Textron Volunteers (and Golf Carts) Connect Veterans to Services at Operation Stand Down RI

Textron employees volunteered at Operation Stand Down RI, an event that provides access to social and supportive services for military veterans. With the donation of seven E-Z-GO golf cars and the many volunteers that gave of their time, the Textron team was able to provide shuttles around the site to allow veterans take advantage of all the services offered at the event.

Volunteers drove veterans to and from the different tents to get haircuts, massages, career advice, clothing, legal counsel and complimentary meals.

Erik Wallin, Executive Director of Operation Stand Down RI said, “On behalf of the over 450 veterans served at this year’s annual Stand Down Weekend, Operation Stand Down RI wishes to thank Textron for donating the use of golf cars to transport veterans and service providers. We also express our gratitude to the dozens of Textron employees who volunteered their time over three days and showed such compassion towards our veterans who came for life changing services. The dedicated team of Textron volunteers honored our local veterans by their own service as they have done for the past several years.”

“It was a privilege, and such a small token of my appreciation to do something for our veterans who have sacrificed so much for this country,” says Al Casazza, Director of Global Services and Real Estate. “I’m looking forward to doing it again next year.”

GCRI Members Bring Learning and Discovery Through April Vacation Volunteer Events

Out of School TIme YMCA Newport

As part of GCRI’s second April Vacation Volunteer Initiative, volunteer teams from Bank Newport (two sites), Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI, and Pawtucket Credit Union spent a morning with children in afterschool programs doing fun STEM enrichment activities.

Out of School TIme YMCA Newport

A total of 28 corporate volunteers worked with over 100 children to build gumdrop bridges, “rescue” stuffed animals, launch pompoms and make roller coaster tracks for marbles at the Newport County YMCA (ALC member), Kids Klub North Providence (ALC member), Pawtucket Boys and Girls Club (ALC member) and the Bristol Warren COZ program.

Both the YMCA program and the Kids Klub program received positive newspaper coverage in local newspapers:

Newport Daily News – Bank Newport April Vacation 2017

Valley Breeze — Blue Cross April Vacation 2017


Follow Up Resources for Trends and Innovations Roundtable

Thanks to those of you who participated in the April “Trends and Innovations in Philanthropy” roundtable to learn more about Impact Investing, Social Entrepreneurship, Nonprofit Capacity Building and Changing Perceptions Around the “Overhead Myth.”

If you’d like more information on Impact Investing, please plan on joining us on May 25, 1:00-2:30pm at the Rhode Island Foundation for a more in-depth look at Mission-Related Investments.  In addition, Mission Investors Exchange, a sister organization in the Forum, has many resources on its website and will be hosting its annual Mission Investing Institute on June 19-21 in Troy, Michigan at the Kresge Foundation.

For more information on the “Overhead Myth,” be sure to check out Dan Pallotta’s TED Talk, The Way We Think About Charity Is Dead Wrong.  Pallotta is the founder of the Charity Defense Council, which works to change the perceptions of Boards, donors and the public around the idea of nonprofit “overhead.”  Pallotta is a nationally recognized fundraiser, speaker and author of Uncharitable.  In addition, Northern California Grantmakers/San Diego Grantmakers/Southern California Grantmakers (GCRI’s sister organizations in the Forum) have released a report on their statewide “Real Cost Project,” an educational initiative for funders and nonprofits about eliminating the concept of “overhead,” and instead focusing on the “real cost” — all of the necessary investments for a nonprofit organization to deliver on mission and to be sustainable over the long term.  Through research, regional convenings, and senior level executive briefings, the project identified what it would take for funders to overcome institutional and sector-wide barriers and to be able to move from awareness to action.  Read the report.



Valuable Financial Literacy Opportunities in December

Financial Literacy Professional Development Opportunities in December

December brings opportunities for two valuable professional development sessions for financial literacy staff and volunteers.

RI Jump$tart Coalition’s Third Annual Financial Capability Conference will be held on Saturday, December 10 at Rhode Island College.  Distinguished education, government, and industry leaders, including RI General Treasurer Seth Magaziner and RI Commissioner of Postsecondary Education Jim Purcell, will take part in the day, full of relevant workshops, interactive exhibits, and informative panel sessions designed to meet the unique Personal Finance educational needs of K-12 student, college students and adult populations. In addition to general-interest topic sessions, there will be free professional development opportunities with new content and activities for conference participants scheduled throughout the day.  Register

Best Practices in Designing and Delivering Financial Education Workshops with Margaret Miley, Strategic Advisor and Founding Executive Director of the Midas Collaborative is sponsored by United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley (Boston) on December 13 in Boston.  With an abundance of “off-the-shelf” financial education curricula available, how can practitioners select and tailor these products to meet the needs of their audience? How can we ensure that the information is targeted, understood, and put to use? This training will help practitioners develop financial education programming using a high-impact ‘learner-centered’ model for adult learners that is timely, relevant and effective.

