Washington, DC— Even during an economic slowdown, a growing number of major U.S. companies are investing money, supplies, and employee time to make a difference in their communities by supporting the 2010 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.
From sponsoring service projects to marshalling their employees as volunteers to offering financial support and expertise, businesses across the country are honoring Dr. King and helping further his dream by supporting the annual holiday as “a day on, not a day off.”
“More and more companies are seeing the King Day of Service as a powerful way to enrich their communities, energize their employees, and make a difference on issues they care about,” said Nicola Goren, Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “The growing corporate participation in King Day is part of a larger trend of pro bono service that is giving a welcome and much-needed boost to nonprofit and service groups across the country.”
Laysha Ward, who is president, community relations, Target and serves on the Corporation's Board of Directors, voiced the importance of business-based support for the MLK Day of Service. “As a strong supporter of Dr. Martin Luther King Day, Target believes in Dr. King's message of creating positive change, and finds value in his commitment to equality and community responsibility,” Ward said. “On this special day of remembrance, we are reminded and inspired to continue service to our communities and hope our ongoing support will also create a lasting impact for the greater good.”
The Corporation for National and Community Service, which leads the MLK Day of Service, is using the holiday to highlights its Billion + Change initiative, a three-year campaign to generate $1 billion of pro bono service to help nonprofits become more effective in meeting social and community needs. Launched in February of 2008, the campaign has already generated more than $400 million in pledges.
- Accenture employees will work on web strategy at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, and undertake simulation and testing activities for AidMatrix Online Food Bank and Warehouse Distribution System, to help the organization distribute goods and services more effectively.
- Allstate will mobilize its employees in Atlanta and in markets across the country as part of its “Give Back Day” events to further the commitment that Dr. King had to giving back to our communities with a wide range of projects.
- ARAMARK employees volunteering in Philadelphia will prepare 500 nutritious dinners forthe homeless, while ARAMARK culinary experts will provide cooking and nutrition education demos for 3,000 local residents.
- BET is making a company-wide call for its employees to volunteer on the King Holiday and is encouraging its viewers to serve by highlighting the day on 106& Park and its news programs. The company's CEO, Debra Lee, is serving as an MLK Day of Service Ambassador.
- Capital One employees will be serving with the company's nonprofit partners in Dallas, Texas, and McLean and Richmond, Va., in projects geared to helping students, homeless, and immigrant populations.
- Eli Lilly and Company is joining with the HandsOn Network on MLK Day to supply social service agencies whose stock of essential supplies—food and clothing—is depleted or facing a severe shortage due to the economic recession and the growing number of people seeking assistance.
- Home Depot associates from Rhode Island to Florida will be refurbishing schools, local shelters, and community centers. In Atlanta, Team Depot will be continuing the refurbishment of Spink Collins Park by removing invasive plants and rebuilding a boardwalk damaged during recent flooding. The Home Depot also joined with ServiceNation to give mini-grants for local environmental projects.
- Kaiser Permanente employees and physicians in California are providing health screenings during the San Gabriel Valley NAACP's Martin Luther King Day Informational Fair, while employees in Hawaii will support healthy eating and active living in local schools by planting sustainable crops.
- Motorola and the Motorola Foundation are partnering with Chicago Cares for the Celebration of Service on January 16. More than 4,000 volunteers, including Motorola employees, will paint, clean, and organize classrooms and community spaces in underserved Chicago Public Schools.
- MTV will premiere “The Buried Life,” a documentary series that follows as four friends travel across the country to pursue their wildest aspirations and work to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.The show's cast will spend MLK Day volunteering in Los Angeles. MTV is also connecting viewers to volunteer opportunities through Serve.MTV.com. "MTV is proud to use our platforms to help inspire our audience to take action on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day – an important national day of service," said Stephen Friedman, General Manager of MTV. "Young people have the desire and power to address many of our country's greatest needs, and we're committed to making it as easy as possible for them to find ways to volunteer on this day – and every day."
- Shell Oil Company offers employees paid time off from normal workday to volunteer in the corporate sponsored efforts, which include sorting and packing food at the Houston Food Bank and offering a day of activities for youth and seniors at a Houston neighborhood center. Shell is sponsoring the Corporation's MLK Day activities, including web support to help people across the country find volunteer opportunities.
- Target is sponsoring MLK Day service events in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Louisville, Minneapolis, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.
- Twitter featured the MLK Day of Service on its blog and official twitter stream with 2.8 million followers, and co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams tweeted their millions of followers, encouraging them to answer Dr. King's call to service.
- Walmart associates from several states, including Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee, will lead interactive projects at their local schools, including essay and mural contests.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service:
In 1994, Congress passed legislation encouraging Americans to observe the King Holiday as a national day of service that brings people together from different backgrounds to meet needs in their community. The Corporation for National and Community Service was designated as the lead federal agency to execute the King Day of Service. Participation has grown every year since its inception. The King Day of Service provides Americans the opportunity to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King through service to meet local and national needs. For more information, visit www.Serve.gov/MLKDay or http://www.mlkday.gov/.
The Corporation for National and Community Service:
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service each year through its core programs, Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America, and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information about the Corporation, visit NationalService.gov.