Correction: A previous version of this story called Joshua Guenther’s horse Champs. The horse’s name is Chance. This version has been corrected.
The Washington area charity community is still dealing with the pullback in government spending, which has cut grants and pinched the resources of many businesses whose fortunes are tied to the federal budget. Nevertheless, many local companies have risen to the challenge. Here’s a sample of the ways the region’s business community pitched in this year; consider this a snapshot of the good deeds in our midst:
Education is not only central to 2U’s business, but also to the Landover-based company’s charitable activities. Employees collected more than 2,000 pounds of school supplies in August for children living in places where 2U has offices, including Maryland, North Carolina, New York, California and Hong Kong. The online higher education company is also raising $100,000 to build three schools in Guatemala next year in partnership with Pencils of Promise.
This year, every employee of D.C. developer Akridge participated in the annual volunteer day at the Capital Area Food Bank, donating approximately 850 hours and $8,000 to the organization. Akridge also gave $10,000 to the Trust for the National Mall — chaired by company founder John E. “Chip” Akridge III — and approximately $7,500 to Congress Heights Main Street, an economic development organization in Southeast D.C., and the Washington Humane Society.
Miriam’s Kitchen has sought to involve its corporate partners not just as sources of funding, but as partners in providing services. The Advisory Board, a District-based IT company, helped the nonprofit conduct a study to quantify the social cost of homelessness.
“We are trying to show that providing housing is not only the right thing, but also the cost-effective thing, too. We are able to show that now,” said Ashley Lawson, director of corporate partnerships at Miriam’s Kitchen.
The study has been completed and will be released soon.
Lawson said that while corporate donations are always helpful, there are more ways for companies to give than just offering money. Boeing, another corporate partner, has donated the time and efforts of its lobbyists for help in advocating on behalf of the homeless. When Miriam’s Kitchen needed a place for an annual gala, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce allowed free use of not just its space, but also offered up its whole events and graphic design team.
Akin Gump’s Washington office has provided more than 30,000 hours of pro bono assistance to a variety of organizations and individuals. The law firm’s charitable giving program supports providers of legal services to underserved segments of the population. Akin Gump is a part of the D.C. Access to Justice Commission’s “Raising the Bar” campaign, and has committed to devote at least 0.075 percent of its D.C. office revenue annually to legal services in the city. Other examples of the law firm’s charitable giving from over the past year include contributions to the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, the Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Equal Justice Works, Appleseed and Human Rights First.
One weekend every few months, Applied Predictive Technologies invites employees to spend 24 continuous hours at its office, volunteering to help nonprofits solve data-related problems. Since January, the Reston-based analytics company has conducted “data dives” for the Capital Area Food Bank and charter school D.C. Prep.
Earlier this month, about 22 APT employees crunched numbers for the AppleTree Institute for Education, a charter school with several campuses in Washington focused on 3- to 4-year-olds. Volunteers analyzed AppleTree’s teachers’ characteristics to student scores in order to identify certain teacher characteristics that could lead to better performance.
APT chose AppleTree for the December data dive because it heard that compared to other schools, “AppleTree was extremely data driven,” APT principal Sarah Hinkfuss-Zampardo said. “The more data we have, the greater our ability to answer more challenging [questions].”
After analyzing the data, APT found that teachers who were “engaging” — those who created warm, friendly and collaborative classrooms — had students who achieved better than those who were less engaging, according to Lydia Carlis, chief of research and innovation for AppleTree.
The data dive confirms what Carlis knew from observing classrooms.
“A teacher who is less engaging will sometimes have children who externalize behaviors like inattention, looking around the room, picking at the carpet ... they might be externalizing negative behaviors like fighting or verbal aggression,” she said.
But teachers who create positive environments, encouraging children to “share, to collaborate ... celebrate each others’ successes” have students who perform better, she said.
With these findings, AppleTree may encourage teachers to work on these characteristics during teacher training.
“We think we can use the data at a program level ... thinking about training and how we’re focusing our time. With professional development coaching, [assessing] how much time we’re investing in coaching, and what is the value-add of that time,” Carlis said.
The school will also “brainstorm some pre-interview activities, and process interview activities that hiring managers for teachers might ask, based on these strategies,” she said.
