What do the following have in common: helping people with disabilities to surf, transforming an Indian village with smart technology, shaving your head or dunking an Intuit leader in support of a worthy cause?
Answer: They’re all ways Intuit employees are helping improve others’ lives through the company’s “We Care and Give Back” (WCGB) volunteer program. Here is a round up of WCGB initiatives that took place in recent months in Australia, India, UK, Canada, Singapore, France and the United States.
Around the world
Surf’s up down under
It’s easy to take a skill for granted when you’re able-bodied—surfing, for example. But for a person with a disability, the idea of catching a wave on a surfboard might seem the stuff of dreams—unless they had the good fortune to take part in an event run by The Disabled Surfers Association of Australia (DSAA) with the help of Intuit volunteers.
The event took place at Collaroy Beach, just north of Sydney, in February. Several local Intuit employees showed up for a chance to give disabled surfers the time of their lives. The event proved as memorable to the volunteers as those they helped.
“Seeing a smile on these people’s faces as they got to feel what it’s like to ride a wave for the first time was indescribable,” says volunteer Chris McColm, an inside sales consultant. (Check out photos of the event on #IntuitLife here.)
Intuit adopts a village in India
We’ve all heard of smart cities, but a smart village? Thumbenahalli—a village north of Bangalore—can now claim that distinction because Intuit India’s WCGB team has adopted it. Working in partnership with the Connecting Dreams Foundation, the WCGB team’s goal is to turn the village into a sustainable, smart community.
Central to the “Adopt-a-Village” initiative was the installation of a touch-screen PC with broadband and a trusted portal in the village center. Known as Apna Tech Tree (ATT), the installation is run by local women groups in partnership with a local NGO. It enables community and people-centric learning, and uses video conferencing and VoIP to communicate, share best practices with the people of neighboring villages and connect with experts from across the world.
Launching the initiative at an inaugural event was Vijay Anand, senior vice president of Intuit’s India Development Center in Bangalore. Among other activities, the WCGB team distributed more than 200 school kits to local students, helped conduct a digital literacy workshop for local kids, helped educate local girls in good hygiene and health practices, and conducted a D4D session with local teachers, students and villagers. (Check out photos of the event on #IntuitLife here.)
Red noses in the UK
Every two years, through an initiative known as Red Nose Day, people across the UK get together and do something funny to raise money at home, school and work. In March, the Intuit London office threw itself into the challenge for the first time. Teams faced off against each other to raise as much money as possible in one week, with proceeds going to the British charity Comic Relief.
Challenge coordinator Louise Shelley was blown away by the teams’ creativity. There were bake sales, desktop calendars for sale and a busking event. The Field Team asked people to sponsor them for the Ice Bucket Challenge. Marketing offered their services as a personal assistant for a day for a fee, and even turned one of their prime offices into an Airbnb space for a day, inviting people to bid on it.
“The buzz around the office was amazing,” Shelley says. “Some of the teamwork was unbelievable and a testament to our amazing culture.”
The Business Development Manager sales team was the official winner. Total funds raised by all teams: £3,294, which doubled to £6,588 (nearly US$8,500) with Intuit’s match.
Saying it with food in Canada, Singapore and France
WCGB volunteers in Mississauga (near Toronto), Singapore and Paris showed their love through food drives for those in need. In March, volunteers in Mississauga collected over 2,000 food items to donate to local food banks Deacon’s Cupboard and Eden Food for Change. Part of the drive was a competition among Intuit teams, where the winning team cooks a meal for the Eden soup kitchen with the help of a professional chef—total prize value: $500.
In Singapore last December, WCGB volunteers staged an office food drive that raised over 1,400 Singapore dollars (about US$1,000) and two big bags of food items for Food Bank Singapore for needy families, the elderly and school kids. Volunteers used the funds to adopt 140 bundles of canned food, cartons of rice, oil and milk, which they distributed to senior citizens at Care Corner Toa Payoh.
In Paris, the entire Intuit team contributed to a food and toiletries collection, then WCGB volunteers spent the day at Secours Populaire, a charity that distributes food to people in need and allows underprivileged families to eat at a symbolic cost. Volunteers helped sort items and liaised with Secours volunteers as they received the public. Later in the week, part of the team took disadvantaged children to the theater.
“It was extremely fulfilling—I felt like we were doing what mattered,” says Intuit’s Helene Maingueux, a brand new employee getting her first exposure to the WCGB program. “I believe being part of Intuit means that we as employees can do something at our level. We are lucky enough that our company encourages us in doing so and I will embrace every chance I get to participate in another WCGB day.”
In the USA
Reno: hair today—gone to a worthy cause
Would you shave your head for a good cause? Employees at Intuit Reno have taken part in previous years in St. Baldrick’s head-shaving events to raise funds to fight childhood cancers, in partnership with the Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation. But when they learned that a member of the Intuit family had childhood cancer, they banded together to support her. Abigail Walker, daughter of Intuit employee Kirstie Walker, was diagnosed with Unilateral Retinoblastoma at two weeks old and lost her left eye due to cancer.
Led by Intuit’s Shannon Carus, the team raised $13,653 (before Intuit matched the funds), exceeding their goal of $12,000. They even changed their team name to Intuit QuickBuzz Payroll – #AbigailsArmy. Best of all, Abigail is now cancer free. (Check out the Facebook post on #IntuitLife here.)
Tucson: dunk a leader
Ever wanted to dunk an Intuit leader into a giant bucket of water? Intuit Tucson employees had the chance to do so at an event in March, raising funds for the dunked directors’ favorite charities. Latinos Connect @ Intuit led the fun event, which spurred friendly competition among Business Units and raised $4,500 ($9,000 with Intuit’s match) for charities such as Sold No More, Humane Society of Southern Arizona, The Primavera Foundation and Sister Jose Women’s Shelter.
Mountain View: book drive drives enthusiasm
Believe it or not, some kids in Silicon Valley don’t have access to the latest high-tech toys and gadgets. Some don’t even have access to books. That’s why Intuit Finance Director Alex Sutkin and his wife, Lauren, have led book drives for underprivileged children at Russo/McEntee Elementary School in east San Jose since 2012. They continued the trend this year.
In March, Intuit donated over 500 books to the school—including books bought using monetary donations of about $500. Titles from the grade-level wish lists included “Clifford,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” “Henry and Mudge,” “Frindle” and the “Harry Potter” series. The kids were so excited from the moment an Intuit team arrived in the auditorium to deliver the books, with many shouting out book titles they recognized and chatting excitedly with one another as to which books they hoped to borrow and take home. Stay tuned for a future book drive to benefit this school in 2018!