the year in giving

December 23, 2012

Charitable giving in the Washington area began to make a comeback in 2012. The United Way for the National Capital Area, which organizes 800 workplace-giving campaigns in the region, reported a near 20 percent drop in donations from 2008 to 2011, but saw that reverse to double-digit growth this year.

Some businesses that reined in charitable dollars made up for it in volunteer hours and key partnerships to extend their goodwill.

What follows are just a few ways Washington area businesses made their mark in the community this year; consider this a snapshot of the good deeds in our midst.

•More than 1,600 workers participated in almost 4,000 hours of community service during the annual week of service at Washington-based research and consulting firm Advisory Board. Staffers gave their time to 61 organizations that week and donated more than $75,000. One of their activities was the “Branding Blitz,” in which members of the marketing, sales and design teams worked pro bono to develop branding and communications strategies in just 48 hours for three nonprofit groups.

•Cloud-based telephone solutions provider Angel gave more than 72 hours to build a system for Our Neighbor’s Child, donated more than $8,000 in gifts, including iPods and guitars to the same nonprofit, and developed a free North Pole Hotline that supported more than 860 phone calls from children calling Santa to find out conditions in the North Pole.

Apple Federal Credit Union donated $60,000 to the American Cancer Society, with proceeds going toward cancer research. It also supported Fairfax County government and schools by donating 1,000 backpacks and partnered with Fairfax County Fire and Rescue to give 3,000 new coats to needy youth in the area.

•Annapolis-based Arinc focused its giving efforts this year on Maryland Therapeutic Riding, a nonprofit that aims to provide therapeutic experiences to adults and children through horseback riding. Nearly 100 of its employees worked to plan, set up and staff the Live on the Farm concert, the organization’s major annual fundraising event. The government services firm has donated $130,000 in cash and in-kind donations to this group and many other charity organizations this year.

Arnold & Porter donated nearly 90,000 pro bono hours to many causes, including working with General Electric and the Children’s Law Center to provide special education services and early intervention services to at-risk children.

• The Bank of America Charitable Foundation selected five Washington area high school students to take part in the 2012 Student Leaders program, which offers paid eight-week summer internships at local nonprofits. The foundation also awarded more than $550,000 to 17 nonprofits that provide affordable housing in the area. It gave a total of $238,000 in grants to 13 nonprofits in the region as part of a national effort to support job training, education programs and support services that help connect the unemployed, underemployed, veterans, youth and those with disabilities to employment success.

Ben’s Chili Bowl is in the process of boxing up 125 holiday meals that will be delivered to foster care families in the area. Throughout the year, the iconic U Street eatery made many small donations, as well as larger contributions, to Teaching for Change, Think Local First DC and Spirit of Black D.C., an organization that promotes D.C. black history and culture.

• McLean-based Booz Allen Hamilton held a mentoring program for local teen Girl Scouts meant to teach the girls about interview skills, leadership, community service and career options. More than 1,200 company employees and friends participated in Rebuilding Together’s National Rebuilding Day, which included 67 home renovations in 32 locations. Employees also provided support through D.C. nonprofit Compass, which helps nonprofits be more effective.

•For eight years running, major office owner Brookfield Properties has been presenting sponsor of the Special Olympics of D.C.’s Summer Games, held at Catholic University. Employees volunteered 865 hours to make the games run smoothly.

• Arlington-based corporate research firm CEB gave out more than $100,000 in grants to nonprofit groups that show a commitment to boosting entre­pre­neur­ship and innovation. About 100 CEB staffers volunteered with the Earth Conservation Corps, working to clean up the Anacostia River and paint an education center in Southeast Washington.

• McLean-based Capital One Financial is donating up to 6 million minutes in calling time for active duty military members through the nonprofit Cell Phones for Soldiers. Earlier this year, Capital One opened an Entrepreneur Lab in the District’s Ward 8, where the bank provides working space and business development workshops for 15 to 30 local small businesses.

• Employees at CCSi, a Rockville-based project management and consulting firm, raised $10,000 by participating in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk, a fundraiser that supports cancer research and support for cancer patients.

• Through its partnership with Rebuilding Together, Choice Hotels International employees and franchises volunteered nearly 1,500 hours to help rehabilitate homes for the low-income elderly, disabled veterans and families with children. For the second year, the company also teamed up with Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School in Takoma Park for a corporate work study program that places low-income students in internships in Choice Hotels’ corporate finance department.

Crowell & Moring continued its tradition of contributing to the Salvation Army’s “Angel Tree” program, providing holiday gifts for 150 children. The law firm also collected nearly $7,000 in donations and nonperishable food items for local food bank So Others Might Eat, and held a soup and bake sale to raise additional funds for SOME.

