Washington, D.C. (June 27, 2012) — A Billion + Change, a rapidly growing national campaign to mobilize billions of dollars of pro bono and skills-based volunteer (SBV) services from corporate America, announced today that 200 companies have pledged an estimated $1.8 billion worth of skills-based services to help build nonprofit capacity. This keeps A Billion + Change on track to inspire 500 companies to create or expand a skills-based volunteer program in their workplace by 2013.
Senator Mark Warner, Honorary Chairman of A Billion + Change, will welcome leaders in industry, civic engagement and policy at a Forum today on “A Billion + Change in Action: Connecting to the Future of Corporate Service.” They will discuss opportunities for businesses to scale efforts and partnerships to meet the social, economic and environmental challenges of the 21st century through skills-based service. They will also explore ways to align corporate skills-based service programs with national initiatives to boost innovation, competitiveness and models of effective collaboration.
Today’s Forum will encourage each pledge company to look ahead at what they are poised to contribute through skills-based service. “Our challenge now is to expand A Billion + Change while partnering effectively with nonprofit professionals so we can change communities for the better,” said Senator Warner. “It’s through collaboration and collective impact that A Billion Plus really does add up to meaningful change.”
Every day, A Billion + Change pledge companies harness the skills and talents of their people to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations that create empowering opportunities for women and veterans, strengthen our schools and workforce, improve STEM education and tackle global development challenges. Whether it’s sitting on a nonprofit board, mentoring at-risk students or lending IT, marketing, financial or strategic consulting services, pledge companies are redefining what it means to give back to communities through skills-based service.
Deloitte, a founding member of the A Billion + Change Leadership Committee, recently announced that its commitment to pro bono services would rise to $110 million by 2015. It has contributed 350 pro bono engagements over the past four years and is now poised to do even more.
IBM is helping cities and communities around the world, from Nairobi and Singapore to Washington, D.C. by leveraging the skills of IBM volunteers to assist with social challenges, including economic development, education and transportation issues. IBM volunteers have provided more than 3.2 million hours of service in more than 5,000 skills-based projects in 2011 alone.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, meanwhile, is helping to address the school drop-out crisis by engaging and inspiring at-risk middle school students through its “Succeed Through Service” program. The curriculum includes chefs teaching students about healthy eating habits; concierge employees coaching students on the importance of social skills; restaurant employees demonstrating how to correctly use cutlery; and trainers teaching effective collaboration and group presentation skills.
Small and medium-sized companies are also embracing this innovative approach to creating value for companies and communities. MEplusYOU, a strategic and creative agency with offices in Dallas and New York City, is advancing pro bono through a program called “Weekend of Love.” Through this program, MEplusYOU dedicates one weekend every six months to work alongside nonprofit organizations, combining its unique approach to marketing with the abilities and passions of its employees. In just two years, these biannual Weekends of Love have delivered $2 million in strategic and creative services to communities, while also serving as important learning and development opportunities for its staff.
This commitment to skills-based service comes at a critical time of significant need in America’s communities, and of increasing demands on nonprofits. While funds for social programs at the federal, state and local levels have dwindled, pro bono and skills-based volunteer programs offer nonprofits an opportunity to achieve more with scarce resources.
Corporate SBV programs have also proven to be effective talent management tools, and can help businesses boost their own competitiveness while giving back to their communities. According to True Impact, skills-based volunteers are 142 percent more likely to report job-related skills-gains than traditional volunteers, and 82 percent more likely to report that volunteerism generated new recruits for their company versus traditional volunteers. For nonprofits, the value of skilled support in areas such as general operations, technology and professional services can be 500 percent greater than the value of traditional volunteering.
About A Billion + Change:
A Billion + Change is a national campaign to mobilize billions of dollars of pro bono and skills-based volunteer services by 2013. It was launched by the Corporation for National and Community Service in 2008 and continues as an initiative of the federal agency. Reinvigorated in 2011 with expanded leadership under the honorary chairmanship of Senator Mark Warner, it is now housed and managed by Points of Light. The initiative is powered by the support of Deloitte, HP, the Case Foundation and IBM with additional founding support from State Farm, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP and Morgan Stanley.