit and have fun outside of the office while giving back.

 

Vestmark
Vestmark

Vestmark

Giving back to others helps emphasize the value of empathy in social interactions. Nicholas Thurlow, chief people officer, told us how Vestmark invests in charitable experiences, which in turn encourages employees to connect with one another.

 

How does Vestmark give back to the local community, both during the holidays and throughout the year? 

Vestmark has a strong tradition of giving, during the holidays as well as throughout the year. We empower a Charitable Contributions/Community Relations committee of employees who are passionate about giving. Although this motivated team is the core of our program, they regularly reach out to others to create a network of giving throughout the company. 

We recently built bikes for children though our local Boys & Girls Club, and have hosted holiday gift drives for our local Department of Child Services (DCF) chapter. Animals are also important to us, so we provide volunteer time and monetary support to various local shelters.

Empathy connects us and creates positive energy that motivates us to continue to serve.’’ 

How is this spirit of giving reflected in your company culture and the way your team works together?

Our company values a spirit of collaboration. This makes our giving programs part of the overall culture of the company. We like to emphasize not only the giving itself, but also the connection we create to one another and the community through service. Empathy connects us and creates positive energy that motivates us to continue to serve.

 

FareHarbor
FareHarbor

Pine Street Inn has been providing the Boston homelessness community with housing, workforce support and emergency services for 50 years, thanks to dedicated staff and volunteers. Benjamin Basch, small business sales manager at FareHarbor, told us that their employees value contributing to that mission.

 

How does FareHarbor give back to the local community, both during the holidays and throughout the year? 

At FareHarbor, there are multiple opportunities to volunteer throughout the year. Whether  it’s a hands-on experience like going to Pine Street Inn to lend a hand in their efforts to help the homeless population of Boston or hosting a winter coat drive, FareHarbor works to be a positive influence in our community. At the moment, we have a station set up in our office to create holiday cards for children in the hospital. 

We have a station set up in our office to create holiday cards for children in the hospital.’’ 

How is this spirit of giving reflected in your company culture and the way your team works together?

One of the first things you learn when you work at FareHarbor is that we are “ohana.” That sentiment permeates our office culture and how we represent ourselves in the surrounding community. We rolled out an entire program for the sole purpose of volunteering called “FareHarbor Cares.”

Throughout the year, we encourage our employees to donate their time or resources to worthy causes, such as participating in the school supply drive we did with School on Wheels at the end of the summer. We hope to give back to the less fortunate in any way we can in order to enrich our lives and our community.

 

BHE
BHE

Tracey Willey, head of human resources, appreciated how friendly and forward-thinking the staff at the Greater Boston Food Bank were when the BHE team volunteered there this fall. Willey said that the outing fostered a real sense of community among employees, one of the company’s most significant values. They sorted over 12,000 pounds of food for those in need, all in a day’s work. 

 

How does BHE give back to the local community, both during the holidays and throughout the year? 

As a company, we are big believers in giving back. We are lucky to live in a city where there are so many great opportunities to volunteer. Every year, we choose at least one all-hands-on-deck day of volunteering. Our offices shut down and we all travel to that years’ destination. 

This past October, we volunteered at the Greater Boston Food Bank, an organization that distributes food to thousands of people across 190 cities and towns in eastern Massachusetts. Our team sorted a total of 12,136 pounds of food and had so much fun doing it. The Food Bank staff were passionate and so efficient; every one of us had a specific role. They have built a process that was inspiring to watch and participate in.

In addition to onsite volunteering, we participate in other community initiatives, like Operation Sock Drop to benefit Boston’s homeless community. BHE team members have already brought in many pairs of warm winter socks for the homeless.  

Our team sorted a total of 12,136 pounds of food and had so much fun doing it.’’ 

How is this spirit of giving reflected in your company culture and the way your team works together?

Because our company is relatively small but growing, its flat structure allows employees at all levels to collaborate on various projects. A lot of work is done across teams and job functions, which fosters a culture of openness and support. 

Fostering a sense of community service is part of our values as a company. It feels good to give back. Seeing your co-worker bring in warm socks, sort cereal from oatmeal or prep toys and clothing for kids in need leaves us all a little better.  

 

Jobcase
Jobcase

Mike Abram, head of customer success at Jobcase, credits the team’s volunteering efforts with allowing new and seasoned employees to get to know each other better in a productive setting outside of the office. Their service initiatives have also introduced team members to opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t know existed. 

 

How does Jobcase give back to the local community, both during the holidays and throughout the year?

We love to incorporate our mission of community-building into everything we do. For us, local outreach is all about fostering a relationship with our community by making a direct, hands-on impact every month. We work with about 10 different nonprofits including Cradles-to-Crayons, More-Than-Words, Greater Boston Foodbank, New England Center for Homeless Veterans and Community Servings. 

Local outreach is all about fostering a relationship with our community by making a direct, hands-on impact every month.’’ 

How is this spirit of giving reflected in your company culture and the way your team works together?

Every month, rain or shine, we get a team of Jobcasers to push back from the keyboard, roll up their sleeves and connect with our community. Not only does this directly support those in need, it also gives our fast-growing team an opportunity to get to know their co-workers in a different setting and exposes everyone to volunteer opportunities they might otherwise never have known existed.

 

Cantina
Cantina

In order to gain maximum traction, Principal Project Manager Erin Jackson says that Cantina pairs fundraisers and drives with holiday events like office celebrations and bake-offs. Leadership makes sure their community impact is as significant as possible by thoughtfully assessing the reach of each project.  

 

How does Cantina give back to the local community, both during the holidays and throughout the year?

Our company builds relationships with organizations in our community who do good. We like to give back to those groups the most. Around the holidays, we’ve found that a company-wide drive receives the most participation. We’ll pair such drives or fundraisers with holiday events like cookie-baking competitions and parties. We’ve provided products for women at Rosie’s Place and pies for people struggling to meet basic needs in the past. This year, we are providing resources for the homeless with St. Anthony’s Shrine.

Around the holidays, we’ve found that a company-wide drive receives the most participation.’’ 

How is this spirit of giving reflected in your company culture and the way your team works together?

Our spirit of giving comes from the top-down. Our leaders at the highest levels direct and encourage giving. They provide the space and support for community leadership. Every year, we’re getting more thoughtful about our investment and impact in local communities. One of our core values is helping others, and we plan to do just that.

 

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