At the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit in Detroit, we learned from experts in CSR, volunteer engagement, technology and program administration. In this series of blog posts, we’ll share with you the valuable insights offered at each session. Up today: Pool Your REsources: Building Cross Sector Collaboration for High Impact.
I’m always amazed by the breadth and depth of our partners’ CSR programs. In this session, Jamie Wagner of ConAgra Foods, Sabin Blake of GM, and Hannah Hoskins of the United Way for Southeastern Michigan took us on a dive deep into the inner workings of their programs. We learned about different ways companies and nonprofits work together to organize resources and address community needs.
Jamie showed us how ConAgra strives to decrease astoundingly high child hunger rates in the U.S. through a partnership with Feeding America. In 1993, ConAgra began supporting the Kids Café program which helps feed children during summer breaks from school. Today these kinds of efforts are integrated into the company, and many ConAgra employees volunteer at hunger-related organizations.
While ConAgra has a singular focus, GM focuses on four areas: Education, environment, health, and community. Because of this, they have many nonprofit partnerships. At this session, they showcased their work with the United Way of Southeastern Michigan in Detroit. To quote the United Way, “We have a big hairy audacious goal (BHAG): To be a driving force in making Greater Detroit a top-five place to live and work by the year 2030.” In Detroit, a city that went from population of 2 million to 800 thousand, everyone you meet seems to be behind that goal.
As with many forward-looking goals, schools are a great place to start. Sabin and Hannah talked about how GM donated $27 million to the United Way’s Network of Excellence School program. The objective? To increase high school graduation rates from 50% to 80%. They are currently on track to achieve this by 2015. Sabin also helped start GM’s first official volunteer program, teamGM Cares, to assist the United Way. GM employees and retirees support the Network of Excellence program by volunteering to tutor and mentor students, as well as help them develop valuable life and professional skills.
In summary, this session showed attendees that corporate and nonprofit collaboration works. VolunteerMatch is lucky to work with such great organizations and individuals like Jamie, Sabin and Hannah. You can view the full slides from this session here.