Tuesday, April 16, 2024



11 cool volunteer efforts from Philly corporations this National Volunteer Week

Comcast employees at the Clarke School for Hearing and Speech. April 28, 2017 Category: FeaturedLongPurpose


Full disclosure: Comcast, which is mentioned in this story, is the title sponsor of Generocity parent company Technically Media's Philly Tech Week.


Editor's note: The anniversary of Comcast Cares Day, its 2017 date and Jennifer Bilotta's name have been corrected. (5/1, 9:30 a.m.)
Happy National Volunteer Week!

Established in 1974 and organized on a national level by volunteer service organization Points of Light, the week is a time to not just celebrate volunteer efforts but take part in some volunteering yourself.

Nonprofits and smaller organizations are often reliant on volunteers and service members to keep things running, but it can be difficult to motivate volunteers in those spaces.

It’s why Abby Douglas, associate director of communications at United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, says that her organization’s Greater Philadelphia Corporate Volunteer Council (GPCVC) program is helping corporations with more resources find volunteer opportunities in the Philly area.

This past Monday to kick off #NVW, United Way and GPCVC, in partnership with WHYY and First Person Arts, held their first StorySlam event at which corporate volunteers shared their stories of how volunteering in the community had impacted them — for instance, how it “was a turning point” for them or how to them, it’s all about “breaking barriers.”

“One thing we’ve observed at United Way is that there is a real need for meaningful volunteer opportunities, especially among our corporate partners … but effective volunteerism takes time and effort to manage and execute, something some companies are in a better position to accomplish,” Douglas said in email.

And volunteering isn’t just limited to this week for United Way’s corporate members, as the organization’s 365 Days of Caring program provides customized opportunities for corporate volunteers all year long.

(Check out our extensive CSR coverage from February.)

Here are some of the volunteer projects that local corporations — some of which are members of United Way and GPCVC — took part in, or are taking part in, this week.


Comcast celebrated its 16th annual Comcast Cares Day on April 22, marking 15 years of giving back to communities around the country. And yes, while #ComcastCaresDay is receiving plenty of unintended negative attention from salty customers, especially as of late, Jennifer Bilotta, VP of communications, said in an email that more than 2,000 local Comcast employees have already volunteered their time for projects primarily dealing with six Philly district schools.

  • Ryan Olah, social media and talent branding at Comcast, helped lead volunteer efforts of painting, landscaping and cleaning at the Alexander Adaire School where his son attends.
  • Volunteers at Thomas K. Finletter Academics Plus School took part in three volunteer projects, including putting together a flower bed in front of the school, painting a mural and sprucing up the school’s new PE/health suite.
  • Project leaders from the company’s MyAbilities Network, including VP of Accessibility Tom Wlodkowski, visited the local Clarke School for Hearing and Speech to spend time with students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

PECO has been involved with more than 35 volunteer projects around the Greater Philadelphia region, with 19 taking place in Philly, according to Alexandra Coppadge, PECO’s senior communications specialist.

Stephanie Monahon, the city’s chief service officer in the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service, clued us in on some of the other cool corporate volunteer efforts going on around the city:

  • Healthcare company AmeriHealth Caritas is set to hold an all-day event this Saturday at Hunting Park Avenue from Front to American streets, with performances and volunteers holding health screenings.
  • Pharmaceutical company GSK kicked off its 2017 PULSE Volunteer Partnership that matches employees to nonprofits around the world for three to six months of service. Participating Philly nonprofits include the Franklin Institute, the Food Trust and the Philadelphia Education Fund.
  • Independence Blue Cross and its employees have been volunteering all month long, spending much of their time at Isaac A. Sheppard School where earlier in the month they spent time with first graders to celebrate National Poetry Month. Most recently, executives from Independence visited the school to read with students.
  • Volunteers from insurance company CHUBB held a “Women in Insurance” panel at its Center City office with 25 high school students who are involved in the company’s partners Girls Inc. of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey and the the Philadelphia chapter of Women of Tomorrow. The panel “helped the young women better understand the exciting opportunities in the insurance industry” and “overcoming adversity and assumptions in the workplace,” said Laurie Taylor, media relations manager of external communications at CHUBB, in an email.

And to round out our list: We think it’s especially cool that today, Independence is set to honor its top 10 volunteers by donating to the charities of their choice.


Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service

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