Working hand in hand to make a change
Over the 2015 holiday season, iSoftStone’s Kirkland office once again teamed up with the Make a Change foundation to support Hand in Hand, a local non-profit organization run by volunteers who work around the clock to provide a safe and warm environment for children entering or re-entering the foster care system in Washington State. The ask of Hand in Hand this year was simple: Help provide 100 children in the community with a “need” item, such as a winter coat, new clothes, or new shoes, and a “want” item such as a toy. In addition, they asked for any supplementary funds to help them host their annual community holiday party. Additional funds would also be used towards operating costs which total over $1.5 million per year to support the children who come to Hand in Hand.
Knowing that the money raised would go towards purchasing a gift for a child who might not otherwise receive anything over the holidays, we quickly established a fundraising goal of $10,000. With just under a month to collect the money, our timeline was tight. Once the money was collected, we would need to go out and purchase all of the items for the children before their holiday celebration. With this in mind, our team quickly got to work, launching the #FosteringHope campaign. Fundraising efforts included email blasts, social media campaigns, internal team challenges and matching, and culminated in a Sip & Give Happy Hour hosted by iSoftStone’s management team. To raise the stakes, President of iSoftStone Glenn Bowers agreed that if we were able to reach our goal of $10,000 he would participate in a Polar Plunge, jumping into Lake Washington. Naturally, this got employees excited, because who wouldn’t want to see their boss jump in the lake in the middle of winter?
After a packed house at our Sip & Give Happy Hour, we were ecstatic to discover we had exceeded our goal of $10,000, raising a total of $11,250. The generosity of our employees was overwhelming and we were so grateful. The best part came after the Sip & Give event. The following morning a team of 13 volunteer employees and Make a Change Foundation members met at a local Target with wish lists in hand. Any of the volunteers that morning shopping for the children’s “want” and “need” items would attest to the fact that it is one thing to donate money to a worthy cause, but it’s another thing entirely to actually see where your money is going. To pick out a pair of new shoes that a child will wear to school or a toy that a child has been wanting but been unable to afford. It’s invaluable.
After all the items had been purchased our team visited the Hand in Hand facility to physically drop off the gifts and a supplemental check with the remaining funds collected. The staff at Hand in Hand were beyond so appreciative for the support they had received.
And of course, last but certainly not least, Glenn Bowers upheld his end of the bargain. On December 14th, on a brisk but sunny 43 degree Kirkland afternoon Glenn took the plunge into Lake Washington with 50+ iSoftStone employees as his witness.