Who: John Herweh, senior vice president of human resources.
Company: NJVC, an information technology solutions government contractor
Charitable giving highlights: In 2012, NJVC and its employees raised $50,000 for its national philanthropic partner, USO.
Describe the company’s corporate philanthropy.
NJVC started in 2001. Since the beginning, corporate social responsibility has been a key tenant. We formalized the giving in 2008 by working with an outfit called Laptops for the Wounded. From 2008 to 2011, NJVC was able to provide $140,000 in support to that organization. In late 2011, we looked at where we wanted to go as a company and what our employees were looking for, and we ended up shifting our focus to the USO. The fact that the USO’s mission, supporting men and women in uniform, was right in line with our corporate mission made it a perfect fit. The financial aspect of partnering with an organization is very important but the desire of our employees to give of our time was also the key consideration.
Why refocus giving?
There wasn’t really a sense of urgency around shifting gears from Latptops for the Wounded. They were outgrowing their capability. They had a small staff and the amount of requests was overwhelming. They needed a partner that could help administer the program a bit more. Their needs changed. We were looking at getting a partnership where our employees could really give hands-on to the community.
What were the steps you took to establish USO as a partner?
We started off with a small committee. In that committee, we laid out the parameters that we wanted to work within. We knew it would have to be a nationwide organization. We knew it had to be a large organization that fell within that same basic foundation of supporting national security and men and women in uniform. That drove the direction of our search toward organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project and USO and others. We conducted a survey with our employees offering a couple of choices. The response overwhelmingly was USO. Then we called USO national and developed a relationship with them. They helped us insofar as they pointed us to two of their local chapters. One is the D.C. area chapter. They gave us a road map of events and volunteer opportunities that they already had in their schedule.
How is the giving structured?
There’s a corporate committee that looks at what the USO has on its calendar and how we can get a synergy with our employees. The committee acts as a central clearinghouse of sorts. It’s made up of four people, some in human resources and communications. We try to meet at least once a month. Then we have a key group in the D.C. area that helps us organize events and put out information.
What are some activities you do with USO?
We staff events and family fun days at military bases. We participated in Project USO Elf where our employees in the D.C. area went out and collected a great amount of new toys and helped with the celebration. We also put together care packages for a program that USO has called Soldiers Left Behind.
Any ways you’re looking to improve giving?
We have employees all around the world so communication can be challenging. But we have a philanthropy Web page that everyone has access to. We send out a weekly e-mail. We really utilize all of our available communication channels to get the word out.
What resources have been helpful to improve your giving strategies?
There were some connections that we reach out to at other larger companies that have an actual department dedicated to corporate social responsibility. We received their words of wisdom which helped us and gave us a foundation.
— Interview with Vanessa Small