Discover CVPEach 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 Relations