— Mohana Ravindranath
Bread for the City is a District nonprofit that provides a range of services to the city’s homeless — food, clothing, medical care, legal aid and social services. To help cut down on the unpredictability often associated with private funding, the group’s corporate donors have committed to multi-year pledges. The nonprofit received $160,000 from four companies in multi-year grants: Avalere Health, Clark Construction, MCN Build and iDiscovery Solutions, all based in the District. The trend of multi-year pledges began in 2008, when District law firm WilmerHale committed to a three-year pledge of $50,000, which it has continued.
For the sixth year in a row, Bank of Georgetown was the premier sponsor of the Jesuit Gridiron Classic, an annual varsity football game between Georgetown Preparatory School and Gonzaga College High School, that benefits Washington Jesuit Academy, a tuition-free, private middle school for underprivileged fifth- to eighth-grade boys. The bank also contributed $240,000 in monetary donations or sponsorships to local nonprofits and charities this year, including Martha’s Table, Girls on the Run, Victory Housing and the Georgetown Ministry Center.
Joshua Guenther usually spends weekends rescuing people or animals.
The Booz Allen Hamilton consultant volunteers as a firefighter and emergency medical technician for the Fairfax County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department in Great Falls. When he’s not doing that, Guenther and his wife Moira foster pets while trying to find them a permanent home through the Homeless Animals Rescue Team of Virginia.
Booz Allen kicked off its “Centennial Community Challenge” in January as part of the company’s 100th anniversary celebrations, challenging employees to volunteer 100,000 hours by the end of the year.
Guenther, who has worked with the fire department for two years and the animal shelter for four, simply continued his routine and recorded his hours as he went. He has emerged as the company’s top volunteer so far, contributing more than 3,300 hours. The contractor will award grants worth $25,000 to three nonprofits chosen by the top three volunteers.
If he wins, Guenther said he will donate the money to both groups.
At least a dozen employees have volunteered more than 1,000 hours each, the company said.
For Guenther, the interest in volunteer work stemmed from his own family.
“My grandfather was a firefighter, and it was something I always wanted to do,” he said.
This year, he was part of a team that provided first aid services to runners in the North Face Endurance Challenge, a 50-mile summer race held in Sterling.
Guenther’s childhood visits to his great-grandfather’s farm in the Pocono mountains inspired his love for animals, he said. But he was introduced to the animal rescue team through his wife. The couple have five pets at their Herndon home: two horses (Watson and Chance) two dogs (Rocky and Rufus) and a piglet (Penelope), as well as a rotating cast of foster animals.
They found homes for nearly two dozen foster dogs this year, Guenther said.
Booz Allen employees surpassed the challenge goal in October. As a result, the company challenged employees to volunteer an additional 25,000 hours in support of the Toys for Tots campaign. That goal was reached a month later, and the company donated $25,000 to the campaign on top of its annual fundraiser.
“What’s really been humbling are the individual stories of commitment and caring among our staff,” said Horacio Rozanski, who is set to become chief executive of Booz Allen next year. “To see the impact they’re also having outside the office in the communities in which they live is nothing short of astounding.”
— Amrita Jayakumar
CACI International employees volunteered with Wreaths Across America, which provides wreaths for veterans’ graves, for the third year in a row. More than 550 volunteers helped lay wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery this year, as well as at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio. The Arlington contractor continued its support of the Project Healing Waters “2-Fly Tournament” in Syria, Va. Project Healing Waters works to rehabilitate disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities.
Reston-based app company Canvas provides some nonprofits free access to its services as part of its “Ante Up” charitable program, started in 2012. In 2014, Canvas donated employee time and Canvas technology to the Washington West Film Festival, which gives all box office net proceeds to a project or team that works to solve a problem of hunger, education, disease or displacement.
For the fourth annual festival, held in Reston in October, Canvas created a mobile app that let volunteers check in VIP guests and keep track of attendance. Film festival judges also used the app to score and rate each of the 300 film entries.
Capital One in April made a five-year, $5 million commitment to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to fund comedy at the Kennedy Center. A month later, the McLean-based banking giant provided a $1.8 million grant to Junior Achievement of Greater Washington to help nearly 80,000 area students improve their money management skills. Junior Achievement Finance Park, a financial literacy center in Fairfax County, opened in 2010 after a $2.5 million investment by the bank.
Cardinal Bank this year established a $250,000 endowment at George Mason University that will fund scholarships to selected first-generation college students. The Tysons Corner-based bank also doled out $170,500 worth of grants to local organizations, including the Children’s Hospital Foundation, Prevent Cancer Foundation and Northern Virginia Family Service. The Cardinal Bank Charity Classic, meanwhile, raised $150,000 for Inova Keller Center, a Fairfax nonprofit that provides behavioral health services and family support to at-risk children and youth.
