Each September, Discover Financial Services provides opportunities for its employees to make an impact in their community. This year, business units throughout the company participated in large-scale projects such as painting schools, constructing outdoor classrooms, landscaping residential campuses, hosting Kids’ Olympics for underserved students, and clearing and rejuvenating underused areas within nonprofits to allow them to expand programming. As in years past, Chicago Cares was privileged to partner with several Discover business units during Discover Cares month. We engaged over 1,000 volunteers in service to 15 different nonprofits and schools in the Chicagoland area. As part of their partnership with Chicago Cares, Discover volunteers dedicated 5,787 hours of service to those in need.
This year, Chicago Cares chose Discover Financial Services to receive our Corporate Star Award. Their commitment, drive, dedication and unwavering support inspire us. Please join us in congratulating their spirit of volunteerism!
We love working with Discover teams. Volunteering is at the heart of their corporate culture and it shows. They arrive on their days of service focused, results-oriented, and ready to work! Upon hearing it might rain the day of his team’s project, one volunteer leader spent the night before trying to figure out a way to secure the pergola his volunteers would be building without having to anchor it in the mud. A team from another business line brought their considerable (and apparently undisclosed) artistic skills to make one of the most beautiful MLK, Jr. murals we’ve ever seen. Yet another Discover employee brought our project model for fall-themed decorations at Lambs Farm to the next level by showing off his impressive technique with a jigsaw. Discover employees are a talented crew. What’s even more notable is their treatment of community service. They take it as seriously as they do their daily work.
Why would a company like Discover encourage its employees to forgo an entire day of productivity to spend it serving the needs of others? Their HR team may have seen studies showing that corporate volunteering develops teamwork, strengthens company loyalty, and improves morale. But Kimberly Cross, Senior Associate of Community Affairs at Discover, says it’s more than that. It’s what they do and who they are. Simply stated, “Volunteerism is one of our core values at Discover. We support volunteer initiatives that empower our employees to make a difference.” Could there be anything better than working for a company that encourages you to use your skills, energy, and talents to meet needs in our community?
If you work for Discover or another company that provides opportunities to volunteer with your colleagues – Congratulations! For others who are still working on it, here are words of advice from Ms. Cross: “Company engagement starts at the top. I would encourage others to get their CEO and other upper level management involved. This can set the tone for a volunteer initiative. Align your efforts with your company mission or focus. If possible, form a volunteer committee or identify key players in the organization that can assist you when executing the initiatives you would like to engage employees in. Use as many communication vehicles as possible to get the word out to employees. Identify a form of measurement so you can tie the results of your efforts back to the business.”
And if you need a partner in service to make things go smoothly, call us at Chicago Cares! We’ve been helping companies make a difference in Chicago for 20 years.
Written by Stacey Rago
Senior Officer, Corporate RelationsRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Volunteer leaders assemble in a conference room for training. They are excited to be there. The firm has approved their project, and in a few months time, their peers will load buses on their way to make the project they planned a reality for an organization they love. Others will attend projects planned by Chicago Cares both on site at the firm, but also across the city. The partnership means that not only does critical work get completed in the community, but through Chicago Cares, Deloitte associates learn how to build a project for an organization whose mission they themselves are passionate about.
That passion does not die out when the last bus of volunteers arrives back at the doors of the corporate office. The passion lives on, as does the service that they seeded in their colleagues that day.
Companies like Deloitte do not do corporate service as part of a marketing plan. Deloitte does Impact Day because the firm believes in service, and knows that commitment to strengthening communities strengthens their business. Deloitte knows that investing in high school students now is an investment in their future associates as well as the community they live and raise their own family in, which is why their Corporate Social Responsibility goals focus on supporting education and decreasing dropout rates.
Deloitte is just one company of many that have committed to sweat equity in the community.
Business is in the business of business. They are not in the business of philanthropy. They do not exist to solve society’s problems. And yet, many companies show up.
Many companies show up to serve and to support their communities. Many companies have Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives or foundations. Many companies are thoughtful about how they impact the world and how it feels as a person to work for an organization that invests in their community.
And many community organizations need their help to achieve their mission goals.
NCVS was an example of this. Toyota sponsored a volunteer business track at the conference. They had their logo on a few things, a car in the exhibition hall, and a chance to speak about how they engage their communities using what they know as a corporation that is both innovative and also efficient. While being a sponsor of the business track has some marketing perks, they probably won’t sell a lot more cars because of it.
