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Avanade volunteers shatter previous records

  • Posted on June 10, 2020
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes

While COVID-19 has had everyone around the world moving into isolation, here at Avanade we still believe it is possible to bring an innovative spirit to improve the lives of those in our communities — as we endeavor to make a human impact. To enable our people to do more, we relaxed the number of hours employees could volunteer and extended the scope of how they could volunteer. We basically left it up to everyone to decide how they volunteer, whether it is supporting one of our nonprofit partners, helping the elderly in their community or working with more local charities, food banks or schools.

Boy did it make a difference! Our volunteer hours have gone through the roof and smashed all previous records and our fairly ambitious targets. In the last three months, nearly half of our employees logged volunteer hours, totaling more than 20,000 hours of volunteering.

So, what did we get up to?  Quite a lot, but let’s call out a few:

Linda White, a Senior Director from Indianapolis, searched social media outlets to see how she could help.  Linda joined a Facebook community group to volunteer with the local production of masks.  Sewandserve.com is a group of men and women formed in mid-March to provide masks to the medical community.  To date, the Sew and Serve team has provided 114,688 masks to 521 facilities, and has now grown to 5,926 members.

“My life changed overnight,” Linda said. “My dining room turned into a material cutting operation. I solicited funding from friends and neighbours, purchased hundreds of yards of fabric and produced fabric kits so that the sewers could eliminate this tedious step in the process. Over 50 drop off locations were set up around the Indianapolis area for distribution of raw materials, kits and finished goods. Our virtual community has been recognized by the Indiana governor, has been copied in other states and, most importantly, is making an impact on those we are providing services to. 

 

“Teaming up to contribute in the production of masks and protecting the lives of so many people is very rewarding, and I could not have done this without Avanade’s corporate citizen volunteer program,” she continued. “It is an experience that will forever be engraved in my heart, and I thank Avanade for allowing me this opportunity to serve my community.”

Jonathan Driver, a Group Manager from our UKI Delivery Management Talent Community, lives in the Yorkshire Dales National Park in the U.K. where there is a large elderly demographic, many of whom are in the COVID-19 high-risk category. Some are extremely vulnerable and are therefore in isolation.

“I volunteered to help our local COVID-19 response group, and in the past couple of weeks, I’ve been collecting and delivering prescriptions, shopping for essential items and having a friendly chat with elderly people in our community,” says Jonathan. “I highly recommend getting involved if you can. It is personally very satisfying to be able to give something back to my community – and having Avanade’s support to do so is incredible.”

 

Seattle-based Avanade Executive, Steve Palmer saw an opportunity to use his passion for photography to support those who have lost their jobs and income during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In addition to my day job as an executive at Avanade, I have been a passionate photographer for more than 50 years,” says Steve.“In the current crisis, each of us tries to do what we can to support our communities. Restricted by the shelter-in-place, social distancing and other mandated health-driven guidelines, I dreamed up the notion of making photographs of the local towns without ever leaving my car … thus the ‘Drive thru photo’ project was born.” 

Driving around in his car, Steve shot more than 200 photos — photos taken from around his hometown and without ever leaving his vehicle — of which he has since self-published about 30 in a “Zine” made available for sale on-line at MagCloud. The goal is for the net profits to be donated to Feeding America, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that feeds more than 46 million people through food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other community-based agencies.

Aside from the individual efforts made by Avanade employees, the volunteer aide Avanade has delivered to our nonprofit partner Junior Achievement has been nothing short of lifesaving for the organization. 

At the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis, Junior Achievement felt they were going to have to cancel their day to day activities as well as their major events — until Avanade stepped in. With a host of volunteers, we have been able to get Junior Achievement teams around the world using remote working. We have also helped them to continue their regular activities and programs through virtual workshops and training. Additionally, we are now in the process of helping them to take their major activities such as the JA Europe Enterprise Challenge and JA WW Company of the Year online — and manage a three-day workshop, involving thousands of students and constituents online. 

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