WE Smack Down: Love for Our Cities + Competitive Volunteering = Social Impact

Posted on March 26, 2012 by Comments Off

Earlier this month, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE) launched #WESmackDown, an all-out battle between our Portland and Seattle offices to prove who loves their city more by volunteering to make it a better place. And prove it they did!

In six collective volunteer hours last week, 37 WE employees helped do the following:

  • Prepare and beautify the rooftop garden at Portland’s YWCA Camp Westwind in the City that 300+ kids will enjoy, learn from and eat from all summer long.
  • Serve at Seattle’s Greenwood Food Bank, providing approximately 250 individuals with supplemental groceries that will feed them and their families as food stamps dwindle toward the end of the month

In addition to volunteer time, WE donated $1,500 to the YWCA and Greenwood Food Bank; a combination of in-kind and cash contributions. At the YWCA, WE’s donation will serve as a scholarship that covers the cost of summer camp for at least two kids who could not otherwise afford it, and at the Greenwood Food Bank, WE’s donation will cover thousands of pounds worth of fresh dairy products.

The ultimate goal of WE Smack Down is to get out and volunteer in the community. But seeing as we love healthy competition here at WE, Portland and Seattle employees also contend to see who can talk the best smack leading up to the volunteer events. Equipped with a wrestling name and an unlimited supply of enthusiasm and creativity, WE employees embraced the challenge. The Seattle team went so far as to create a training video to intimidate their Portland contenders.

The March WE Smack Down events were the first of four U.S. Northwest matchups WE will host one per quarter to determine the ultimate WE Smack Down champion for 2012. Teams get points based on who is fastest to fill their volunteer spots, who gets the most creative in driving awareness and trash talking leading up to the event, and who shows up to the event with the most volunteer spots filled. At the end of the year, the winning office will get a WE Smack Down trophy and, more importantly, bragging rights. The Pacific Northwest events are already such a hit that there’s talk about an East Coast WE Smack Down in the works between our New York, Boston and Washington, D.C. offices.

Though both teams put up a valiant fight, the ultimate WE Smack Down champ for our March battle was the Seattle team. Portland competitors, however, are not discouraged; after all, they have three more battles to wage, and this war is nowhere near over.

Congratulations to all our WE Smack Down contenders: You have proven how much you love your city!

On the Heels of SXSWi, WE Celebrates Its Austin Employees Making a Difference

Posted on March 9, 2012 by Comments Off

As millions of people flock to the city of Austin, Texas, this weekend for South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi), our attention at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide also turns to the capital of the Lone Star State. In addition to having a presence at the festival — you can find details about our SXSWi activities here including how we’re supporting Make-a-Wish Central & South Texas at the event — we’re taking this opportunity to highlight a few of the ways our WE-Austin employees give back to the vibrant city they call home.

  • Donating time and expertise to support the Texas Marathon Relay, benefitting Junior Achievement of Central Texas. For the past six years, WE-Austin has partnered with the Texas Marathon Relay, managing the event’s media efforts including social, print and radio. Through this partnership, the WE team aims to increase awareness of Junior Achievement of Central Texas and its mission by driving conversations, engaging volunteers and highlighting the impact the organization makes on young people’s lives. Junior Achievement raises money and puts it “right back into the classroom,” says Rachel Austin, WE-Austin employee. By educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs, Junior Achievement creates fiscally fit and financially responsible individuals. You can check out the Texas Marathon Relay Facebook page and follow them on Twitter.
  • Hosting an annual WE Make a Difference Day. WE-Austin hosts a yearly WE Make a Difference Day for employees during which time the entire office comes together to volunteer in the community. In 2011, WE-Austin employees volunteered their time on behalf of the Trail Foundation and spent a full day beautifying a local waterway, removing debris from Lady Bird Lake via kayaks.
  • Judging elementary school science fairs. In January, three WE-Austin employees judged a very cute and innovative science fair where kindergarten through fifth grade students submitted paper mâché volcanoes, lemon-powered light bulbs and insect collections.
  • Participating in the Rodeo Run 10K for Higher Education. Lisa Ferrara, a WE-Austin employee, recently ran the Rodeo Run that kicks off Rodeo Houston. The rodeo raises funds for scholarships in higher education, and this year’s Rodeo Run raised $360,000 for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Educational Fund. You can read more about Lisa’s story here.
  • Gearing up to help save the lives of shelter animals. In the upcoming months, several WE-Austin employees will volunteer their time and skills with Austin Pets Alive, which is dedicated to making Austin a “no-kill” city and to keeping companion animals alive. WE employees will help the organization plan events and prepare its new building.