•In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Tysons Corner-based T-shirt printing company CustomInk made a special shirt bearing a design that promoted disaster relief efforts. By selling the shirts, the company raised more than $11,000 for AmeriCares, a humanitarian aid organization. The company also created custom bullying prevention T-shirts and donated its $16,000 in profits to the National Bullying Prevention Center run by Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights, a support organization for children with disabilities.

Deloitte of the District contributed $75,000 and conducted training workshops for Mentoring Matters to help reduce the mentor gap for students in the District. During its annual Impact Day, more than 4,200 employees from greater Washington helped more than 100 local nonprofits. The auditing firm also raised more than $1 million through its annual United Way Campaign and Veterans Fund.

• Herndon-based Deltek has spent $185,000 in in-kind, monetary donations or sponsorships for charities this year. The company’s single largest event is Deltek Helps for the Holidays — a volunteer day with a budget of nearly $95,000 — which benefits organizations from Unicef to the Salvation Army to Our Daily Bread.

• This year, lawyers and staff at Drinker Biddle & Reath’s D.C. office mentored and tutored students at Anne Beers Elementary School in Southwest D.C. and donated holiday gifts to 56 needy children in the Washington region. The law firm also raised more than $6,000 and collected gift cards, clothing and other goods to donate to the nonprofit Covenant House to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.

• Falls Church-based DynCorp International had its first full year of “Red Shirt Friday.” Employees wear red polo shirts on Fridays to show their support for the U.S. military; for each shirt it sells, DynCorp donates $10 to Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, which supports military families who have lost loved ones. The effort has raised more than $30,000.

• In October, Bethesda-based Eagle Bank raised more than $330,000 during its annual EagleBank Foundation Fight Against Breast Cancer Golf Classic. Proceeds went toward research and outreach programs to help local hospitals and organizations. In addition, the community bank has donated money to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Washington Hospital Center and Higher Achievement D.C. Metro.

Ernst & Young donated more than 4,200 volunteer hours to 11 nonprofits during one service day in September. Through a continued partnership with Junior Achievement, it gave 1,000 hours in volunteer hours. Through that partnership, it also sponsored the Finance Park learning facility, donated nearly $44,000, visited elementary and high schools to educate students on business, economics and how to succeed in a global economy, and awarded a $1,000 scholarship. Partnering with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, the company adopted a class at Annandale High School and also awarded a $1,000 scholarship.

• Lawyers at Washington intellectual property law firm Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner donated a combined 5,900 hours to represent veterans at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. The firm donated $669,000 to charities around the nation, including the Fisher House Foundation, USO of Metropolitan Washington and the Disabled American Veterans.

• Architecture and design firm Gensler partnered with Goodwill of Greater Washington to transform the nonprofit’s image and drive traffic to its stores, in part by creating a pop-up store in the summer that produced eight times the revenue of an average Goodwill store while it was open.

• Earlier this month, Georgetown Cupcake sent 10,000 cupcakes to U.S. military members serving in Afghanistan as part of the company’s third annual Operation Cupcake. The company has also donated more than $150,000 to support breast cancer research.

Geppetto Catering raised more than $9,600 for Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind’s Light the Way 5k footrace. The company also gave $75,000 during a three-year span to Companies for Causes to support Eastern Senior High School through financial contributions, donated books and mentoring. The company also gave more than $18,500 in catering gift certificates to support more than 37 local nonprofit organizations for their silent auction fundraisers and events.

Hitt of Falls Church gave $50,000 to Children’s Hospital Foundation, $10,000 to Life With Cancer and $5,000 to the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation.

Hogan Lovells employees donated new and used clothing and personal items to Gifts for the Homeless, a group created by D.C. law firms to help local shelters and soup kitchens. The firm matched individual contributions of up to $20,000, and many employees volunteered to help sort and deliver clothing donations to 65 homeless shelters and soup kitchens in the Washington region. Hogan also donates legal services to the group.

Holland & Knight employees donated more than 65,000 hours of legal service to those in need and volunteered more than 2,000 days of community service through its 9/11 Day of Service initiative — which included cooking meals for families at the Ronald McDonald Houses in the District and Northern Virginia, working with the Anacostia Watershed Society to plant trees in Anacostia and volunteering with Books of America to organize books to be donated to local schools and shelters. Lawyers, professionals and staffers in the firm’s D.C and Tysons Corner offices also worked with Rebuilding Together of the District to repair 50 homes for low-income, elderly and disabled families in Washington. For 20 years, the firm has partnered with the Edward C. Mazique Parent Child Center, which provides childcare and counseling services to underprivileged children and their families, to sponsor the group’s holiday party and buy holiday gifts for kids. The firm raised funds for Superstorm Sandy relief, collecting more than $50,000 from employees — which the firm matched — and donating $101,888 to the American Red Cross.

