As part of National Volunteer Week, the 2013 Pro Bono Summit will be taking place Monday, April 22, 2013. In partnership with a Billion+Change, a national campaign to mobilize billions of dollars in corporate pro bono community service, the summit will feature multiple companies who will share their best practices, innovations and new trends in skills-based volunteering.
One of those companies participating in the summit includes Acumen Solutions, Inc. Margie Johnson, Senior Director of Corporate Care at Acumen, spoke to WashingtonExec, taking part in our Q&A Pro Bono Summit series. Johnson talked about how her company’s pro bono work impacts the community, its history of community service, why the company made the Billion+Change pledge and more.
WashingtonExec: How does your company’s pro bono work not only impact the community, but also benefit your business?
Margie Johnson: Acumen Solution’s pro bono initiative is directed to organizations within our Nonprofit Portfolio. Membership in this group is determined by an Acumen senior leader being placed on an organizations nonprofit board, through our Board Leadership Program (BLP). We believe that our employees’ expertise and knowledge is as valuable as financial and human capital. Through the efforts of our pro bono teams, we tackle a pressing business challenge, resulting in the organizations ability to better serve their communities. Our projects have enabled organizations to increase their visibility, expand their networks, more effectively engage their stakeholders, leverage resources and increase donor activity. The benefit for our employees is a greater sense of corporate culture and community connection. Employees acknowledge that their experience is personally rewarding, enlightening and they appreciate the opportunity to not only give back, but hone new skills in a unique work environment. Pro Bono is a win-win for Acumen Solutions!
WashingtonExec: What is your company’s history in community service activities?
Margie Johnson: Social Responsibility is a Core Value, and has been an integral part of our company’s since inception. Over time, our giving strategy has become more focused and outcomes-driven in three ways. First, we evolved from supporting a wide range of employee-centered service efforts to focusing on our Portfolio. Second, we realized that our employee’s expertise and knowledge is as valuable as financial and human capital. Third, by creating longer-term partnerships with Portfolio organizations, we are better equipped to track, and enhance the impact of our engagement with them.
WashingtonExec: What exactly is your company’s volunteer area of importance? Education, the environment, etc.
Margie Johnson: Acumen does not stipulate a single area of focus in our CSR; we look to our Nonprofit Portfolio Partners needs to drive our efforts. Once trained, Acumen leaders select a cause/organization where they would like to serve as board members. When these placements are secured and the organization is welcomed into the Portfolio, they are eligible for all the giving back efforts we execute. Currently Acumen leadership sits on 22 nonprofit organization boards whose missions vary from literacy, childhood cancer, youth education, needs of low income families and more. This ensures that Acumen employees have a look at the diverse issues within our communities with which they can support, at work and on their own.
“Currently Acumen leadership sits on 22 nonprofit organization boards whose missions vary from literacy, childhood cancer, youth education, needs of low income families and more”
WashingtonExec: Why did your company choose to take the A Billion+Change pledge?
Margie Johnson: Acumen Solutions is proud to partner with so many quality employers to help address the issues of our local communities. As they say, be the example of what you want others to do – so we are practicing what we have always preached. We believe giving back to the communities who have supported our growth is the right thing to do. If our joining the pledge can help encourage other mid-size companies, who aren’t sure how they can help or don’t believe they have the capacity to do so – all the better!
WashingtonExec: What are you most looking forward to at the event?
Margie Johnson: It is always exciting to hear what impressive programs and initiatives other companies are executing, so that’s one of my primary interests. Additionally, increasing my network means increasing the great ideas and knowledge on what’s being done to support community needs, promote employee morale and expand my perspective.