Choice Hotels this year donated $260,000 to Rebuilding Together, a nonprofit focused on affordable housing as part of a five-year-old partnership with the organization. The Choice Hotels International Foundation, meanwhile, gave out $100,000 in scholarships to dependents of Choice employees and donated about $35,000 to organizations in Rockville and Phoenix, where the company has large offices. In addition, a $20,000 pledge to Warrior Canine Connection will help fund the nonprofit’s new training center in Germantown.
Law firm Crowell & Moring’s Washington-based lawyers and staff contributed more than 23,000 hours in pro bono legal services to victims of domestic violence, individuals seeking justice in the criminal system, immigrants and children, as well as the sick and homeless. The law firm also participated in many volunteer activities and fundraising efforts in the city this year, including Lawyers Have Heart and the Salvation Army Angel Tree program. To celebrate its 35th anniversary, the law firm organized volunteer service days for attorneys, professional staff and their families to support several local charities, including Casey Trees, Share Food Network, Bright Beginnings and Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Real estate services and brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield created a partnership with the Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health, a haven for pediatric patients and their families. This year, Cushman employees hosted two family dinners for more than 60 visitors to the inn, decorated the inn for the holidays and provided holiday gift bags.
While their office equipment was being relocated to a new headquarters in Tysons Corner, employees at Cvent spent Aug. 1 volunteering in the local community. Among the organizations where they worked is Carpenter’s Shelter, an Alexandria-based nonprofit that aids the homeless. Employees at the event management software company also collected 3,870 canned goods and 1,689 clothing items during donation drives this year.
Development Alternatives Inc., a Bethesda-based international development company, awards up to $10,000 to various charitable organizations on behalf of DAI employees who perform community service. A $5,000 award went to one employee who runs a food pantry in Wheaton; another went to two employees who work with the My Brother’s Keeper Orphanage in Liberia.
In 2014, DAI donated $10,000 to the Linda Norgrove Foundation, a trust that gives out grants for the health, education and care of women and children affected by the war in Afghanistan.The foundation was started by the parents of Linda Norgrove, a DAI employee killed in Afghanistan in October 2010. DAI staff raised an additional $6,500 by organizing a run, a happy hour and a craft sale.
DynCorp International employees raised more than $8,000 in support of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors by participating in the annual Rock and Roll Half Marathon this year. The McLean-based military contracting and professional services company and TAPS entered into a formal agreement in March to provide survivors of DynCorp employees killed on the job services and programs, including peer-based emotional support, case work assistance, connections to community-based care, and grief and trauma resources. DynCorp also continued its support for the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore and held a blanket drive to support the Northern Virginia Regional Commission’s effort to benefit Syrian refugees living in Turkey.
Since 2002, EagleBank employees have participated in the National Kidney Foundation’s annual Ronald D. Paul Cos. “Kidney Walk,” named after the bank’s chief executive. The event has grown to include nearly 1,000 walkers, and it has raised more than $900,000. Employees participating in this year’s walk raised more than $23,000, making it the most successful fundraising effort to date. The bank donated more than $550,000 to a number of charitable organizations throughout the year.
In addition, the 10th annual EagleBank Foundation Fight Against Breast Cancer Golf Classic in October raised more than $375,000 to support local hospitals and organizations.
Engility created an internal organization in 2014, known as Engility Volunteers, to develop partnerships with community organizations. Employees worked with nonprofit Our Daily Bread to donate new backpacks to children in Fairfax County. They also volunteered at the Marine Corps Marathon and participated in the Tour de Cure D.C. cycling competition, raising money for the American Diabetes Association. Most recently, Engility Volunteers put together a team for the National Wreaths Across America Day event at Arlington National Cemetery. The company continued its sponsorship the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Honor Guard, Northern Virginia Family Services and the Foundation Fighting Blindness.
Exelis expanded its corporate citizenship program in 2014, hosting more than 240 service projects and engaging 2,700 volunteers in over 7,000 hours of service. The McLean contractor provided $1 million in funding to nonprofit organizations supporting veterans. Exelis volunteers coached student veterans at George Washington University, repaired trails and facilities at a local veterans’ retreat center, prepared personalized family fun night packages to help military families bond after deployments, and created a community garden at the Fort Belvoir Fisher House, among other activities.
First Potomac Realty Trust, based in Bethesda, runs a corporate giving program guided by its employees. Over the years, it has donated more than $270,000 and provided volunteers or fundraising help to the Race for Hope, which raises funds to fight brain tumors, the real estate games benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, as well as the Maryland Food Bank.
Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman, a Bethesda-based accounting firm, has focused its philanthropic giving on improving administration and leadership for nonprofits working in and around the District. To this end, it has sponsored an annual award for local nonprofit leadership, which entails a $5,000 personal development account to be used by a group’s chief executive, and a separate $2,000 grant for the organization’s staff. In 2014, the award went to Michelle Asha Cooper of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, Bonnie Fogel of Imagination Stage, and Sylisa Lambert-Woodard of Pathway Homes.
This holiday season Georgetown Cupcake donated 10,000 cupcakes to troops in Afghanistan as part of Operation Cupcake, a partnership with the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the USO. The homegrown chain has donated 50,000 cupcakes to troops overseas since 2010.
As a partner of the Hope for Henry Foundation, Georgetown Cupcake also provides monetary donations and personalized birthday cupcakes to children fighting cancer and other serious illnesses at Children’s National Medical Center and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. Other beneficiaries include Miriam’s Kitchen, Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Georgetown University Lombardi Cancer Center Gala.
Giant of Landover has contributed more than $13 million to the community so far this year as part of the company’s efforts toward hunger prevention, health and wellness, and support of military service members. The grocery chain awarded more than $2 million to 2,055 local schools in Maryland, Virginia, the District and Delaware as part of its 2013-2014 A+ School Rewards program. In addition, Giant raised $1.6 million for pediatric cancer research and care through its 2014 Triple Winner program, The Giant Foundation, meanwhile, awarded $930,728 in grants to five regional Feeding America food banks.
Holland & Knight employees donated more than 79,000 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. More than 40 lawyers, professionals and staffers in the firm’s D.C. and Tysons Corner offices volunteered for Rebuilding Together, a nonprofit that does free home repairs for low-income D.C. homeowners who are veterans, elderly, disabled or caring for young children while living in deteriorating conditions. The firm raised more than $6,800 to sponsor a house in the program, and firm employees volunteered to clean the home in preparation for the repairs.
In addition, as part of the firm’s local 9/11 Day of Service initiative, more than 25 volunteers spent two days at the five Fisher Houses located at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at Bethesda doing outdoor beautification activities including landscaping, painting and spackling. The firm also raised $7,500 to cover the plants and supplies used on the project.
Holland & Knight once again sponsored the annual holiday party for the Edward C. Mazique Parent Child Center, which provides child care and counseling services to underprivileged children and their families. Five employees participated in the Audi Best Buddies Challenge in D.C. and raised $3,650. The event was held in support of Best Buddies International, a nonprofit dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. The firm also held an Ebola relief drive across its offices in the United States and abroad and raised more than $13,000 for Save the Children to assist with the relief efforts in West Africa.
Hundreds of ICF International employees participated in walks and held raffles, sales and competitions to raise $63,500 for the American Cancer Society to fight breast and prostate cancers — placing ICF among the top fundraising teams for D.C.’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and the national No-Shave November campaign. D.C.-area employees held ICF’s 22nd annual charity auction that raised more than $17,000 for local charities. Employees collected food, clothing and gifts at many ICF offices nationwide for low-income families and foster children.
The foundation arm of McLean-based ImmixGroup has contributed more than $1.1 million to cancer research, education and patient care at Johns Hopkins over the past decade. A charity golf tournament in October raised $125,000 for the ImmixGroup Foundation Surgical Oncology Fellowship in the surgery department at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. Founded in 2009, the fellowship provides a post-doctoral research fellow with funding for one year of clinical training and a second year of research in surgical oncology.
James G. Davis Construction of Rockville provided more than 5,000 in-kind construction and professional service hours, as well as truckloads of construction materials to more than 100 professional, local community and nonprofit organizations. One of the most notable was the National Building Museum’s Big Maze, for which Davis provided labor and construction expertise. The company’s senior leaders and executives also dedicated more than 100 volunteer hours in June at the Real Estate Games, benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
This year, employees of Chevy Chase-based JBG Cos. volunteered more than 2,200 hours over the course of a three-month long community service program. Volunteers helped with 15 different charities, focused on areas including affordable housing, hunger and nutrition, education, sustainability and the arts. Organizations included the veterans program of Rebuilding Together Montgomery County, a nonprofit that provides safe and affordable housing for veterans, and Year Up, which provides college and career mentoring to young adults.
Fifty Washington area families received new beds, velvet chairs and high-definition TVs this fall, thanks to a donation by the Jefferson hotel in the District, which recently underwent a $2 million renovation of its 95 guest rooms.
The boutique hotel donated the items, all less than five years old, to A Wider Circle, a Silver Spring-based nonprofit that assists local families transition from shelters to homes of their own.
Among the donated furniture: 51 queen- and king-size mattresses, 55 chairs and 50 Samsung TVs.
“That’s 50 families that got their homes furnished as a result of the Jefferson,” said Mark Bergel, founder and executive director of the nonprofit. “It’s the difference between going to sleep on a cold, and usually dirty, floor and being able to lay down on a bed at night.”
A Wider Circle has a 25,000 square-foot showroom in Silver Spring where families are encouraged to come look for items. The nonprofit, which Bergel founded in 2001, helps furnish more than 1,000 homes every month.
“Most of the time, hotels only do upgrades every eight or nine years, but this was only our fifth year since renovations,” said Philip Wood, managing director of the Jefferson. “We looked and said, ‘This furniture is in great condition. It could be of value to other families.’”
The items from the Jefferson, which arrived in batches on Sept. 4 and Oct. 14, were gone within a couple of days, Bergel said.
“A donation like this doesn’t last more than 48 hours,” Bergel said. “It allows us to give people everything they need for their apartment.”
— Abha Bhattarai
More than 200 employees at six Mid-Atlantic offices of the real estate services company JLL volunteered at 14 local charities, focused in particular on work fighting hunger, homelessness and poverty. Among the organizations that benefited were Habitat for Humanity, Food and Friends, Children’s National Medical Center, Cornerstones, For Love of Children and Junior Achievement.
Reston-based John Marshall Bank raised $35,000 through its annual charity golf tournament this fall benefiting 10 area organizations, including the Community Clinic, Loudoun County Volunteer Rescue Squad and Tree of Life Ministries. The bank also donated time or money to a number of local charities, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, Inova Alexandria Hospital Foundation and the Alexandria Symphony.
Jones Day committed 118,466 hours to pro bono legal work last year, including 29,894 hours out of the Washington office. The law firm provided staff and support to the D.C. Bar’s free legal advice and referral clinic and to the Landlord Tenant Resource Center, both of which it helped found, and worked closely with the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. The law firm gives legal representation to abused and neglected children, unaccompanied minors seeking refuge in the United States and veterans seeking benefits. The Washington office also organized service events, including one at the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, where more than 100 volunteers worked on weeding, planting, and repairing roads and walkways.
K&L Gates held its second annual Global Day of Service in the fall, where attorneys and staffers in the law firm’s offices around the world volunteered to help their local communities. In Washington, more than 100 K&L Gates employees packed 31,000 pounds of food at the Capital Area Food Bank and prepared about 5,000 meals at the D.C. Central Kitchen.
Leidos employees selected Habitat for Humanity as a company-wide charity to support through the year. More than 250 employees worked more than 1,000 hours on 24 projects. Local sites included Columbia, Frederick and Baltimore in Maryland and Alexandria in Virginia. For the second year in a row, the Reston company sponsored 100 children of military families as part of the USO’s Project Elf, and also fulfilled the wish lists of more than 1,200 children in the Washington region. Leidos employees participated in an annual Help the Homeless Walk to end homelessness in partnership with nonprofit Cornerstones. The company has donated more than $110,000 to Cornerstones since moving its headquarters to Reston.
Lockheed Martin partnered with D.C. Public Schools to support the expansion of college and career-focused science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs. Lockheed donated $6 million to expand STEM curriculums in school districts across the country, starting with seven middle schools in the District. The defense company also provided a $150,000 grant to support Mission Continues, an organization that supports homeless veterans, in its District and Dallas platoons. More than 120 Lockheed employees mentored veterans, military spouses and families of fallen soldiers through the American Corporate Partners program.
ManTech International made contributions to the Marine Corp Heritage Foundation, and continued its support of the National Museum of the Marine Corps, which has received more than 2 million visitors since its opening in 2006. The contractor is a primary member of the Founders Group, a public-private partnership of the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation and the National Security Agency/Central Security Service. As a member, ManTech advocated for funding, advised on exhibit design and planned fundraising campaigns for the museum.
McDermott Will & Emery’s D.C. lawyers contributed more than 16,500 hours in pro bono legal services in 2014 on a variety of causes, including securing asylum for individuals facing persecution, assisting victims of human trafficking, securing disability benefits for low income individuals, protecting the homeless, advocating for military veterans, and safeguarding children. This year, the law firm’s D.C. office partnered with Easter Seals and the Dixon Center to mentor veterans seeking civilian employment, helping veterans improve their resumes and offering them advice on interviewing strategies. Attorneys and staff from the D.C. office volunteered at D.C. Central Kitchen, pitching in on four separate occasions to help with meal preparation. The law firm also held its third annual “McDermott’s Closet” clothing drive to support Career Gear, an organization that provides low-income individuals with interview and work-appropriate clothes to get back on their feet. McDermott partnered with Families Forward and Veterans on the Rise to provide holiday presents, new clothes and toys and gift cards to “adopted” families. The law firm also held a canned food drive to support Bread for the City. More than 60 lawyers and staff in D.C. competed in the American Heart Association’s 2014 Lawyers Have Heart race, raising the most money of any entered team.
MedImmune and its parent company, AstraZeneca, awarded a $50,000 grant to the MdBio Foundation to expand its programs focused on science, technology, engineering and math education. Those efforts help prepare students for STEM jobs through college and career readiness initiatives. The MdBio Foundation is an affiliate of the Tech Council of Maryland, a state trade association.
The largest hospital system in the Washington region, MedStar Health, naturally focuses its philanthropic efforts on giving medical care to those in need. During its most recent fiscal year, MedStar contributed $307.9 million in community benefits, including $109.2 million in charity care and other uncompensated care. That includes a program called “Hair, Heart & Health,” in which medical professionals provide diabetes and blood pressure screenings at barbershops around the District. In 2014, more than 1,000 people were screened.
Mitre held its seventh annual Young Women in Engineering Day in March. The event brought together 40 female students from seven middle and high schools in Northern Virginia to learn about science, technology, engineering and math. The day included hands-on instruction about electromagnetic waves, flight simulation, and building airport models. Mitre also celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Suits for Vets program, which provides professional attire for disabled veterans to wear on job interviews. To date, the initiative has raised $95,000 and clothed more than 200 severely wounded veterans. The not-for-profit organization partners with the Vietnam Veterans of America Northern Virginia Chapter 227 and Jos. A. Bank Clothiers on the program.
Navy Federal Credit Union this year raised more than $366,000 to support employees’ charities of choice. In addition, the Vienna-based credit union donated $5,000 each to the Coast Guard Foundation and to Operation Homefront to support a holiday meals campaign for enlisted military families. Navy Federal also continued its support of the Fisher House Foundation, a network of homes where families can stay for free while military personnel and veterans are receiving treatment. Other organizations that received monetary donations or support include Relay for Life, Rebuilding Together and the American Freedom Foundation.
Vienna-based data storage company NetApp held its fifth annual St. Baldrick’s event this year, raising funds for cancer research. The Tyson’s office raised about $100,000; the company has raised $430,000 in total over the past five years.
At NetApp’s 2014 event, 40 people, many of them employees, shaved their heads to help raise funds to the fight against childhood cancer. Sixteen of those were women.
Arlington-based Opower organized donation drives this year to support the efforts of the American Red Cross and Mary’s Center, a District-based nonprofit helping families in need. Employees at the energy software company contributed a combined 30 pints of blood and collected more than 1,100 pounds of clothes, among other initiatives.
Northrop Grumman donated $200,000 to George Mason University this year, part of the company’s $1 million multi-year grant in support of the Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement. The program improves scientific education at high-need schools in Virginia and imparts training to 83,700 teachers. The defense giant also donated money to EarthEcho, an environmental nonprofit founded by the grandchildren of explorer Jacques Costeau. Northrop’s donation supported EarthEcho’s goal of providing professional development to high school and middle school teachers at 50 public schools in the District, educating them about conservation efforts for the Chesapeake Bay.
The Falls Church contractor also provided a grant to support Operation Homefront D.C. Metro, which provides toys to families of service members. More than 180 Northrop employees volunteered and donated 600 toys.