JBG Cos., an area real estate firm, sponsored D.C. Greens, a nonprofit with a program that allows low-income buyers to receive twice the value of food stamps for locally sourced fresh food.

JK Moving gave some of its storage units to Passion 4 Community to store donated furniture for families transitioning into housing. It also provided a truck, driver and crew to the Washington Capitals and Wizards to support the Family-to-Family program which gives toys and clothing to people in need. At the Marine Corps Marathon, it donated warehouse space and transport for pallets of water for the runners.

• Lawyers and staff at the Washington office of K&L Gates volunteered at, and made donations to, the American Heart Association’s Lawyers Have Heart program, the Capital Area Food Bank’s Outlaw Hunger Campaign, Legal Counsel for the Elderly and the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program. The law firm also made charitable donations to local organizations So Others Might Eat, Manna, Legal Aid Society of D.C., the D.C. Bar Foundation and the D.C. Fraternal Order of Police.

Kaiser Permanente raised more than $60,500 for various charities and organizations throughout its annual employee giving campaign. Nearly 2,000 of its employees volunteered at 51 local organizations. It awarded a $75,000 grant to D.C. Central Kitchen for the food distribution nonprofit’s Healthy Corners initiatives which gives fresh produce and snacks to corner stores in the District.

 KPMG of the District donated 3,500 new books to children at eight local schools and two developmental centers, and more than 110 employees donated a total of 1,300 hours to teach financial literacy at a Junior Achievement program. The firm also raised more than $60,000 to support the prevention, treatment and cure for multiple sclerosis.

• Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin committed $1.5 million to 4-H as part of a three-year partnership to fund its National Youth Science Day and robotics clubs. Employees stuffed more than 19,000 USO care packages as part of a five-year, $1 million commitment Lockheed made to the USO in 2008. To date, the company has stuffed more than 157,000 care packages.

• Fairfax-based ManTech International partnered with the Ivymount School — a special education school — to allow students to work at its corporate office twice a week and provided the school with financial support. ManTech also supported CharityWorks, which connects companies with nonprofits, with money and employee time.

• As co-chairman of the Capital Area Food Bank’s capital campaign, J.W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr., executive chairman of Marriott International, helped oversee the opening of the nonprofit’s new food distribution center in Northeast Washington. In May, more than 2,000 employees from Marriott’s Bethesda headquarters volunteered to clean up parks and build homes with Habitat for Humanity during the company’s annual day of service.

MedImmune in Gaithersburg donated about $2 million to a wealth of causes and organizations. This year’s beneficiaries included KaBoom, a nonprofit that builds playgrounds; the Children’s Inn for young patients at the National Institutes of Health; and a science summer camp operated by the MdBio Foundation.

 Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union of Germantown tracked more than 1,800 hours of volunteer time for its staff of 67. It also raised $41,000 for Community Services for Autistic Adults and Children. The staff partnered with Women Who Care Ministries to pack and deliver more than 2,000 bags of lunches for Clopper Mill Elementary School students that receive free and reduced meals.

Navy Federal Credit Union, the country’s largest credit union, works closely with Thoreau Middle School in Vienna to provide tutors, mentors and pen pals for students. Through the annual Project Neighbors program, credit union employees and middle school students provide food, clothing and furniture to families in need during the holidays. The credit union also held 220 free financial seminars throughout the year for local military personnel and their families.

• Vienna-based NetApp US Public Sector, a data storage and management company, has hosted toiletry and clothing drives throughout the year, and donated millions of dollars in technology products and services to schools around the country. One of its popular annual events raised $125,000 for the childhood cancer charity St. Baldrick’s Foundation after many employees shaved their heads.

• Sterling-based Neustar uses much of its corporate giving to address the dearth of students pursuing science, technology, math and engineering education. This year the company has dedicated roughly $900,000 to organizations that provide programs for middle and high school students, and young adults.

Northwest Federal Credit Union Foundation of Herndon awarded $100,000 in scholarships to 20 students, granted about $70,000 to organizations including Children’s Miracle Network, Special Olympics Virginia, Best Buddies Virginia and Northern Virginia schools. Staff volunteered more than 1,900 hours at local events, including teaching financial education to more than 3,100 students in Fairfax County.

• Employees at Arlington-based Opowerparticipated in a host of charity events, such as 5K races and neighborhood cleanups, from the firm’s calendar of volunteer opportunities. This year’s activities also included a blood drive and donations for the Red Cross in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

 Patton Boggs attorneys and staff contributed more than 46,000 hours and donated money or provided legal assistance to various organizations including the Human Rights Initiative, Colorado Lawyers Committee, Bright Beginnings, York Street Project and World Dental Relief.

