Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Finding Mutual Inspiration in Corporate-Nonprofit Partnerships

This post was written by The Advisory Board Company's Community Impact Associate Director Rachel Tappis. Rachel is a proud DC-metro native with a passion for enacting positive change through volunteerism and community engagement. 

I have always loved volunteering to work with children. I began as a coach with our neighborhood summer swim team at age 13, and ever since then I have sought out opportunities to serve as a coach, tutor, and mentor. I love the way children look at the world – every experience is new and exciting. I strive to incorporate that perspective into my own life, and when I do, often find inspiration in places that I wouldn’t normally look.

This summer, I was thrilled to accept a job with The Advisory Board Company’s Community Impact team. The opportunity to join a company that understands the inspiration I find in volunteering and seeks to support and empower talented employees to pursue their interests in an altruistic setting is, for me, profound.

The commitment to service infused throughout the Advisory Board starts at the top. This year, CEO Robert Musslewhite challenged the firm with a “2013 Commitment to our Communities”, calling for 100% employee participation in service, $1M in benefits to our nonprofit partners, and 10,000 lives touched. Even for a company with a strong service record, this was an ambitious call to action. I am proud to say that my colleagues have risen to meet this challenge applying their vast skill sets and knowledge of the health care and higher education fields to assist organizations that make a tangible and positive difference in the DC community every day. Whether it’s working with Community of Hope’s Marie Reed Health Center to provide patients with continuity of care, or enabling the Latin American Youth Center to save over $35,000 through an IT and email system assessment, the Advisory Board commits our strongest assets to help our nonprofit partners to achieve their missions. This is a mutually strengthening partnership: it empowers our partners and inspires our employees.

In my experience, Advisory Board employees choose to participate in our community impact work is because we strive to engage our teammates on dual levels: the head and the heart. Engaging the head involves assessing an individual’s unique strengths and skills to determine where and how they can have the greatest impact. Engaging the heart goes beyond that practical mindset to tap into each person’s passion to make a difference in the areas that matter most to them. By empowering our teammates to connect with service opportunities on both these levels, their community-focused work takes on a deeper meaning and results in transformative outcomes.

While the Advisory Board is dedicated to serving our community year-round, our commitment will be intensified during our third annual Week of Service: October 7-11th. Building on the 4,000 community impact hours logged in our 2012 Week of Service, events this year include dispatching 70+ senior executives to serve local nonprofits in a consulting capacity, engaging our brightest minds in a firm-wide competition to solve a pressing social issue, tapping marketing and graphic design experts to generate creative collateral for our partner organizations, and coordinating dozens of hands-on opportunities for our teammates to provide direct community service. Please check out our website for the full roster of events happening throughout the week – we may be dropping in at an organization near you!

I am extremely proud of our community impact efforts both during Week of Service and year-round, but I am just as proud to know that DC is rich with amazing nonprofits. We are very fortunate to partner with mission-driven organizations like DC-AYA, BUILD DC, and Urban Alliance. The dedication and empathy that they exhibit daily inspires me and every member of our team, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to serve alongside them.

So please know our work doesn’t end on October 11th. As we move forward, we want to cultivate and expanded ways to serve our community. If your organization can benefit from pro bono support next week or at any point throughout the year, please do not hesitate to contact me. Our firm welcomes the opportunity to partner with like-minded organizations in our common goal to inspire positive community impact.

Rachel's current favorite volunteer spot is at the Children's National Medical Center where she is a member of their Junior Council. You can learn more about The Advisory Board Company's Impact team by watching this video and following them on Twitter.   

 To read more about youth issues in DC you can FOLLOW us on Twitter, LIKE us on Facebook and VISIT us at www.dc-aya.org

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