The Power of Employee Giving and Communities Working Together When Natural Disasters Strike

The Power of Employee Giving and Communities Working Together When Natural Disasters Strike

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Thursday, February 25, 2016 - 12:15pm

CAMPAIGN: Connecting Business to Cause


Just one week after community organizations joined together through a day of national service and volunteering to honor the legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Winter Storm Jonas pounded the East Coast with historic snow records and as a result, Tae Min found himself spending the night at Miriam’s Kitchen.

Housed in the basement of Western Presbyterian Church, America’s Charities member Miriam’s Kitchen is a nonprofit working to end chronic (long-term) homelessness in our nation’s capital.  This year, among other support programs, Miriam’s Kitchen will provide 70,000 healthy meals and high-quality social services to an estimated 4,000 homeless individuals.

Tae isn’t homeless though.  He is a Miriam’s Kitchen chef who wanted to ensure the nonprofit would be open for business as usual – even when the rest of the city would be completely shut down for days.  

During its entire 33 years of operations, Miriam’s Kitchen has never had any interruptions in providing services.

Two things have contributed to this accomplishment:

  1.  Passionate and engaged employees
  2.  Community support

Aligning Community Support with Nonprofit Needs

When natural disasters and inclement weather like Winter Storm Jonas shut down entire cities, an outpouring of support in the form of financial donations and disaster relief supply drives from people far and wide never fails to follow.

That type of community support plays an integral role in helping organizations like Miriam’s Kitchen fulfill their mission, but there is another vital component that is often overlooked: existing, sustainable support from donors and community partners.

Having dedicated employees is a key part of Miriam’s Kitchen’s success, but those employees wouldn’t be able to accomplish their work without reliable access to essential resources like food to serve their guests, or things like heat, electricity, and shelter which they need in order to operate. That’s where sustainable, unrestricted funds from workplace giving programs and support from strategic partners play a tremendous role.

Employee giving and strategic partnerships empower nonprofits to have an immediate, effective, and lasting response.  Resources that flow-in after a disaster strikes strengthen that response, as long as those resources match the nonprofits’ needs.

What nonprofits need most, especially when it comes to disaster relief, are cash donations and large quantities of needed, organized goods. Often (despite their best intentions), in-kind support donated by individuals does not align with the actual needs of the nonprofit and those they’re helping. 

By empowering employees to support the community through organized workplace giving and disaster relief campaigns, and forming strategic partnerships with nonprofits based on their needs and in-kind support your company naturally has to offer, businesses are an indispensable conduit for providing nonprofits much-needed resources – in times of crises AND all year-long. 

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