We Are Citizen Philanthropists – Service Learning in Munich, Germany
Every waterfall begins with a single drop of water. That’s the idea behind VMware’s Citizen Philanthropy approach to giving—VMware’s waterfall of impact is the result of the collective actions of VMware people. Core to our ethos is the belief that we can all learn and grow through service.
This month we hear from Wolfgang Gwildies, who is a Senior Solutions Engineering Manager and a Giving Network Lead in Munich, Germany. Giving Networks are employee-driven groups of colleagues who work to ensure the people in their VMware networks know about and can more easily access VMware Foundation programs to increase our global impact as a community.
We asked Wolfgang to share some insights from a recent Service Learning opportunity he took part in with his fellow Munich-based Giving Network members at Benediktbeuern Monastery, in Bavaria, about 64 km south-south-west of Munich.
VMware Foundation: Tell us about the Service Learning activity your Giving Network was recently involved in.
Wolfgang Gwildies: I worked with a charity entity of the Salesian Don Bosco group, called ZUK Zentrum Umwelt und Kultur Benediktbeuern e.V. (ZUK Centre for Environment und Culture). Don Bosco is a non-profit organisation (NPO) committed to supporting disadvantaged youths.
We spent a whole day working as a team with over 150 people at the Benediktbeuern Monastery. There were over eighteen construction projects to be done, from painting, renovations, constructing King Fisher nesting boxes and insect hotels, to mowing paths and fixing fencing. We split into teams, each focusing on a different project. Each team was paired with a leader affiliated to the Monastery; they were retirees, past pupils, or current students, all of whom were volunteering as well. I very much enjoyed learning about each person’s motivation to invest this time in supporting the facilities and local environment.
Despite the rain, our projects ran smoothly, and we had a lot of fun!
VMware Foundation: Why was this activity meaningful to you and your fellow Giving Network members?
Wolfgang Gwildies: I witnessed what the capabilities of families, children, and school classes can be when everyone pulls together. I also got to appreciate our environment, nature, and the different kind of animals in our neighborhood.
VMware Foundation: As a VMware employee and a member of a Giving Network, how does our culture of service impact you? (Professionally & Personally)
Wolfgang Gwildies: It’s great to work for a company that has the capability to allow its employees to give back to their local communities. For me it’s important to be able to blend my normal work life with contributing to my community. VMware really allows for this by offering every employee 40 paid hours of Service Learning each year.
VMware Foundation: What are your Giving Network’s upcoming plans for community support through Foundation programs?
Wolfgang Gwildies: We have several projects planned for 2020. For example, we will be serving with Anton Schrobenhauser kids to life Foundation. We will help onsite with some renovation work to improve and upgrade some of their facilities. We will also continue to work with the Munich Orphanage. The Germany Giving Network has lots more planned to contribute through Service Learning in 2020!