 Pepco donated nearly $3 million to local charities this year, including $1.4 million to the United Way Campaign, $100,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington and $85,000 to the American Heart Association. For the sixth year in a row, the electric utility also helped fund the National Zoo’s annual Zoo Lights celebration.

Ratner Cos., a firm that owns hair salon chains such as Hair Cuttery, offered free back-to-school haircuts to needy children. The Vienna-based company gave 75,000 haircuts in 2012 through this program. Ratner also donated $30,000 in October to breast cancer support and awareness groups in recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Through fundraisers such as “Cut-a-thons,” the chain raised an additional $13,000 for that cause from associates and clients.

• Grocery chain Safeway donated millions of dollars worth of food to the Capital Area Food Bank throughout the year, as well as $800,000 for the Easter Seals of Greater Washington and $90,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. The company also provided Thanksgiving meals to more than 4,000 District residents in need.

• McLean-based Science Applications International Corp. started an employee outreach project that this year focused on nonprofits supporting veterans, wounded warriors and their families. The company has donated to organizations like Operation Homefront and the Wounded Warrior Project and helped hold Heroes Day with the Washington Nationals.

• McLean-based Sotera Defense Solutions’ employees partnered with the Fairfax County Park Authority to rebuild a portion of the hiking and biking trails at Lake Fairfax Park in Reston. The company, working with the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation, held a fundraiser and donated $10,000 to the Fisher House Foundation to help wounded veterans.

•Chantilly-based TASC donated more than $20,000 to organizations including the Wounded Warrior Project and Toys for Tots. About 40 employees raised $1,100 in June throwing whipped cream pies at colleagues to benefit the Vets Ready2Work program at Linden Resources, while about 300 employees did more than 38,000 push-ups for an initiative meant to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Tetra Tech employees and family members have volunteered at Miriam’s Kitchen every month for the last seven years. The company also supports the nonprofit financially and through clothing and food donations. Its annual chili cook-off raised $700 for the organization

 Triple Canopy of Reston increased its giving by more than 50 percent, with activities such as building homes for the needy, running food drives and serving wounded military personnel.

Trex, a Winchester-based manufacturer of wood-alternative decks, is among the top contributors to the United Way of Northern Shenandoah Valley. Ronald W. Kaplan, Trex’s chief executive, serves on the nonprofit’s board of directors. To raise money for the organization, employees held a chili cook-off, a bake sale, a car wash at the company’s manufacturing facility, and participated in United Way’s Wii bowling competition.

• The Venable Foundation — funded by the partners of the law firm Venable — gave grants totaling $2.2 million to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, the Arlington Free Clinic, Miriam’s Kitchen, Community Residences, DC Central Kitchen and Bread for the City. The foundation, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, also set up a Web site with the American Red Cross to match up to $25,000 in gifts from Venable personnel made by the end of 2012.

Vornado/Charles E Smith President Mitchell Schear has made it his personal mission to drive fundraising for the Higher Achievement program, a year-round learning program for at-risk D.C. middle schoolers. Schear chaired the organization’s 2012 annual gala, hosted it at Vornado’s Warner Theater, and raised more than $1 million — a record.

• Bethesda-based Walker & Dunlop raised $100,000 for Fannie Mae’s Help the Homeless Program through its annual fundraising efforts. Since 2006, the company has raised more than $500,000 for the organization, which helps homeless and mentally disabled people in the District.

 Wal-Mart offered the Capital Area Food Bank a new mobile food pantry truck that has been providing approximately 200,000 additional meals every month to local families. The company’s foundation also sponsored Food & Friends’ annual Thanksgiving meal giveaway, which delivered a record 3,500 full holiday dinners to families and others in need. Through its $20 million nationwide initiative that encourages children to have smarter, healthier and more productive summers, the foundation targeted six nonprofits for assistance, including three in the Washington area.

 Wells Fargo started CityLift, a collaboration with D.C. and Maryland county officials and NeighborWorks America, to provide downpayment assistance and homebuyer education programs in areas most affected by the financial crisis. The assistance included a $7 million contribution. The bank’s staff also joined volunteers from the Redskins, Saleforce.com and KaBoom to build a playground for the children of District Alliance for Safe Housing, which offers shelter for victims of domestic and sexual violence. Staff also organized a car show that raised $31,500 for Fisher House.

Vanessa Small, who covers nonprofits and charities for Capital Business, compiled this report with contributions from Abha Bhattarai, Marjorie Censer, Sarah Halzack, Catherine Ho, Jonathan O’Connell and Steven Overly.

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