Engaged Around the World: Five Principles for Increasing Employee Volunteerism
In this piece, two Intel leaders offer insights as to how the company achieved last year’s significant volunteer milestone and share lessons learned about how other global companies and organizations can make a significant local impact by applying the time, passion, and skills of employees to drive positive change in their communities.
When Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in 2017, ﬁve members of the Intel Employee Service Corps— our ﬂagship skills-based volunteer program—ven- tured to the island’s Mayagüez region, determined to help. They visited 161 schools in just nine days to assess the impact of the worst natural disaster in the US territory’s recorded history. After developing an assistance plan and securing a donation of 2,000 Intel® NUC computers, the team returned in 2018 to equip 30 schools across the island with state-of- the-art computer labs. The equipment and labor donated as part of this project represents a $2.5 mil- lion contribution to Puerto Rican schools.
This is just one of countless examples of volunteers from corporations like Intel coming together for communities and a common cause.
One of Intel’s core values is “Be an asset to our communities worldwide,” as the collective wellbeing of local communities is critical for our shared success. In 1988, Intel’s co-founder Gordon Moore cemented our commitment to philanthropy by establishing the Intel Foundation, which has funded science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs and disaster relief efforts and amplified the philanthropy of Intel employees for the past 30 years. Since the Foundation’s inception, Intel has invested a total of $778 million through 2018 to improve lives around the world.
To encourage employees to volunteer in our communities, we launched our corporate volunteer program, Intel Involved, in 1995. The program was a resounding success. By 2008, the Intel Involved Matching Grant program, funded by the Intel Foundation, grew into a global effort that included a match of $10 per hour volunteered to qualified schools and nonprofit community organizations.
In 2018, as a result of a corporate challenge to celebrate our 50th anniversary, we saw more volunteers in a single year than ever before—69,000 employees and US retirees. That’s 64 percent of our total employee population and a 56 percent increase compared with 2017. Volunteers gave over one and a half million hours at a wide range of nonprofit organizations across 28 countries, including nearly 395,000 hours to schools and educational institutions, over 147,000 hours to human services organizations, and more than 78,000 hours to youth development programs.
It’s been a colossal effort to grow our volunteer program. The following key principles enabled us to create an impactful program that helps communities across the globe:
- Recognize and motivate employees. We empower employees to improve their communities by enabling them to volunteer at the organizations that are most meaningful to them. We recognize those hours through the Intel Involved Matching Grant program, which extends the impact of global volunteerism by donating funds to eligible nonprofits and schools where Intel employees and US retirees volunteer. In 2018, volunteer efforts resulted in nearly $12 million in Intel Involved Matching Grants to more than 4,000 schools and charitable organizations around the world.
- Support employees by allowing them to volunteer on company time. Knowing that volunteering builds goodwill and is good for business, we offer ﬂexible work schedules to give employees time in their work day to go out and do good in their communities. Taking it a step further, we announced the Winners of Wonder program as part of our 50th anniversary. To better their communities, 50 employees across the globe were awarded an additional two weeks of paid time off to partner with eligible schools or nonprofit organizations, which were also awarded $5,000 grants. Oliver Chen, a technical marketing engineer and one of the winners, partnered with the Sacramento Public Library to develop an AI curriculum for teaching coding skills to first-time learners.
- Link volunteer programs to employees’ personal growth. We’ve found that projects around technology and innovation allow employees to grow their own skillsets while helping others. The Intel Employee Service Corps (IESC) harnesses the passion of employees while giving them the opportunity to be more directly involved in improving lives through Intel technology and volunteer service. IESC volunteers engage with organizations to deliver repeatable, enriching experiences through acts of global service. IESC provides unique opportunities for our employees to share their gifts of talent and time to inspire, equip, and empower underserved communities.
- Think globally in your efforts. We’re a global company, and we empower employees everywhere to make a difference in their local communities. For example, employees in Israel assembled 1,800 Purim baskets for underprivileged families. In Oregon, for National Engineering Week, 175 volunteers led hands-on engineering activities that reached over 1,000 students in Hillsboro. In Malaysia, over 70 Intel volunteers participated in a two-day event at the Penang Botanical Gardens to collect scientific data, including physical, chemical, and biological assessments. More than 700 employees in Ireland put together over 1,200 care packages to help those in need.
- Engage employees at all levels in causes that underscore the company’s purpose. From interns to senior management, everyone should feel empowered to get involved. Many of our business units host annual “give back” days as one of their team building events. Employees are encouraged to get out of the oﬃce with their colleagues for a few hours and volunteer together at a local school or nonprofit organization. Our executive leadership even gets in on the fun—last year, 21 senior leaders volunteered at the Second Harvest Food Bank in San Jose, California.
Using this approach, Intel has built a sustaining culture of giving back. The rewards of this culture extend beyond the organizations our employees support. Across the company, we see increased employee morale and a greater awareness of the needs of our communities, both local and global.
Pia Wilson-Body is president of the Intel Foundation, where she oversees the foundation’s approach for achieving impact and realizing the organization’s mission and goals. The Intel Foundation is active worldwide, awarding millions in grants focused on supporting the philanthropic efforts of Intel’s employees in education and their communities. Learn more about the Intel Foundation and Intel’s social impact at Intel.com/CSR.
Todd Brady is the Director of Global Public Affairs and Sustainability for Intel Corporation, where he leads state and local government affairs, media and community relations, corporate volunteerism, and sustainability at the company’s major manufacturing and office locations around the globe.