This training is presented as part of the Midas Collaborative’s Annual Members Meeting, which will take place from 1:30 – 3:00 pm. All training participants are welcome to stay for the meeting.  This will be a great chance to learn more about Midas’s mission, meet members of the Collaborative and participate in a special discussion highlighting what we can do at the local, state and national level to support financial security in the context of a changing political landscape.

For those staying on for the Midas Meeting, lunch will be provided during the break from 1:00 – 1:30 pm.

Register Today!


Employee Engagement Catalyst Group September 21

Employee Engagement Catalyst Group Conference Call September 21

Be sure to join us on September 21 at 9:00am — we’ll be hearing from Kelly Ramirez, Executive Director of Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG), about skills-based volunteer opportunities at SEG, as well as the launch of a unique upcoming program for community-minded companies, the Best For Rhode Island initiative.

Contact Nancy for call in information at nancy.wolanski@uwri.org.

Internal Marketing Followup

The May 5 GCRI session on “Internal Marketing for Sustainable Community Impact” was focused on the challenges of articulating the story and impact of corporate community initiatives internally, to organizational employees and leadership.  Here are a few resources to help you make that case:

Project ROI strives to “define and deliver financial and wider business value from corporate responsibility and sustainability…For too long a debate has raged – should companies invest in corporate responsibility (CR) and sustainability initiatives and if so, how much? Does CR detract or enhance the bottom line? Project ROI finds that CR has the potential to deliver an attractive business case. The question is not whether to engage in CR programs, but how.  Project ROI establishes the potential returns on investment CR can deliver. But it’s not enough to do CR, one must do it well. Project ROI defines a clear roadmap of essential practices for companies that want to improve the impact and value of their CR and sustainability performance.”  The report details the value of CR in three areas — Firm value, share price and risk; sales and reputation; and human resources.  Some of the key findings:

Corporate responsibility

  • Increases market value by up to 6%
  • Over a 15 year period, increases shareholder value by $1.28 billion
  • Reduces systematic risk by 4%
  • Increases revenue by up to 20%
  • Builds a reputation asset based on CR worth up to 11% of total firm value
  • Reduces company’s staff turnover by up to 50%
  • Increases employee productivity by up to 13%
  • Increases employee engagement by up to 7.5%

Download the report.

The Association of Corporate Contributions Professionals is offering a CSR & Your Employees webinar on June 16, 1-2pm.  “By engaging in philanthropic activities that can be showcased to your employees, your CSR team can have positive effects with employee retention, diversity and inclusion, along with increasing your employee engagement. Join Susan McPherson, Founder and CEO, McPherson Strategies, LLC, and ACCP in exploring how your work benefits your coworkers.”


Skills Based Volunteerism Opportunity with CS4RI

At the June 1 GCRI session on Skills-Based Volunteerism, Octavia Abell, from the RI Office of Innovation, shared about two skills-based volunteer opportunities for IT professionals that may be of interest to members of your IT staff.  For those interested in a short-term opportunity, the Office of Innovation is planning a Computer Science Fair for December.  They are looking for sponsors, as well as volunteers to showcase the IT/CS/tech career opportunities at their company, and volunteers to help lead a statewide hour of code.

For those IT professionals open to a more intensive commitment, and the opportunity to have more long-term impact, the CS4RI program will be starting in the fall and they are looking for IT professionals to team teach a computer science course in a public school before the beginning of their work day twice a week.

TEALS Volunteer Guide 

TEALS Volunteer Application

There are two training dates available this summer:

  • July 9th, 9am – 4pm
  • July 30th, 9am – 4pm

We will share the details about the Computer Fair once they are finalized.

Skills-Based Volunteerism Followup

After a great session on skills-based and pro bono volunteerism (SBV), we hope that you’re full of thoughts and questions about expanding skills-based volunteerism work at your organization.  So here are some resources that may be helpful on your implementation journey:

  • The Initiative for Nonprofit Excellence at the Rhode Island Foundation is an excellent resource for organizations wanting to increase nonprofit board service by their leaders, as well as development of skills based volunteering initiatives for employee skill and leadership development.  If you have questions or are interested in learning more, contact Jill Pfitzenmayer at jpfitzenmayer@rifoundation.org.
  • The Nonprofit Readiness Toolkit, produced by the Kansas State Department of Education and the Corporation for National and Community Service, provides a step by step case study on what is necessary on the nonprofit partner side of things for mutually successful SBV experiences.

These resources are available on the Common Impact website: