With monthly drawing, Neustar employees can get money for their favorite charity

November 10, 2013

Company: Neustar.

Location: Sterling.

Employees: 783 locally; 1,549 worldwide.

Telecommunications firm Neustar has long focused its philanthropy efforts on supporting science, technology, engineering and math education. Recently, though, the Sterling-based company decided it wanted to cast a wider net.

“We wanted to find a great way to support all the causes that our employees were interested in as well,” said Tammy Bigelow, employee and community communications manager.

With that in mind, the company launched a monthly charity drawing in which employees can submit the name of a favorite nonprofit for a chance to win $1,000 for that group. In months where the company has an all-staff meeting, the submissions are printed out and the winner is pulled out of a box. In other months, the winner is selected at random from a spreadsheet using code built by one of the firm’s engineers.

Suzi Podhorecki, senior executive assistant, recently won a donation for Falls Church McLean Children’s Center, an organization she has volunteered at for 18 years that offers early childhood education for low-income families.

“Being able to put my job and outside passions together has been great,” Podhorecki said.

And when the Children’s Center found out it would be receiving the money, “They were beside themselves, they were so excited,” Podhorecki said.

Bigelow said a wide variety of charities have been represented in employees’ submissions, including arts, education and cancer awareness groups. And for those that don’t win the drawing, Bigelow aims to help find other ways for the person to support their chosen group.

“We don’t just want to say no to everybody, so it kind of deepens that relationship,” Bigelow said.

Neustar has begun holding small events in which employees visit the winning charity to present them with the check.

“It’s been really fun to have these kind of pop-up community events,” Bigelow said.

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economic news.
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