“It was a mind-blowing, hair on fire, sleep-when-I’m-dead experience. The people we’ve worked with are incredible, the need is unimaginable, the experience indelible,” said Lane Desborough, who participated in a pilot skills-based volunteer project organized by Medtronic this year in Chennai, India. The Medtronic Foundation piloted this global pro bono program to address diabetic caregiver awareness in emerging markets, deploying the skills, talents and passion of its employees to give back to a cause they care about.
Since 1969, Hale House Center has been dedicated to delivering high quality educational and support services to children and families in need. Over the years, the number of families it serves has ballooned, creating a critical need for an IT system to coordinate the Center’s ever-expanding activities. As one Hale House official put it, “We have state-of-the-art technology…for 1978.”
Last week’s announcement of 100 pledge companies signaled extraordinary momentum for A Billion + Change and this week, this momentum gained steam. Companies of all sizes, ranging from the largest of the Fortune 500 to sole proprietorships, are committing their time and talents to increase nonprofit capacity and improve the communities in which they serve.
Kim Cardenas was a Casualty Processor at Allstate Insurance Company. She had joined Allstate because she wanted to work for a good company, and had been there almost three years. But Kim was also a victim of domestic violence and financial abuse. “I was ashamed and I felt embarrassed because my marriage wasn’t working. Financially, we were devastated. I was being kept out of the financial decisions that affected the overall picture of our lives.”
A Billion + Change: A Billion + Change is a national campaign to mobilize billions of dollars of pro bono and skills-based service by 2013. Together representatives from corporate America, foundations, government and the nonprofit sector are pledging to bring the best of business skills and talents to serve the needs of non profits and communities at home and around the world.
Last week, the campaign took to Pittsburgh, PA where I was privileged enough to keynote at a morning meeting of the city’s Corporate Volunteer Council to introduce A Billion + Change and discuss starting a skills-based volunteer program from the ground up. Without providing a distinct template for the design of sustainable program, as each company has different capacity for such a venture, here are what I hope were the major takeaways from the discussion: