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Philanthropy Thought Leader Uncategorized

Celebrate and enrich Atlanta beyond Global Service Month

Former President Jimmy Carter said it best: “The sacrifice of volunteering is a blessing; you get much more out of the work than you put in.”

People volunteer for many reasons — to give back and make a difference in their communities; to positively impact a personal cause; to build or deepen relationships; to develop new skills or build on existing knowledge; or to experience that incredible feeling when you see the impact of your time on people’s lives.

Whatever the motivation, the challenge and reward of volunteering unites people from different backgrounds around improving the health of their communities.

Bank of America shares this spirit in Atlanta. We’re committed to and focused on partnering with nonprofit organizations to build pathways to economic mobility by addressing issues of education and workforce and community development in the metro area. Employees may volunteer up to two hours a week during work hours and are able to apply for grants for organizations where they volunteer regularly.

Throughout April, the bank celebrated volunteerism through its Global Service Month. On April 13, we partnered with the United Way of Greater Atlanta in a Day of Action. More than 500 bank volunteers fanned out across the city in 14 service projects to put this spirit of community service to work, contributing nearly 2000 service hours. We were honored to support nonprofits who do this vital work every day, whether helping North Fulton Community Charities stock approximately 16,000 pounds of canned and non-perishable foods for residents in need; assembling necessity kits with Lost-N-Found and Pack the Purse; packing and delivering meals through OpenHand or making breakfast and lunch at Gateway Homeless Shelter for 225 homeless Atlantans, including 75 veterans. We’re doing this because we believe in this city and the people that make up its numerous neighborhoods. We want to see Atlanta thrive and know that a little extra time can make a big impact.

Outside of work, I’m passionate about serving our community and connecting with neighbors through volunteerism. As a member of the United Way’s board, I’ve been inspired by the organization and its leadership’s charge to help others, provide resources to overcome complex issues and drive sustainable positive change in and around our city.

Atlanta — throughout the year ahead, I invite you to help us keep the spirit of Global Service Month alive and enrich our community through volunteerism. It’s easy to get involved.

Plan a volunteering event with your family, friends or co-workers. Think about what drives you and where you’d like to make a difference. To find a volunteer opportunity, check out the United Way of Greater Atlanta website, where you’ll find ways to get involved year-round.

Offer your skills. Nonprofits continually need your professional and personal talents – from helping make meals for the disabled at Open Hand, tutoring students at LaAmistad or dusting off your tools to help Habitat for Humanity build homes. Nonprofit boards can also use your expertise like financial skills or marketing to address needs in your community. United Way’s Volunteer Involvement Program (VIP) is a great way to get board training.

Harness workplace policies and opportunities. Is your company planning volunteer activities in the next few months? Sign up to organize one. Remind your company of the benefits of volunteering and ask about special programs for employees who volunteer. Also, if your company is a specialized industry, find out if it could provide its services pro bono to a nonprofit. For example, Bank of America volunteers provide financial coaching and mentoring in schools and nonprofits to help teach better money habits that lead to long-term success.

There’s plenty to do in our neighborhoods and you’ll feel good doing it. Find your cause, grab a shovel, make a meal, visit a neighbor in need and let’s work together to help Atlanta thrive.

Wendy Stewart is Atlanta Market President at Bank of America.


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