The Washington Post

At Calvert Investments, workers get time off to do volunteer and charity work

Company: Calvert Investments.

Location: Bethesda.

Employees: 172 locally; 195 nationwide.

At Calvert Investments, leaders have sought to create an office culture that values social responsibility and volunteerism.

As part of that mission, the Bethesda-based company has established a policy that allows employees to take eight paid hours off per month to participate in service work, which adds up to nearly 100 hours per year.

By giving staffers a chance to get away from their desks to devote time to a favorite cause, the policy “allows us to really dig our hands in the dirt in the community instead of simply writing a check,” said Lauren Lefkowitz, the firm’s human resources consultant.

Senior manager Annie M. Cull, has used the time to serve on the board of directors for Suited for Change, a Washington-based organization that provides career training and professional clothing for low-income women.

She said the extra hours have helped her make time to attend board meetings or do other work for the charity.

“I definitely don’t think I would have jumped in the way that I did” if Calvert hadn’t built in time for it, Cull said.

The policy has also made Cull feel comfortable taking a call or sending an e-mail related to her charity work while she is at the office. If that happens, she can just log it on her time sheet as part of her allotted community service time.

“It’s really wonderful to feel like it’s not something that I have to hide,” Cull said.

Calvert also organizes regular opportunities for workers to use up their service hours. They have an arrangement with Manna Food Center in which Calvert employees pack up snacks each week to be delivered to underprivileged children. And Calvert staffers also take turns driving delivery routes for nonprofit group Food & Friends, bringing meals to cancer patients and people with HIV.

“Calvert has a long-standing history of having a commitment to corporate social responsibility,” Lefkowitz said. “This community involvement policy really supports that and allows us to live what we preach.”

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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