The Washington Post

Acumen Solutions donates big brains to nonprofits

Who: Margie Johnson, senior director of corporate care for Acumen Solutions.

Company: Acumen Solutions, a contractor specializing in cloud-based technologies.

Charitable giving highlights: Last year, employees gave $575,000 to charities through 3,000 volunteer hours, fundraisers and donations.

Define the company’s

When we started the company in 1999, we were doing a lot of ad hoc giving. As our company developed and evolved, we decided that we wanted to make a greater impact. We have been able to do that in a effort that we called the Board Leadership Program. That program allows us to impact the organizations we’re serving by providing financial, intellectual and human capital. It’s a process where we take voluntary senior leadership from the company, train them, interview them to find out what they’re interested in. Then we match them with nonprofit boards that have needs. Those nonprofits, which are selected by employees, become our nonprofit portfolio. Rather than sending a check to a hundred organizations and doing 20 events, we’re really able to streamline and focus our resources on these key organizations and make a greater impact.

What are some activities you do?

We do four to six pro bono projects each year, ad hoc service events, holiday drives and our signature Race for a Cause that we have every October. This year we are going to do Pro Bono In a Day where you get a team together that will work for eight hours on a specific issue for a nonprofit.

What do you look for in a nonprofit partner?

We look for organizations that have established boards in place. That is to ensure that we don’t take on a second job. It’s like looking for a new small business that has a really strong foundation, good mission, encourage volunteerism and [is] looking for skilled leadership on their board.

Do you focus on certain social issues?

We currently serve on 23 nonprofit boards. We have seven people waiting to be placed. A majority of the ones so far have a focus on youth.

— Vanessa Small



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