The Northern New Jersey Business Volunteer Council (BVC) was officially launched on January 20, 2000, following a year of planning which included representatives from the business community, nonprofit organizations, the Volunteer Center of Bergen County and Bergen County’s United Way. The mission of the organization is to provide leadership in meeting community needs through mobilization of employee volunteers.
Members of the BVC chose to target the group’s efforts on meeting the needs of children and families for a number of reasons: to address very serious social needs in the local community, to leverage the visibility that America’s Promise was providing for children’s needs, and to capitalize on the repeated requests from corporate groups to ‘work for and/or with children.’ The needs of children and families were further categorized as health, hunger and education, based on input from the BVC’s non-profit “consultants” that were an integral part of the planning process.
The BVC Strategic Plan includes specific objectives and strategies associated with each area of need. The plan gave rise to a series of Strategic Initiatives, which are implemented through member companies for the benefit of children and families. The initiatives include Books in a Bag, a children’s book drive to promote family literacy; Just My Bag, a collection of backpacks filled with personal care items for children in foster care; Brown Bag Buddies, a summer food drive for children who normally receive breakfast and lunch at school; and Klothe$ 4 Kid$, a fundraiser to enable needy families to purchase back-to-school clothing. In 2000, more than 9,200 employee volunteers helped to gather and direct in excess of $80,000 in resources toward the needs of children and families in New Jersey.
In 2001, the BVC has expanded to include 29 members*. The success of the strategic initiatives has grown accordingly, with increases ranging from 20% (Just My Bag, Klothe$ 4 Kid$) to an amazing 75% (Books in a Bag,Brown Bag Buddies) over last year. A new initiative, Tools for School, was added; as a result, 1,100 children from pre-K through grade 12 went to school properly outfitted with supplies. By year’s end, the BVC will have generated more than $150,000 in resources for New Jersey’s families in need and mobilized 31,000 employee volunteers!
*BVC members as of 10/16/01: Addecco; Alpharma, Inc.; AMS; AT&T Wireless Services; Back Bay Restaurant Group (Papa Razzi and Joe’s American Bar & Grill); Borders Group, Inc.; Citibank; Commerce Bank; Enterprise Rent-a-Car; Footstar, Inc.; J.B. Williams Company, Inc.; KPMG LLP, Montvale; KPMG LLP, Short Hills; Manpower; Mellon Investor Services; P&O Nedlloyd; Pearson Education; The Plaza Regency at Park Ridge; PNC Bank; PSE&G; Reader’s Digest Association; Reckitt Benckiser NA; The Record, Herald News; Rockland Electric Company; Tiffany & Co., Riverside Square; Toys ‘R Us; UPS Information Services; Volvo Cars of North America; and Westfield Shoppingtown Garden State Plaza.