Thank you, WE Austinites for your continued commitment to give back to your community! And, for anyone attending Waggener Edstrom’s SXSWi party this Saturday at Malverde, be sure to check in on Four Square when you arrive. WE will donate $5 to Make-A-Wish Central & South Texas for each attendee who checks in.

Have a great SXSWi, y’all!

Celebrate Giving

Posted on December 9, 2011 by 2 Comments

Tis the season to be jolly and to GIVE!

Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE) is thrilled to kick off its 2011 Holiday Giving Campaign. Every year, WE celebrates the season by sharing gifts with the communities in which it does business. WE has invited its employees this year to select one of five nonprofit organizations from around the world that they’d like WE to make a donation to on their behalf. Each choice represents a $20 donation, and WE will make up to $10,000 in total gifts.

The organizations WE is supporting this year share a common mission to combat hunger. They provide disadvantaged men, women and children with short-term food assistance and long-term tools and skills that can change lives. Just as the ancient Chinese proverb says, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The organizations WE is supporting during its 2011 Holiday Giving Campaign include:
Digital Green
FareShare
FareStart
Mercy Corps
SEED

WE is focusing this year’s gifts on combatting hunger for a number of reasons, not the least of which is this startling statistic: Tonight, one in seven people in the world will go to bed hungry.

According to the World Food Programme, hunger is the world’s No. 1 health risk, killing more people than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Hunger impacts both individuals and communities, imposing crushing economic burdens. Economists estimate that every child whose physical and mental development is stunted by hunger and malnutrition stands to lose 5 percent to 10 percent in lifetime earnings.

WE has chosen to support organizations that combat hunger through both short- and long-term assistance so that people may pull themselves out of hunger’s vicious cycle. These organizations span the globe and serve communities where WE employees live and work. Also, as a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact, WE supports the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, one of which is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.

In addition to these gifts, as part of the 2011 Holiday Giving Campaign, WE employees will volunteer this month at the Oregon Food Bank in Portland and the YWCA Women’s Shelter in Seattle, as well as collect nonperishable food items for these organizations’ food pantries. Since late November, WE employees from other offices including London, San Francisco, Singapore and more have also volunteered their time with nonprofit organizations that combat hunger.

We’ll keep you posted on how the campaign shakes out. In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you: How are you giving back this season?

Good Deeds: The Impact was YOU!

Posted on October 31, 2011 by Comments Off

Good Deeds Logo

Earlier this month, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE) kicked off its second giving campaign — Good Deeds — with Jolkona. As a corporate sponsor, WE agreed to match up to $5,000 of individual donors’ contributions to projects showcased on the Jolkona website. We were thrilled when we met our goal of raising $10,000 for Jolkona in just two weeks. We were also nothing short of blown away when we saw the resulting impact, the impact that YOU created.

It just goes to show the substantial power of good deeds — large and small — for both individuals and the community. It’s also exemplifies why WE has deepened its partnership with Jolkona over the past year. In addition to sponsoring Good Deeds, last year WE sponsored the MatchED giving campaign, during which time WE raised $10,000 for Jolkona by matching contributions to education-related projects on its website. A few ways Jolkona recipients benefitted from funds raised include tutoring provided to students in Guatemala, books supplied to schools in Tibet, scholarships given in Zambia, and technology tools provided to U.S. schools. In addition, this summer WE facilitated an ideation session with Jolkona leaders, and this fall WE is organizing volunteering opportunities for agency employees with Seattle-based nonprofit organizations that Jolkona supports.

You can see a full list of the campaign’s impact below. Thank you for supporting these worthy projects and for making such a significant impact in the world with your good deeds!

