At Symantec, the activism, advocacy, and passion of employees on the ground is what transforms our corporate responsibility strategy into tangible, real-world results. We’re committed to building a culture that enables employees to apply their time and talents to the issues they care most deeply about, and offer programs to maximize volunteer and philanthropic efforts.
These include our Matching Gift; Dollars for Doers; Nonprofit Board Service; Symantec Service Time Programs, which provides employees with up to five paid working days for volunteering, and Global Service Week, a full week of service during which employees are encouraged to commit to at least 30 minutes (and up to eight hours) of community service with a charitable project of their choice.
Starting October 9, 1,500 employees across the globe donated their time and talents to make Symantec’s second annual Global Service week a smashing success. With more than 70 events in 11 countries resulting in 6,280 hours with nonprofits and charities—we achieved a 57 percent increase from 2016 efforts. From Saudi Arabia to Reading, Johannesburg to Warsaw, Sydney to Tempe, employees worked together to make a difference in their communities. Global Service Week is one of the many ways we empower employees to help us meet our goal of reaching an average of four volunteer hours per employee by 2020.
In addition to the hours spent playing games with kids at the Boys and Girls Club, teaching seniors about technology, building solar lights for those in energy poverty, participating in blood drives, donating and sorting clothing for low-income women starting their careers, and serving meals to the homeless, nonprofit recipients also received $41,420 through Symantec’s Dollars For Doers program, which provides a cash grant of $15 USD for every hour of volunteer service up to $1,000 per year per employee.
Symantec employees chose projects and causes that spanned several different focus areas: 31 percent volunteered with an environmental cause, 19 percent volunteered with a cause that helps women, minorities and low-income populations, and 14 percent volunteered with a cause focused on STEM and equal access.
Six Symantec sites, our Dublin, Dubai, Johannesburg, Reading UK, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore offices, built solar powered light bulbs in partnership with Solar Buddy. (Cape Town will be doing this next week) The light bulbs are on their way to Papua New Guinea (PNG) where only 10 percent of PNG residents are connected to the electricity grid, leaving seven million people forced to rely on dangerous kerosene, campfires, and expensive battery operated torches. Thanks to the volunteer support of Symantec employees these solar light bulbs will help give children and families living in energy poverty, access. Children will be able to do homework after dark, parents can continue to work on their small business, and women and girls can walk around their villages safely.
The majority of employees chose a hands-on project, like Mohsin Najmuddin in Pakistan, who planted fruit trees at a charity school named "Hilal Public School" located in a remote area far from Karachi and provided lunch for the students. “It was a great experience. We taught the benefits of tree plantation to the students and asked them to own those trees and to look after them. We also did a general knowledge question answer session with the students and distributed gifts among them,” Mohsin said.
For June Lee in Singapore, Global Service Week was the first time she heard of Beyond Charity, a nonprofit dedicated to helping children and youths from less privileged backgrounds break away from the poverty cycle. June helped deliver food to families in need and through the process she learned how much the charity did for the community. June had always wanted to volunteer but wasn’t sure where to spend her time or how to get involved. With Symantec’s support and through GSW she found the process to join simple. “I wanted to volunteer, but didn't know where and how. Global Service Week provides the opportunity to reach out to people and now I’m more aware that there are still many people who really need our help,” she said.
Jeff Reitzes who volunteered at the Habitat for Humanity (HfH) ReStore in Concord, California, also chose a hands-on project. ReStore is a store that sells donated building materials, furniture, appliances, beds, mattresses and other household items, with the proceeds going to fund HfH projects. Jeff put together furniture for display, moved items from the trucks to the warehouse and the store, took sold items to customers' cars and did lots of other odd jobs. Of the experience he said, “I had a great time and worked with a lot nice people. It was VERY nice for Symantec to let me take the day off of work to do this volunteer work. I will definitely do it again outside of Global Service Week.”
In the United States, four Symantec offices partnered with Together We Rise, a non-profit that supports children in foster care. One of the organization’s main programs, Build a Bike, provides free bicycles to make the foster care transition a little easier. Symantec employees in Boxborough, Mountain View and San Francisco built bicycles for young foster children to experience the simple joys of childhood, and for foster teens to help get them to jobs and classes. The Washington, D.C. office also worked with Together We Rise, providing Sweet Cases to foster children – new duffel bags filled with essentials like a teddy bear, blanket, hygiene kit and more.
We’d like to congratulate our event organizer winners who each won a $500 award for their efforts: Amber Tarin, who brought a team to the Utah Food Bank, and Benjamin Cook, who organized a blood drive in Melbourne, Australia. Our Twitter Photo Contest winners this year are Charlie Cam, Maqbool Khan, Ajay Kumar, Saad Sheikh, and Nina Singhal, and we’d like to thank all of the employees who shared their experiences with us on Twitter.
Global Service Week was a fantastic opportunity for employees around the world to come together with old friends and new, to volunteer with a cause they care deeply about. We thank all of our organizers, executives, and employees for their efforts this year and are proud of the tremendous impact made in communities across the globe.