So why say yes? Toyota was excited to stand on stage in front of their peers to talk about how they helped a non-profit streamline their production using proven Toyota processes so that families on the Gulf were in their new homes after 6 weeks instead of 6 months. THAT is meaningful impact.
Toyota was excited about what they had discovered and wanted the chance to share. They wanted other companies to see what they see, to learn what they learned.
It reframed for me, as an experienced non-profit professional, what a company could contribute to my organization, especially when paired with what I know about the community and the needs I see every single day. The partnership between the Non-Profit and a Corporation brings together the best of each to make the communities we share stronger.
The Chase Seeds For Change project at conference resulted in 500 garden kits that will go to 95 different schools who currently have gardens or garden space but no shovels, no seeds, no way to engage the students in using the garden as a learning tool. Now those schools have that resource. Three of those schools received gardens on their grounds because Seeds For Change volunteers built them.
Chicago Cares could not afford to pay for a single kit, a single seed, a single trowel, a single bag of soil, a single plant for Schmid Elementary School without Chase underwriting the Seeds For Change project.
It is easy these days to cast Corporations in the role of villain. It is easy to sit and type out an angry post about how marketing has gone too far. It is easy to say that companies are in it for themselves. Admit that it is a little fun to cast yourself as the David to their Goliath and to say that all funding should be purely altruistic.
But the rest of us live in the real world, with real need, and real responsibilities and very real bills to pay. When mission meets interest of a corporate funder, it would be bad business to turn away that dollar because promoting the brand through a marketing initiative makes their motives for service not pure enough for you.
As companies evolve their corporate social responsibility programs to meet business needs, non-profits can be there to marry those interests with the needs we see in the community; in fact, it is our responsibility to do so.
Today’s post is by Kris Smart, Chicago Cares Vice President of ProgramsRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Last week, an excited group of students stood on the freshly painted sidelines of their new soccer field. As they patiently waited for the ribbon cutting ceremony to begin, you could almost see the plans that they had for this expansive play area, a safe refuge in an often difficult neighborhood.
Columbia Explorers Academy is one of the jewels of the Brighton Park community. Columbia serves nearly one thousand students, pre-K through eighth grade. Around 97% of the students are Hispanic and nearly one-third are English Language Learners; just under 10% receive services for special education. Over 98% of the students are considered low-income. Despite these demographics, Columbia Explorers Academy has made huge strides toward success in the ten years it has been in operation.
Under the leadership of Principal Barrera, test scores have steadily risen and the school has become the preeminent location for Brighton Park families to send their children. Student awards pile up by the month, including a recent victory in a rain barrel design contest, multiple selections for the Do the Write Thing anti-violence writing project, and ticket art contest winners in an event held by the Kerry Wood Foundation. They have a renowned track team, winning the city championship five times in their ten-year history. They also partner with the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago White Sox for health programs and a Fatherhood essay contest, respectively.
Columbia must overcome daily challenges to maintain its success. Gang activity is prevalent and students – particularly older students – are pressured to participate. Because nearly all their students are low-income, the school works hard to provide them with the resources they need to be successful. It is the motivation for a safe and nurturing space that drives Principal Barrera and his staff to go the extra mile for their students. “This is an oasis,” says Mr. Barrera of the school property.
In July, during the hottest days of this sweltering Chicago summer, volunteers from Crown Imports spent two days working to create a community park for students at Columbia. They sealed crumbling pavement with fresh, smooth black top, painted line games and a much-anticipated soccer field, assembled new bleachers and created bright landscaping to welcome all members of the community to the park. In addition to all of the outdoor projects, Crown Imports volunteers also made aesthetic improvements with two mosaics, four canvas murals and five sports-themed silhouette wall murals.
Most of the students at Columbia Explorers Academy probably don’t comprehend what it took to make all of this happen. They can’t imagine the logistics that went into the planning, they don’t know what it’s like to seal black top in 100+ degree heat. These students aren’t aware that Crown Imports had to make a choice as to whether or not it was worth spending their time and money investing in the community.
All these students know is that this year, they have a fun, new place to play. A place that was created just for them by adults they don’t even know. A physical reminder that there are people in this city who care about them, who want them to be successful and believe that they are worth investing in. And in the end, isn’t that all they need to know?
To find out how your company can make a difference in Chicago, visit our Corporate Volunteer Programs page.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
“Is Volunteering the Emperor’s New Clothes,” was a title that we could not resist when visiting Realized Worth on Wednesday morning. In her Hot Topic article, Susan Ellis wonders what, if anything was really accomplished at the 2012 National Conference on Volunteering and Service (NCVS). Concerned about the role of corporate sponsorship on service, Ms. Ellis asks, “Why is volunteerism up for sale and up for grabs like summer’s most popular fashion?”
In 2011, Chicago Cares engaged nearly 14,000 corporate employees in service to our city. At the 2012 National Conference on Volunteering and Service, we worked with Points of Light and Chase to create the Seeds for Change project models that Ms. Ellis calls into question. We’ve taken a few points directly from the article to share some of our thoughts with nonprofits and corporations.
For Our Corporate Partners:
Cause Marketing is NOT volunteering
“It’s good news that high-ranking people are talking about volunteering in all sorts of public forums. The bad news, however, is that each corporation and national organization wants to ‘wear’ volunteerism…for only a moment.”
The vast majority of examples provided in Ms. Ellis’ article are focused on cause marketing, not on actual corporate service.
We will be the first to agree that cause marketing and “Dollars for Doers” types of programs are not ideal for the corporation, the nonprofit or the volunteer. As Realized Worth has already discussed, corporations trying to incentivize service face dwindling employee engagement and minimal measurable impact. Our research has shown that people who volunteer through these types of marketing programs generally don’t return to serve again, which results in sporadic support for the nonprofit.
Philanthropy is not a single act, it is a way of life. Volunteers serve because they have a personal connection to the cause or community they are serving, they don’t come for a cup of coffee. Nonprofits that recruit and train volunteers must embrace this responsibility and provide corporations the expertise to create successful and meaningful service opportunities.
Unfortunately, for many nonprofits, the time and effort needed to build and maintain high-impact volunteer programming remains a struggle due to tight budgets and employees already spread too thin by more pressing needs. This is why organizations like Chicago Cares and other HandsOn affiliates are so important. If a company really wants to make a difference, we can ensure that their actions translate into impact, balancing the interests of the company with the needs of the nonprofit organization. We are already in the community, managing ongoing relationships with organizations, listening to their needs and responding with appropriate project planning, supplies, logistics and curriculum that can best meet those needs.
Real Corporate Service is alive and well…and making an impact!
“Maybe it’s because service is an easy platform for corporations and institutions to gain a halo effect merely by stating a commitment to community involvement – with no risk of being held to promises made or even having to report back any activity at all.”
Every year we work with hundreds of companies of all sorts and sizes. Whether it’s an international conglomerate or a local business, the reason they return year after year has little to do with getting good press. They come back because they appreciate the opportunity to do hands-on work at local schools and social service agencies, they discover their employees are happier and more engaged when they learn to work together through volunteering and they’re inspired by what they can achieve outside of their day-to-day business goals.
The unique benefit that corporate volunteers offer through service is the ability to provide substantial budget relief to local service agencies which allows those organizations to focus their efforts on achieving their mission goals. In the words of Ms. Ellis, “examples abound.”
- Over the course of a single month, Discover’s BT Division was able to mobilize enough volunteers to repaint every client’s bedroom at Little City, a project that would have taken years for the organization to accomplish on their own. Because of Discover’s financial investment, those volunteers also constructed a “Safety Town,” where the Little City community can practice safe behaviors in a controlled environment, creating a greater sense of independence for residents.
- When our partners at the American Indian Center were awarded a grant from the Chicago Blackhawks to build an auditorium for their students, the staff was overwhelmed at the prospect of removing decades of stored items from their third floor space. Hyatt was able to provide enough volunteers to completely clean out the space in a single day, allowing the staff at the American Indian Center to utilize their grant funds more quickly.
- What started as a painting project at a Southside school for Grosvenor employees a few years ago, has grown into a unique relationship between the company and the school. Grosvenor employees continue to help with facilities improvements but they have also started tutoring programs, job skills training, sports camps and museum field trips at a school where over 99% of the students live at or below the poverty level.
