We frequently see and hear about corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives through employee giving and volunteering, but we rarely get a close look into just how rewarding giving back as a team can be. Workplace giving campaigns have become a very common way to build camaraderie between colleagues while simultaneously giving a helping hand to those in need. It’s not uncommon for these philanthropic programs to make a big impact on a group of colleagues. Many may even take it upon themselves to go above and beyond the call of duty and fully invest themselves in their mission to dramatically improve the life of someone in need. Such is the case with the team at Software Advice, Inc., an Austin, TX based company that assists organizations in choosing the right software.
In a collaborative effort with the nonprofit organization, HeartGift, Software Advice found their calling in the plight of Confidence, a Nigerian child who had been diagnosed with Congenital Heart Disease, requiring an operation unattainable in her home country. In addition to opening their wallets in support of a fundraising campaign, they also opened their doors and their hearts. Before and after Confidence’s operation, Software Advice CEO, Don Fornes, offered his home for five weeks to her and her mother, Mary. “I wanted my kids to be exposed to another culture and way of life,” said Fornes, “and to understand the importance of helping those who are less fortunate.”
Software Advice’s fundraising effort alone was no small feat. By setting up an online donation system, the team raised $28,400; more than enough to cover the out-of-pocket expenses for Confidence’s heart surgery. They also implemented a volunteering calendar, which their staff utilized to schedule time to spend with Confidence and her mother. “We try to make it really easy for our employees to get involved… by taking on the planning and leg work ourselves,” said HR Manager Bethany Perkins, “that way, all people have to do is show up on volunteer day or click a link to make a donation.”
Software Advice employees greeted Confidence and Mary at the airport, visited her in the hospital, brought food while she stayed with the Fornes family, and took time to show their guests around Austin. Confidence experienced indoor plumbing and her mother learned that a man had walked on the moon. In return, this experience “allowed [the Software Advice] employees to see the world through the eyes of those who are less privileged,” commented Rachel Ramsey, Corporate Communications for Software Advice, “[it] provided a personal sense of fulfillment for our staff.”
This effort could not have been accomplished were it not for hard philanthropic work done by the nonprofit organization, HeartGift. HeartGift’s mission is to “provide lifesaving heart surgery to disadvantaged children living in developing countries where specialized medical treatment is scarce or nonexistent” (HeartGift). Since their formation in 2000, HeartGift has opened six chapters across the United States and has given life-saving support to 200 patients from 26 countries (HeartGift).
The Software Advice team would like to also recognize the medical staff at Dell Children’s Medical Center for donating their own time and effort, particularly Dr. Kenneth Fox, who performed the surgery.