2 women received life skills class in USA
2 months of primary education provided in Uganda
4 stoves provided in Nepal
400 trees planted in India
6 students attended a night class in the tsunami-affect area of Japan
2 girls saved from honor killing in Iraq
8 orphans received clothes in Iraq
6 women received farming training in Sudan
2 girls received 1 year of education in Afghanistan
2 businesses showcase opportunity provided in USA
2 mothers and newborn received nutritional support in India
2 months of primary education provided in Uganda
2 women received access to clothes in USA
6 weeks of food provided in Iraq
100 trees planted in Ethiopia
6 acres of rainforest conserved in Tanzania
2 young women trained in Nepal
2 stories sponsored in United States
12 months of secondary education provided in Uganda
2 months of support provided to a student in Rwanda
4 jobs created in India
2 women received training in bio-intensive farming in Kenya
2 students received support for research project in USA
12 months of computer training provided in Guatemala
2 children sponsored in Bangladesh
2 orphans received education in Kenya
8 children saved from diarrhea in India
6 school girls received uniforms in Liberia
2 headsets provided to a classroom in USA
2 rural Tibetan girls attended day school in China
2 months of HIV treatment provided in Kenya
2 Above & Beyond awards given to homeless person in USA
160 children received 1 week of meal each in Uganda
2 hygiene kits provided in Haiti
2 homes fumigated in Bolivia
2 family toilets provided in Nepal
2 classes received notebooks in United States
2 soccer camps participant supported in United States
4 women trained in bio-intensive farming in Kenya
2 women trained in Pakistan
4 Jolkona projects added

Donna’s Good Deed: Helping Small Businesses Succeed

Posted on October 20, 2011 by Comments Off

 

Check out this blog post from our friends at Jolkona about Waggener Edstrom’s own Donna O’Neill and why she gave as part of the Good Deeds campaign. Thanks for sharing your story, Donna!

Donna O'Neill Good Deeds Logo

Good Deeds: The Impact is You

Posted on October 10, 2011 by 1 Comment

Good Deeds LogoWaggener Edstrom Worldwide is thrilled to kick off its second giving campaign — Good Deeds — with Jolkona, a Seattle-based nonprofit that uses technology to facilitate low-cost, high-impact giving to social causes. As a corporate sponsor, WE will match up to $5,000 of individual donors’ contributions to projects showcased on the Jolkona website October 10 – 24, 2011. Our goal is to raise $10,000 for Jolkona throughout the campaign.

Jolkona empowers donors to support any of the 100+ different projects its nonprofit partners are implementing today across the globe. For instance, donors might choose to support orphans in Kenya, plant trees in Cameroon, give technology and life skills to homeless women in the United States, build hygienic toilets in rural India, feed a hungry family in Nicaragua, or give scholarships to Afghan refugees. WE is partnering with Jolkona on this campaign to support these meaningful projects and to demonstrate how impactful every gift can be, no matter how large or small.

Good Deeds is not limited to WE employees. WE will match all donations made to Jolkona projects dollar-for-dollar during the campaign. Plus, this year @WE_Citizen will award several $25 spot donations to Jolkona on behalf of people who tweet about their gift using the #WEGoodDeeds hashtag on Twitter, so remember to tell your social network about your donation!

Why Good Deeds The philosophy that all giving matters is the spirit of Jolkona’s mission. Jolkona recognizes that people don’t have to be wealthy or have an unlimited amount of time to volunteer to make an impact; even small doses of passion turned to action make a difference. Or, as we like to think about it, the impact is YOU.

Jolkona’s message of empowering individuals to make an impact is a big reason why WE has deepened its partnership with the organization over the past year. In addition to sponsoring Good Deeds, last year WE sponsored the MatchED giving campaign, during which time WE raised $10,000 for Jolkona by matching contributions to education-related projects on its website. A few examples of Jolkona programs that benefitted from funds raised include tutoring provided to students in Guatemala, books supplied to schools in Tibet, scholarships in Zambia, and technology tools provided to U.S. schools. In addition, this summer WE facilitated an ideation session with Jolkona leaders, and this fall WE is organizing volunteering opportunities for agency employees with Seattle-based nonprofit organizations that Jolkona supports.

We hope you’ll consider doing a good today. Let the giving begin!

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