Greater DC Cares is the largest provider of volunteer and business philanthropy services in the greater Washington region, matching almost 60,000 volunteers each year to local nonprofit organizations. But like many nonprofits, they also utilize volunteers within their own organization to support ongoing programs and events. Gina Rollo responded to a listing on their website for an administrative volunteer, and she began working in the office three days a week supporting their administrative staff. She made copies, compiled board reports, answered phones – unglamorous, often tedious jobs – but all done with amazing attention to detail and meticulousness. They soon discovered that in her time away from DC. Cares she operated her own company, RolloCom, a provider of PR services to the technology community. Despite her other commitments, she was always committed to and passionate about her work with DC Cares.
The winter of 2003 was a challenging one for Greater DC Cares. In the midst of a significant move across town, they were also serving as the primary sponsor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday of Service, an event that connects almost 1,000 volunteers to opportunities to serve over the MLK Holiday weekend. In addition, they were also sponsoring their first book drive – MLK “Knowledge is Power” Book Drive – to obtain children’s books on African-American l-history to distribute to the DC Library system. Suffice to say, they were stretched to the limit – and that is when Rollo stepped in. She took over the book drive, forming partnerships with local bookstores and online book distributors to publicize the event, working directly with the DC Library system to facilitate donations, and patroling the MLK Holiday of Service kickoff event. When First Lady Laura Bush decided to attend the event, Rollo worked closely with the DC Cares staff and White House staff to make her visit as smooth as possible.
Rollo was in the DC Cares offices 5-6 days a week, carting around book donations in her car, erecting book drive displays at the local Borders, directing Secret Service to allow the photographer to get the best possible pictures. And she did it all with inimitable “Rollo” style; both fastidious and creative, her contributions have allowed them to maximize on time and resources while making the work as effective as it can be.
The “Knowledge is Power” Book Drive resulted in the collection of over 1,000 books to be distributed to the 27 branches of the DC Public Library. Rollo also helped DC Cares as an organization to develop new corporate partners through her bookstore outreach. And she did this all while balancing her work with her own company, as well as her role as part-time mom. When you ask Rollo why she volunteers, she says that she feels like it is the right time to give back.