Law firm Pillsbury’s D.C. and Northern Virginia lawyers contributed more than 6,500 hours of pro bono legal services in 2014 to the underserved, including the homeless, children, immigrants and victims of domestic violence. The law firm also donated money to more than 30 local legal services organizations and charities, including the Legal Aid Society of D.C., Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, Children’s Law Center, D.C. Bar Foundation, Fairfax Court Appointed Special Advocate, Bread for the City, Whitman-Walker Health, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, American Heart Association and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In December, Pillsbury’s charitable foundation contributed $10,000 to D.C. Central Kitchen, which distributes 5,000 free meals every day to 80 D.C.-area homeless shelters, and $5,000 to Our Daily Bread, a provider of emergency food, financial assistance and seasonal assistance to low-income residents of the Fairfax County area.
Olney-based Sandy Spring Bank contributed $500,000 to charities this year with a focus on ending hunger, teaching financial literacy and rebuilding homes for those in need. As part of its annual Season of Sharing program, the bank oversaw a social media campaign that helped provide 12,000 meals to residents in Northern Virginia and Maryland. Sandy Spring Bank also provided free web-based financial literacy programs to more than 6,500 students in Montgomery and Frederick County Public Schools.
Science Applications International Corp. sponsored the Home for the Holidays program this year, flying 75 service members back home to spend time with their families. One of the reunions occurred at a Washington Nationals game on July 4. The McLean company also donated $100,000 to the Mission Continues, an organization that helps post-9/11 veterans reengage in their communities through service projects. SAIC employees teamed up with more than 90 veterans to refurbish a District middle school. The company donated $150,000 to assist with the upkeep of Walter Reed Naval Military Medical Center, through its work with the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore.
Squire Patton Boggs continued to contribute to national organizations, such as the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, as well as to organizations in the D.C. area, including the Children’s Law Center, Kids in Need of Defense and the Alliance for Middle East Peace. In 2014, the law firm assisted long-time pro bono client D.C. Appleseed Center for Law & Justice in implementing a project seeking to improve access to quality early childhood programs for children of low-income families. For nearly a decade, Squire Patton Boggs also has worked on a pro bono basis with D.C. Appleseed on water quality issues related to the Anacostia River Cleanup Project.
Employees of Fairfax-based SRA International continued a monthly tradition of working with the D.C. Central Kitchen to prepare a morning meal that is distributed to more than 100 community agencies. Volunteers helped put together and deliver more than 5,000 meals. SRA also continued its support of The Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health. More than 75 SRA employees prepared meals and served dinner to about 100 sick children and their families.
In 2014, Steptoe’s Washington office provided more than 25,000 hours of pro bono representation. In June, a band made up of Steptoe attorneys, called Attractive Nuisance, placed third in the annual Battle of the Law Firm Bands held at the Black Cat, and the law firm raised $25,000 for Gifts for the Homeless at the event. For the Fourth of July, Steptoe mailed 65 care package boxes to Afghanistan for the Marines of 1st Platoon, Charlie Company. Throughout the year, Steptoe’s Washington office continued its monthly “Casual for a Cause” Fridays in which all employees had the opportunity to wear business-appropriate jeans in exchange for contributing at least $5 toward a designated charity, which rotates monthly. In December, the law firm’s employees loaded up boxes of used clothing and bedding to be delivered to Gifts for the Homeless.
One Thursday a month, before the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams at Seaton Elementary School in the District took to the field, the players got a little boost to help them conquer the opposing team: a big bowl of salad.
That’s the day when employees from their local Sweetgreen, a District-based chain of salad shops, would come to school to teach a lesson on nutrition and healthy eating. Then, students could build their own salads from vitamin-rich ingredients.
“The school joke was we always won because we had salads before the game,” said Sarah McLaughlin, a teacher whose students took part in the program.
The monthly session was part of Sweetgreen in Schools. The program delivers a five-part curriculum to elementary school students with lessons on planting vegetables, seasonal eating and plant anatomy.
The more than 30 fourth-grade students at Seaton who took part in the program created rap songs about vegetables, wrote letters to local farmers, and competed to create the tastiest salad.
“It’s changing their perspective on healthy food,” McLaughlin said. “It’s something to look forward to, not to dread.”
Sweetgreen co-founder Nicolas Jammet describes the program as a companywide effort. For instance, the general managers of local stores lead many of the lessons, and work alongside teachers to adhere to school curriculums.
“Everyone in the company gets to be part of it,” Jammet said. “Our team members on the ground in the stores get to be part of it.”
