As businesses enter a season usually filled with in-person holiday parties and an abundance of team-building volunteer opportunities, COVID-19 has changed the way companies give back this year in a time when the need is great.
Express Employment Professionals offices across North America participate year-round in the company’s philanthropic endeavor known as the Brand It Blue Initiative. The program encourages community involvement borne out of the servant leadership mindset of Express; and particularly in 2020, offices have had to find creative ways to invest in communities while mitigating virus exposure.
One way to get involved is to take part in this year’s Giving Tuesday on Dec. 1. Giving Tuesday is a global event that started in 2012 as a way to encourage people simply to do good. It is traditionally held the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
“It is important to give back all the time, but this year, there is more need, especially with many families and our most vulnerable being affected by the virus,” said Janis Petrini, Express franchise owner in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “Housing, food and general survival donations are needed more than ever.”
One study from The Ascent found that generosity not only benefits the recipient but also leads to increased life satisfaction for the giver.
Seventy-four percent of people who were described as having high generosity tendencies reported satisfaction with life over the past year compared to 60% with low generosity. Seventy percent of respondents with high generosity also said they were satisfied with their careers, while only 49% with low generosity said the same. The majority of high generosity individuals (81%) agreed that life has been meaningful over the past year in contrast with 49% of low generosity people.
Recently, Petrini’s office partnered with a local homeless shelter to purchase their first-ever shower van, which will provide those experiencing homelessness with the ability to shower in a “private and dignified way so they can be ready for a job interview or a housing appointment or whatever they may be facing.” The remaining outstanding funds for the vehicle will be raised on Giving Tuesday.
“Our customer is the community,” she added. “We are business owners here in our community and our mission and vision is to pour back our resources into our communities.”
In Bend, Oregon, Express franchise owner Stephanie Miller says the relationships her staff builds with nonprofit organizations in the area help with business exposure and reinforces the Express culture of caring.
“First and foremost, we believe that paying it forward is a great way to keep your mindset for servant leadership in the forefront,” she said. “This has also helped us become a household name in our community.
For Christmas this year, Express franchise owner Terri Greeno and her staff in Crystal Lake, Illinois, are adopting families to support and plan to “have their ear to the ground” throughout the year to help other families in need.
“The importance of supporting the community is constant, and our motivation to help others is always high,” she said. “What we have found is the manner of our support has become more creative, such as virtual fundraisers.
By investing in the community, Greeno says ultimately, the labor force and our economy becomes stronger.
“Everyone needs a little kindness this holiday season in what has been a tough year for many,” Express CEO Bill Stoller said. “I encourage those who can afford to spare a little cash in the coming weeks to find a cause close to your heart to provide a bit of goodwill to others who won’t soon be forgotten.”
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