National Volunteer Week, which first launched in 1974, is wrapping up. Now largely driven by the Points of Light Foundation, the week offers communities, companies and nonprofits an opportunity to showcase the positive impact of volunteer service, as well as demonstrate what can occur when the power of volunteers to come together to take on difficult challenges in communities nationwide.
To that end, one company putting the spotlight on volunteering efforts is Comcast. Tomorrow, the company will bookend the week with what it calls “Comcast Cares Day,” a single-day volunteer event that Comcast says is approaching the milestone of 1 million volunteers.
Since Comcast Cares Day first began in 2001, volunteers have logged over 5 million hours across 8,800 projects. Comcast and its employees have since contributed more than $22 million in grants to participating nonprofit community partners.
A Comcast spokesperson said the company is working towards a goal of logging 500,000 employee volunteer hours on environmentally-focused projects alone by 2020. “As a company, giving back to local communities is in our DNA,” the Comcast representative explained in an email to TriplePundit. “Senior leaders and their families are strongly encouraged to sign up for projects and inspire their teams to do so as well.”
The process for Comcast employees is relatively simple. They can research and sign up for various projects at a company-sponsored web site.
Local volunteer opportunities are all over the map – literally and figuratively. Comcast employees, friends and family members last year planted approximately 1,000 trees in areas of California, Florida, and Texas that were affected by last year’s wildfires and hurricanes. In Chicago, employees worked with a community organization in Chicago to pack over 6,000 baby hygiene kits for underprivileged children. Comcast has also maintained a five-year relationship with Boys & Girls Clubs across the country, including a recent initiative that helps provide digital learning opportunities to early nearly 4 million Boys & Girls Club kids and teenagers.
One employee who feels enriched by this experience is Monica Lane, a finance and accounting analyst who is based at Comcast’s Norcross, GA office. On a regular basis, Lane works with several volunteers from her all-female motorcycle club to prepare meals for 50 to 60 families who are staying at a Nicholas House, a homeless shelter in the Atlanta area. For Lane and her fellow club members, this has been tradition they have kept up for seven years.
“We don’t have to encourage or remind people to help – everyone just knows to show up,” Lane, a Comcast employee for 21 years, explained. “They understand the importance of being dedicated to the community.”
This volunteering effort has since expanded, as other local motorcycle clubs have scheduled additional days throughout the year to help with anything from preparing meals to helping children with homework.
And during tomorrow’s Comcast Cares Day, about 20 volunteers will arrive at Nicholas House – including 15 of Monica’s colleagues. They will prepare a meal, read to children staying there, play games and help them with homework. “It makes me so happy to know that we’ve helped connect the company to our community and the support just continues to grow,” Lane said.
Image credit: Comcast
Leon Kaye has written for TriplePundit since 2010, and became its Executive Editor in 2018. He is also the Director of Social Media and Engagement for 3BL Media. His previous work can be found at The Guardian, Sustainable Brands and CleanTechnica. Kaye is based in Fresno, CA, from where he happily explores California’s stellar Central Coast and the national parks in the Sierra Nevadas. He's lived in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay, and has traveled to over 70 countries. He's an alum of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California.