Giving Back Goes a Long Way

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Lexie Lu
A UX/UI designer with expertise in marketing, web design, and graphic design.
For many of us, the  holiday season kindles the natural urge to give back to our friends, family members and communities. While it's easy for friends to notice the impact of such deeds, understanding the contributions of businesses and enterprises isn't always so readily apparent.
For many of us, the  holiday season kindles the natural urge to give back to our friends, family members and communities. While it's easy for friends to notice the impact of such deeds, understanding the contributions of businesses and enterprises isn't always so readily apparent. However, even some of the largest, prolific and busiest organizations still find time to give back.

Apart from the holidays, many of the companies mentioned below maintain their charitable efforts throughout the entire year. Not only does this increase the potential for achieving significant change in the issues that affect their customers the most, but it also gives companies the opportunity to express their own concerns, promote their own causes and build their own networks of volunteers, charities and activists.

Sponsoring Community Events

Those who live in large and highly interconnected neighborhoods can sponsor localized, community-centric events as a means of raising awareness on a particular topic, creating new opportunities for networking or even for general recreation. Job fairs and tradeshows are also great ways for business leaders to give something back to their peers.
Depending on your exact community, there may be any number of events to sponsor. Marathons and sprints, for example, can be organized and held in nearly any locale. Fundraisers are also appropriate for most neighborhoods on account of their flexible and versatile nature.

The Hernando de Soto Historical Society, a group that is responsible for planning and organizing events throughout the state of Florida, have recently announced the Bradenton Area Half Marathon. Other businesses throughout the marathon's route, which includes Darwin's Brewery, have already expressed their support and sponsorship of the event. Darwin's has even unveiled a custom-brewed beer to mark the occasion.

Some companies sponsor their own sports teams to provide fun, recreation and lightheartedness to the area. DICK'S Sporting Goods, for example, regularly donates to neighborhood sports teams and regional leagues for adults as well as children. Individual athletes who demonstrate exceptional performance are also eligible for sponsorship through the DICK'S Sporting Goods' Community Program.

Donating to Local Charities

More often than not, local charities depend on the support of community members to have the greatest effect. There is no shortage of legitimate issues and reputable causes to stand behind, many of which revolve around youth-oriented healthcare, safety and general well-being. A shining example of this is the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which has been exploring innovative cures and treatment strategies since the early 1960s.

APG Exhibit, recognized by the Inc. 5000 as one of the fastest-growing companies for two consecutive years, has recently donated $5,000 to the Life is Good Kids Foundation. The company has also made donations to the Boston Children's Hospital and the Friends of Nathan Foundation.

Gilead Sciences is one of the biggest contributors to global charities today. With nearly $500 million donated to various charities, causes and non-profit organizations in 2015 alone, the company is definitely doing their part to fight diseases and illnesses around the world.   

Burt's Bees regularly teams up with Habitat for Humanity in the design and construction of new homes. Moreover, they founded The Burt's Bees Greater Good Foundation in 2007 in order to support non-profits that embrace natural products and solutions. The program has provided hundreds of individual grants totaling in excess of $2 million since its launch, including approximately $330,000 in 2015 alone.

PepsiCo takes a number of steps to support charities and causes around the world. With the majority of their efforts centered on healthy living, general wellness and women's rights, Pepsi regularly matches the donations of their employees while maintaining numerous programs of their own. On top of this, PepsiCo also awards tens of millions of dollars in yearly grants to help ensure access to clean drinking water.

Offering Disaster Relief

Participating in disaster relief efforts, either within your community or another, is an outstanding humanitarian feat in its own right. Although there's nothing we can do to prevent the whims of Mother Nature, the simple act of assisting in cleanup efforts can go a long way in lessening the impact and easing some immediate concerns.

Tide, best known for the popular laundry detergent, provides a valuable service that isn't always considered in the wake of a disaster or catastrophe. Their program, called Tide Loads of Hope, dispatches mobile laundromats to these areas. According to a representative, a typical fleet, which includes one truck and several vans, is enough hardware to wash and dry more than 300 loads in a single day.

America Online, or AOL, still regularly contributes to causes and initiatives all around the world. One of their latest campaigns, enacted in August 2016, saw the media enterprise team up with organizations like Save the Children, Global Giving and the National Italian American Foundation in order to provide aid and support to a disastrous earthquake in Rome.

Some disasters are so impactful that they actually result in the union of industry rivals. Microsoft, HP and Dell all joined forces to ensure the integrity of network infrastructure and connectivity following the Fukishima disaster in Japan. Together, the co-op provided hundreds of laptops, batteries and additional supplies.

Investing in Your Community's Future

Giving back to your local community is actually a great way to invest in the future. Not only will your contributions affect your reputation as well as that of your business, but a kind-hearted gesture such as this is bound to jumpstart the morale of your friends and neighbors. Who knows — you might even be able to generate awareness of an important cause, help a charity provide their services or help people unwind and relax. In any case, the result is well worth the effort.
Author:Lexie Lu
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