Doing Good Employee Giving Delivers Collective Community Impact
By Jeannine Sato
Sabrina Lamar holds up the Burt’s Bees gift basket she won in a weekly drawing for Doing Good employee giving donors in October. She laughs as she mentions that her teenage children will also be interested in the self-care products. Lamar is an administrative assistant to the director of Duke’s Center for Advanced Hindsight at the American Tobacco Campus in downtown Durham. The prize was unexpected. Lamar is instead motivated to donate to the Doing Good campaign because it keeps her connected to community.
“This is an opportunity to donate at the intersection of Duke and Durham communities,” said Lamar. “When you join others in an initiative (like Doing Good), even in a small way, you feel a part of the community. When we come together, we can make a difference.”
Lamar likes to connect her giving with her service interests in education and community nonprofits – both are Doing Good giving categories that support organizations in Durham and the region.
The sentiments of connectivity resonate with community partners receiving Doing Good funding, like StepUp Durham. It provides education, job training and placement for individuals facing employment challenges, such as those re-entering the community after incarceration.
“When people give $5 or $20, we have this belief in collective impact,” said StepUp executive director, Syretta Hill. “Because we work with so many organizations to address a continuum of needs, their dollar can go further.”
Like most employee giving partners, ties between StepUp and Duke run deep. Duke assisted with its start-up six years ago and Duke representatives serve on its board and committees. Duke Divinity students serve as interns each year and Sanford’s Hart Leadership Program has collaborated on projects to support the nonprofit. Hill said the wrap-around support of funding and service allows them to adapt to the community’s changing needs.
“Funding allows us to be innovative, while also providing sustainability,” said Hill. “It has allowed us to think beyond just programming, because we work with people really deeply.”
Serving as Champion
Seeing impacts in the community is why Duke Police Major Ron Evans has served as his department’s Doing Good employee giving “champion” for four years. Champions share information about Doing Good and bring enthusiasm to their colleagues so they can make informed choices about donating to community partners.
Evans’ reasons for giving and serving as a champion are personal. “I think it’s always good to do good. I know personally people who have benefitted from Doing Good and programs like that,” said Evans.
Part of a bigger picture of well-being
As a donor, Duke Regional Hospital President Katie Galbraith has found giving through payroll deduction an easy way to give back to community since 2001. But as a Duke and Durham leader, she said there is a larger connection between employee giving and community well-being. She noted that only 20 percent of community health factors are based in the healthcare setting. Circumstances such as income, housing quality, access to nutrition and transportation all impact one’s health.
“We impact the health of our community by supporting early childhood, literacy, college and career readiness as well,” she said. “There are so many organizations that impact drivers of health.”
While all Duke employees can give year-round, Galbraith said the October appeal fits well with the other service and giving activities of Duke Regional employees, like the American Heart Association Heart Walk and the start of holiday giving.
For Ron Evans, this year’s Doing Good campaign is more important to community than ever.
“After the year we’ve been through we need do to do all we can. People have had a tough year…and giving a few dollars will not hurt many of us.”
Duke employees can give to Doing Good year-round in six giving categories: community, health, neighborhoods and housing, education, and employment. The categories are designed to leverage the power of collective giving to support communities in Durham and the region. There is no Duke overhead, so 100% of donations go to organizations. Employees may also choose to direct donations to the United Way of the Greater Triangle. Employees can learn more and donate in October or year-round via payroll deduction or online at doinggood.duke.edu.