Companies are doing more than coming up with slogans, through Corporate Volunteer Programs they are making a real difference in the lives of thousands of Chicagoans.
To Our Nonprofit Community:
If you aren’t reporting, you’re doing it wrong.
“Shouldn’t high profile volunteer promotions be held accountable by someone?”
YES. At Chicago Cares we know that reporting is key to ensuring a quality experience for the volunteer and a lasting impact for the community. Before a project can even begin, it is imperative to have information on the actual needs of the community and an understanding of the obstacles that your project will face. Throughout the entire life cycle of the service initiative, organizations must be keeping track of basic metrics like volunteer show rates, projects completed and cost analysis. Surveys need to be collected that measure the personal experience of the volunteer and the impact perceived by the community. We must include long-range data that asks questions like, “Did the volunteer return, why or why not?” and “Is there any measurable improvement in the community, why or why not?”
Take, for instance, the Seeds for Change program sponsored by Chase which was a central campaign at NCVS this year. We love to share the impact that volunteers had at the hands-on projects which served 3 under-resourced schools in Chicago. At Schmid Elementary in the Pullman neighborhood, volunteers built a learning garden that is part of the principal’s push to encourage healthy living and introduce her students to fresh foods that aren’t always available in this food desert. We started this project by sitting down with the principal and outlining her vision for the school. The community need always comes first.
Thanks to Chase’s support, conference participants had the opportunity to spend the morning volunteering at CPS schools in located in food deserts. Back at the conference center, thousands more helped build garden kits that will be delivered to almost 100 schools so that they can finally use their gardens as learning tools.
We measure the impact of these projects in several ways, including: what was accomplished, how many students will benefit, what will volunteers take away from this experience? We use this data to help improve our programs, to communicate impact to our corporate partners, and to share with the community we are serving. We believe measuring impact is critical to an effective volunteer project, whether volunteers are from community groups or corporations.
We can’t speak to what sort of data was provided to most of the companies that Ms. Ellis mentions in her article. However, if a company is not being provided with accurate and informed reporting after their service initiatives are complete, they need to find a new partner.
Be better than the hype
“…if our goal in the volunteer community is to increase and sustain volunteering over time, promotional campaigns must go beyond hoopla to legitimacy.”
We believe that if the volunteer community wants to increase and sustain volunteering over time, they need to stop focusing on finding the next promotional campaign and start focusing on quality volunteer experiences.
Real volunteers, the people who will become invested in the community and continue to serve, aren’t there to receive a prize, they’re there to make a difference. Whether a volunteer is walking into a project for the first time or the 100th time, it is our responsibility to make sure that when they leave, they know that their time was well-spent. Of course, there are times when we fail but it is exactly those failed experiences that allow us to collaborate with volunteers and partners in finding innovative ways to improve upon the work that we’re doing.
By relying on national ad campaigns to bring volunteers through our doors, we’re selling ourselves and our community short. In a recent survey, nearly all of our volunteer respondents mentioned how much personal fulfillment they receive by donating their time. Being an active part of building stronger communities is a truly transformational experience and that is the story that volunteer service organizations need to do a better job of telling.
If you really don’t believe that the act of giving your time in service to help others is far more powerful than a trip to a theme park or a coupon for free gas, than you are in the wrong business.
So What Do We Do Now?
“There is nothing wrong – and actually quite a bit of good – in many voices repeating the invitation to get involved.”
If you’re a company, don’t settle for a mediocre volunteer program. Chicago Cares, or other volunteer service organizations like us can help you meet your goals in a way that will have a deep impact on you and your community. If you aren’t receiving adequate reporting, start asking for it. If you aren’t being given a quality experience, find a better option. You have the power and the capacity to create a lasting impact in your community, so make sure you’re partnering with people who can help you make it happen.
If you’re a nonprofit organization, take charge. It doesn’t take a lot of money to tell a volunteer’s story or to research the ways that your organization is reaching your community. Improving your volunteer programs can often start with something as simple as running a quick survey to get ideas from the people who are supporting your work through service on a regular basis. Learn from their comments and don’t be afraid to try new things. Every school and agency has a story to tell. If it seems too overwhelming, then find a HandsOn Affiliate to help you recruit and organize volunteers for your programs. Don’t wait for a corporation to inspire your volunteers to serve, go out and do it yourself!
For all of us, the most important thing that we can do is serve. Serve without cynicism. Serve with awe at what we can accomplish when we all work together.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
Meet Toyia Hemingway, your Chicago Cares Leader of the Month for July! Toyia works in sales for Moneris Solutions and has been a volunteer leader with Chicago Cares since last year, taking part in Corporate Volunteer Programs and Annual Events. We are proud to have Toyia as our July Leader of the Month.
Chicago Cares: Toyia, can you share with us how long you have been volunteering with Chicago Cares and what project you lead?
Toyia: I am not currently leading a project. I took the leader training last year and my first project was at Lambs Farm. It was so enjoyable that I wanted to do more. (Note: Toyia was most recently a leader for Serve-a-thon)
Chicago Cares: It is wonderful that you are so excited about the communities you volunteer in! What has been your motivation for your commitment to volunteering and leadership?
Toyia: I volunteer because I enjoy it. Chicago is a great city, yet some of our population needs help. None of us can do it all but if we each give back just a little, we can work to make things a better for everyone. I believe that if I can do my part, it will be a start.
Chicago Cares: What has been your favorite project to lead?
Toyia: Lambs Farm, because it was a challenge. It was very physical work on a hot day but it was exhilarating to see the results of our efforts at the end of the day.
Chicago Cares: What advice would you share with others who are interested in becoming a Corporate Volunteer Programs leader?
Toyia: Before the day of the event, become as informed as possible about your project. Read everything, ask questions and become very comfortable with your Chicago Cares Staff member. Once you get on site, talk to the site contacts. Let them get to know you and to become comfortable with you. You are there to help them but you are working with them for a common goal. If you are the project leader, you will need to be comfortable with all aspects of the project and your volunteer leaders. You will be the “go to” person so be as prepared as you can be. You will have a long day but your team will be as enthusiastic as you are, so be sure to set the right tone. Everyone will have fun if you are having fun!
Congratulations to Toyia for being July’s Leader of the Month!
If you are interested in learning more about being a leader with our Corporate Volunteer Programs like Toyia, contact Kim Thomas or call 312.780.0800 ext. 125.
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“…every anniversary of this tragic day, we will remember. But, we will do more than that – at our best, our nation addresses challenges and tragedy not with a negative response, but with compassion, generosity and action.”
Chief Executive Officer, Points of Light Institute
While September 11, certainly doesn’t share the festive nature of the Fourth of July, it’s difficult to think of one without recalling the other; each event forever altering the course of the United States.
This year, Chicago Cares is choosing to commemorate September 11, with a Day of Service and Remembrance. This intimate event is designed to provide corporate volunteers the opportunity to step away from their usual work day and pay tribute to the victims, heroes, and all those who rose in service in response to the terrorist attacks that changed our nation.
The 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance is a deeply community-focused event and will help meet critical needs in Chicago’s West Humboldt Park neighborhood. By engaging in volunteer service to our neighbors, we rekindle the spirit of unity that strengthened our nation during that dark time.
Volunteers will begin the day with an Opening Tribute at the Garfield Park Conservatory, featuring stories of remembrance as well as structured moments of silence in memory of those who lost their lives and to honor all those who continue to feel the impact of the events of 9/11.
Following the Opening Tribute, volunteers will get to know this diverse neighborhood as they walk to their project site. Working with a variety of community agencies and schools in the area, we will provide a wide array of interactive volunteer opportunities with residents of West Humboldt Park. The event will come to a close as we continue to celebrate the spirit of community with a neighborhood picnic lunch.
The 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance is a unique event, specifically designed to take volunteers on a journey from remembrance to hope as we honor the past, look forward to the future and embrace the spirit of unity that defines our nation.
If you would like to find out more about how your company can participate in the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance, please contact Liz Allen at 312.780.0800 ext. 147.
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Nonprofit agencies and schools throughout Chicago need help from socially responsible corporate partners. Unfortunately, many of these nonprofits don’t have the staff, resources or the experience to coordinate a customized volunteer event to meet their needs. At Chicago Cares, we are volunteer activation experts, we’ve been building volunteer opportunities since 1991, mobilizing more than 34,000 volunteers each year.
Our ongoing presence in the community allows Chicago Cares to identify real needs in the neighborhoods we serve and ensures that the projects we create deliver a sustainable impact. Partnering with Chicago Cares provides companies the expertise necessary for a volunteer event that will leave a true impact in the community.
Through our Corporate Volunteer Program, Chicago Cares fully develops and coordinates all aspects of a volunteer project, from the logistics of getting to and from a project site, to making sure volunteers are fed, trained and supplied with everything needed to complete a successful project, including:
- A Completely Customized Event: Whether your objective is to strengthen your team internally, build your brand awareness externally, or meet corporate social responsibility goals; Chicago Cares will create a service event to satisfy your unique needs.
- Professional Account Management: We will provide a formal project description that includes a timeline, task descriptions and information about the neighborhood and agency you will be serving.
- Easy Volunteer Registration: Chicago Cares will create a registration website tailored to meet your needs. We’ll keep you informed with real-time registration updates and share useful recruiting tips to engage your staff. Please note: We request that volunteer registration officially close one full week before your service event.
- Volunteer Leader Training: For projects of 150 volunteers or more, Chicago Cares provides leadership training for your chosen volunteers. This is an opportunity to give your corporate rising stars additional instruction on people skills and project management, allowing executives in attendance to see their strengths put into action on your day of service.
- Event Oversight: Chicago Cares handles all aspects of your day of service; all you have to do is share the event information with your co-workers, encouraging them to register as volunteers or leaders.
- Post Event Reporting: Chicago Cares conducts comprehensive post-event evaluation reporting to reflect impact data and collect feedback from community partners, volunteers and leaders.
Through service, your employees will learn more about the challenges facing our city. They will gain a new appreciation for the needs of individual communities and discover the positive impact that each of us can make when we volunteer our time.
Contact Megan at 312.780.0800 ext. 153 to find out more about Chicago Cares Corporate Volunteer Programs.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
This year, Chicago Cares has had the opportunity to partner with Mercy Housing in many incredible ways: we started two new ongoing children’s programs, hosted Cbeyond for a corporate volunteer event, and facilitated the World’s Fair activities for Celebration of Service.
A few weeks ago, corporate volunteers from Cbeyond committed their afternoon to Mercy Housing, providing hours of work in the community garden. Volunteers worked in the warm spring sun to build two new planter beds, clean out existing beds and prepare the garden for their amazing community garden.
During summer months, students and residents tend to the garden, selling much of the produce to neighbors and local businesses. In addition to the hours of help provided by Cbeyond volunteers, “Mercy Housing saved more than $2000 in mulch and other garden supplies; money that can now be spent on more books and school supplies for the 30 students participating in after-school programs at the site,” said Resident Services Manager Whitney Nash. Cbeyond will return to Mercy Housing in October, working to improve the community center where the after-school programs meet.
Cbeyond volunteers are just a few of many volunteers who’ve impacted the children at Mercy Housing this year. Individual volunteers spent every Thursday evenings at Read-with-Me and Kids Create, reading books and creating unique art projects with the after-school students at Mercy Housing.
Volunteers logged more than 160 hours of enrichment to the children, providing encouragement, support, and individual attention that the children so deserve. Because of these programs, staff members at Mercy Housing are able to focus their after-school classes on reading, writing, and math skills knowing that the art component was covered by Chicago Cares.
While our ongoing school programs ended on May 31st, volunteers have the opportunity to attend Garden Explorers at Mercy Housing this summer, where they’ll help the students tend the garden and then participate in a garden-related activity.
We hope you’ll come see for yourself how great our partnership is with Mercy Housing this summer or fall!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Last week we celebrated National Volunteer Week by taking time each day to thank the tens of thousands of you who help make our work possible.
Whether you volunteer through your company, lead an ongoing project, give a monthly donation, or all of the above; we appreciate all you do for Chicago Cares!
Many departments throughout Chicago Cares took time to create these fun projects, each bringing their own message and unique brand of creativity. Whether you missed a day or just need a good reason to smile, here’s a look back at our celebration of National Volunteer Week.
- Monday: Thank You, Annual Event Volunteers
- Tuesday: Thank You, Corporate Volunteers
- Wednesday: Thank You, Education Volunteers
- Thursday: Thank You, Donors
- Friday: Cheers to Chicago’s Best AND Thank You, Human Services and Environment Volunteers
- Saturday: Thank You, Youth in Service Volunteers
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