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Corporate Philanthropy: More than Writing a Check

LexisNexis-Cares

LexisNexis employees roll up their sleeves volunteering for the Interfaith Food Shuttle on Cares Day.

Few charitable causes would turn down an ethical donation from a corporation.  Every charity is strapped for cash, and there’s always something more that can be done.

Corporations, too, can be very generous with donations. And to be clear, those that do give to charity deserve every bit of goodwill they might generate in exchange. Money buys things; money makes things happen, and donations are absolutely admirable.  However, it’s truly amazing when a business speaks not just with a checkbook, but with the actions of all its employees.

Giving Back

This past Wednesday, more than 120 such employees from LexisNexis in Cary, NC, skipped work at the company’s encouragement.

They spread out all across the greater Raleigh-Durham area to spend the day working at one of seven different local charities, including the Interfaith Food Shuttle, Salvation Army Center of Hope, Salvation Army Thrift Store, Saving Grace Animal Shelter, S.O.A.P and the USO.

Why?  LexisNexis champions a program called Cares, which provides employees with up to two (paid) days, or 16 hours, every year to volunteer at a charity of their choice.   Because it’s hard to escape from the office, the company organizes “Cares Days” to facilitate participation.

The hope is if we do it all together, then a handful might adopt a charity and spend their other 8 hours volunteering there.  That’s when we start to really make a difference.

It would be very easy to write a check noted Michael Lipps, the senior executive for the Business of Law Software Solutions Group (BLSS), at a rally for employees at the end of the day. His comments indicated it takes a little bit more for a company to give up its time.

Think Local for Global Impact

The metrics are easy to calculate: 120 employees x 8 hours = 960 hours.  To put it another way, that’s the equivalent of one full-time employee (FTE) for about six months.  More importantly, that’s the number for just our part of the business.

When one steps back and realizes that LexisNexis employs some 10,000 people globally, and the entire company was backing Cares Day this past Wednesday, it begins to give a sense for just how committed LexisNexis is to charitable causes.  This isn’t just lip service.

To be clear, we also have fun.  As part of Cares Day, the teams from the Cary were encouraged to make a 45 second video about their volunteer day.  The videos – seven in total or one for each charity – would be judged at the end-of-day rally and the winning video would earn a big donation check for their respective charity.

In the end, the team that spent their day with the Wake County Habitat for Humanity won with this very creative video that will seem familiar to nearly anyone who watches television.  But, in the true spirit of giving to all, the rules were modified so that each charity received a donation.

To see additional photos of employees volunteering at other local charities in the Raleigh-Durham area, please visit the Cares Day album on our Facebook page.

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About Frank Strong

Frank Strong
Frank Strong is the communications director for the LexisNexis software division located on NC State’s Centennial Campus in Raleigh. In this capacity, he leads communications efforts in support of software products for law practice and law department management and also litigation tools – across large law, small law and corporate counsel segments. With more than 15 years of experience in the high-tech sector, Strong previously served as director of public relations for Vocus, which developed marketing, PR and media monitoring software. He has held multiple roles both in-house with corporations, ranging from startups to global organizations, and has also endured the rigors of billable hours, having completed gigs at PR firms including the top 10 global firm Hill & Knowlton. A veteran of two year-long deployments, Strong has concurrently served in uniform in reserve components of the military for more than 20 years, initially as an enlisted Marine and later as an infantry officer in the Army National Guard. Strong holds a BA in Film and TV production from Worcester State University, an M.A. in Public Communication from American University, and an M.B.A. from Marymount University. He is a PADI-certified Master Scuba Diver and holds a USPA "B" skydiving license.