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Helping out: Charity beat out insurance at Disys

Who: Sarita Chauhan, director of human resources

Company: Digital Intelligence Systems Corp. (DISYS)

Charitable giving highlights: The company has given $60,000 to charity since March 2011.

Define the company’s corporate philanthropy.

We used to give informally to local foundations or to employees who were in difficult situations. [In March 2011], we decided to formalize a giving program called DISYS Community Connection and broadcast it to the entire company. Each of our branches gets to pick one charity each month to give donations to. They have to be a local charity. If there was a tsunami or earthquake, we would donate company-wide but otherwise it has to be a local charity that is making a difference in the community.

Why did you formalize it in March 2011?

It was something our chief executive and president always wanted to do. Once the company was growing and doing well, we thought we could actually afford to do it.

What steps did you take to formalize the program?

We did a survey among the employees to see if they would rather contribute more toward our health insurance or set aside money to give to charity each year. We actually had everyone vote on this. You’d be surprised that employees actually chose to give to charity rather than contributing to a monthly health insurance premium. I talked to my bosses and they said we should set up a program where every branch gives.

The first thing to do was to name the program so that we could suggest it to the employees. We set up an e-mail address where people could send their nominations for the charity they wanted to donate to. Then I sent an e-mail explaining the whole concept.

How much does each branch give?

Only $500 per branch. We have 15 branches.

What is the structure?

We have five staff on the DISYS community connection committee. Employees send their nominations in, it’s approved at the branch level and then the committee approves it.

— Interview with Vanessa Small



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