Navy Federal Credit Union continues to press on with its Dollars for Doers grant program, now in its 17th year.
Dollars for Doers awards $1,000 grants to 100 nonprofits annually to encourage employees to volunteer within the communities they live and work, Jennifer McFarren, Navy Federal manager of corporate social responsibility, told Auto Finance News. Since its inception in 2004, the program has donated $850,000 to nonprofits including K9s for Warriors and TEENS Inc, among others.
The program is designed to provide employees with volunteer opportunities that support their individual passions, McFarren said. “When a company can honor the work that your employees are personally doing in their communities, it makes such an impact for our team members, as well as the communities that we have a presence in that we’re serving,” she said.
Navy Federal’s community service council relays volunteer opportunities for interested employees and provides them with eight hours of paid leave each year designated for volunteer work.
Employees have free reign over the organizations they volunteer for and are encouraged to share their passions and bring their “whole selves” to the workplace, McFarren noted. Employees have volunteered in a variety of ways, including serving at local food banks, participating in big brother and big sister programs, training service dogs for military veterans suffering from PTSD and working with various animal shelters.
“I’ve been a big sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America for 13 years and knowing that I can use paid company leave to volunteer and engage with my little sister makes me feel like Navy Federal honors me as a person,” McFarren added.
Each year Navy Federal kicks off the grant nomination process during its April volunteer appreciation week, McFarren said, noting this year’s recipients were notified in July. “It’s really our way of honoring and recognizing our employee volunteer efforts with the causes they care about,” she said.
Navy Federal employees can nominate certified 501 (c)(3) nonprofits they have actively volunteered with, McFarren said. The applications are randomly selected to ensure funds are granted in a fair and equitable manner.
“Team members who are engaged in volunteerism and philanthropic company-sponsored events are more productive and more engaged,” McFarren said, noting, “There’s no right or wrong way to start a Dollars for Doers program.”
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