6 Xerox Employees Granted Full-Time, Fully Paid Sabbaticals to Lend Business Skills to Boost Nonprofits
Press release from the issuing company
STAMFORD, Conn.-- The St. Joseph's Neighborhood Center in Rochester, N.Y., relies on 160 volunteers to provide healthcare services that cover more than 3,000 uninsured or underinsured patients - or 18,000 visits - every year.
Yet every single appointment has to be scheduled in a plain old paper calendar by hand.
That's about to change, thanks to Xerox Corporation employee Patrick Waara. He's spending the next year at St. Joseph's to build a new computerized system for appointment and volunteer scheduling and all patient records, bringing a whole new level of efficiency to the nonprofit organization. "I can't wait to see the productivity gains," Waara says.
Waara is just one of six Xerox employees who were granted a "Social Service Leave" in 2007 to devote their full time to critical community service projects. During their leaves - which range from six months to one year - the employees continue to receive their full pay and benefits from Xerox. They will apply their technical, business and personal skills to help nonprofits address a range of social issues, such as supporting people with mental illness and helping orphaned children find new families.
The Xerox Foundation's Social Service Leave has granted sabbaticals of up to one year to 475 employees since the program began in 1971. One of few corporate sabbatical programs that provide paid opportunities for employees to volunteer full-time, Social Service Leave is believed to be the oldest of its kind in American business.
"Investing the skills of these talented, tenacious Xerox employees into their communities will reap rewards for years to come," says Anne Mulcahy, Xerox chairman and CEO. "Xerox has lived a commitment to corporate responsibility through Social Service Leave and other programs for decades, so we've seen the power that just one person can have to make a difference."
Xerox estimates that through the collective efforts of Social Service Leave participants, it has donated about a half-million volunteer hours over the past 35 years.
Under the leave, the six Xerox people will work for nonprofit agencies in California, Maryland, New York and Washington to accomplish projects of the employees' design and choosing. In addition to Waara, other 2007 Social Service Leave participants are:
-- Robyn Chase, product manager, Rochester, N.Y.: 6 months with Gilda's Club Rochester, which offers social and emotional support to people who are touched by cancer. Chase will help design a state-of-the-art volunteer program and help expand the agency's financial resources through fundraising and grants.
-- Colman Murphy, project manager for Xerox DocuShare software, Monterey, Calif.: 6 months with Interim Inc., which helps people with mental illness become self-sufficient. Murphy will create an online database for the more than 10,000 documents the agency handles and stores annually and will train clients how to handle light data entry, scan documents and more.
-- Cyndi Quan-Trotter, Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Redmond, Wash.: 12 months with Antioch Adoptions, which serves adoptive families, orphans, and birth parents in Washington State. She will help improve administrative processes, manage the audit process, and coordinate fundraising efforts to help the agency expand to multiple locations.
-- Carolyn Steinkirchner, publishing product manager, Rochester, N.Y.: 6 months with LDA Life and Learning Services, which helps people with Attention Deficit Disorder and other developmental disabilities. She will work on Project Connect, which links parents, educators and health professionals in order to serve children faster and more effectively.
-- Patricia Williams, network systems analyst, Silver Spring, Md.: 6 months with GapBuster Learning Center Inc., which helps empower and prepare "at-risk" children for the future. Williams will establish systems to document and manage capital funds, oversee fundraising, support grant writing, and more.
Social Service Leave was conceived by former Xerox president Archie McCardell in 1970. He and another Xerox executive were on a flight from California, where they had made a donation to a university on behalf of Xerox. A conversation about how "easy" it was to give money turned into a discussion about what kind of philanthropic gesture would represent a genuine sacrifice for Xerox. They concluded that the company's most valuable asset was its employees, and that offering employees' time would demonstrate a true philanthropic commitment by the company.
Then-CEO C. Peter McColough said in a letter to employees announcing the program in 1971: "Each year we contribute several million dollars to worthwhile institutions and projects. Yet we don't think that's enough ... so we decided to offer what we can least afford to give - the full-time service of Xerox people."
Social Service Leave represents just one of the ways that Xerox people volunteer in their communities. Other programs include teaching science in elementary schools, mentoring high-school student robotics competition teams, and supporting the Xerox Community Involvement Program, which provides up to $5,000 in grants to employee teams to conduct various service projects.
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