Founded in 2010, the Sweetgreen in Schools program expanded this year to include workshops at 14 locations in each of the company’s regional markets — Washington, New York, Philadelphia and Boston. A total of 2,500 students have taken part to date.
That number is expected to grow to 3,500 next year as Sweetgreen opens new restaurants. New York-based FoodCorps, an organization that teaches children about nutrition, was recruited to help scale the program.
Sweetgreen raised $18.5 million from investors in November to extend its roots in existing cities — two locations opened in New York this month alone — as well as new geographic areas. Two restaurants in Los Angeles, Sweetgreen’s first on the West Coast, are scheduled to open next year.
“As our company grows our impact also grows,” Jammet said.
— Steven Overly
ThinkGeek: Fairfax-based online gift store ThinkGeek donates to various charities, including Child’s Play, which lets donors contribute video games and toys to children’s hospitals, and Alternative House, a shelter for runaway, abused and homeless teens and women.
Employees of Silver Spring-based United Therapeutics conducted a week of volunteer work in December in communities where the life sciences company has offices. Locally, those efforts included packing hundreds of meals for Food & Friends, which provides meals to those who are too ill to leave home. Volunteers also bagged more than 1,000 rainbow loom bracelets for pediatric patients at the Children’s Inn at NIH, and photocopied hundreds of employment and job skills information packets for Career Catchers. Other places where employees donated their time included Hope Connections, Habitat for Humanity, Family Services Inc., A Wider Circle and Washington Home and Hospice.
The Theatre Lab School is a nonprofit drama school serving more 1,500 people a year from a location a block north of the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro station. One of the school’s annual projects is a program called Life Stories, which helps people write, direct and act in plays depicting their own life stories.
“It’s really a program that is about learning how to change our own narratives using the tools of acting and directing and writing and playwriting and poetry,” said Deb Gottesman, founder of the Theatre Lab.
The Theatre Lab has been operating this program successfully for 14 years, but now it wants to expand. This past October, it began the Life Stories Institute, which will train educators to replicate the program elsewhere. To date, the program has trained 14 people.
Aside from a new grant from the federal National Endowment for the Arts, most of the program’s funding comes from private donors and businesses. International law firm Allen & Overy, Pizzeria Paradiso, and Heritage Title and Escrow Co., all based in the District, contributed $5,000 each to the Theatre School. Pepco and law firm Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough both gave $3,500, and Bethesda-based Development Finance International donated $50,000.
— Aaron Gregg
Attorneys at the law firm Venable contributed 21,352 pro bono hours so far this year, and donated about $2.5 million firmwide — including $1.1 million out of the D.C. office — to charity. The law firm serves as pro bono counsel to D.C. Central Kitchen, which provides daily meals and food industry job training and placement to thousands of low-income D.C.-area residents. The firm also represents the organization’s affiliate, the Campus Kitchens Project, which helps college campuses around the United States establish student-run centers to help feed people in their local communities.
Among the efforts of real estate financing company Walker & Dunlop was a fundraiser the Bethesda-based company held in November that raised $83,000 benefiting Lift-DC and Community Solutions, two organizations fighting poverty and homelessness. Through the company’s matching fund program, Walker & Dunlop matched more than $21,000 in employee donations. The company also provides employees up to four hours a month off for volunteering.
Wiley Rein attorneys worked on more than 200 pro bono matters in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, and provided more than 16,000 hours of pro bono services this year. Those matters included negotiating a landmark health-care-related settlement on behalf of inmates at a Virginia women’s prison, a major settlement with the Baltimore Police Department in a civil rights case, and teaching high school students at the Academies at Anacostia. The law firm’s charitable initiatives this year included a March Madness Charity Bracket Challenge for the Children’s Law Center, participation in the Lawyers Have Heart 10K Race, 5K Run & Walk for the American Heart Association, a guest bartending competition to raise money for D.C.’s Legal Aid Society, a Thanksgiving basket drive to benefit Bread for the City, and a holiday clothing drive to support Gifts for the Homeless.
The W.R. Grace manufacturing facility in Curtis Bay hosted an annual holiday dinner for about 50 local families in need. Employee donations provided a meal and winter clothing, while Santa Claus passed out toys to the children. Loretta Warfield, a janitorial services employee at the company, organized the efforts.
The Columbia-based specialty chemical firm’s foundation also donated a total of $373,729 to a number of charities and programs supporting STEM education.
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