Baxter Employees Worldwide Share Time and Talents in Their Communities
Baxter strives to not only make a positive impact in the lives of the patients it serves, but also in the communities worldwide where it has a presence.
One way the company does this is by encouraging volunteerism. Employees around the globe find meaningful ways to contribute time, energy and compassion to local causes and organizations, and Baxter supports them in these efforts. Whether volunteering for a company-sponsored project or assisting other organizations and charities, Baxter employees take community service seriously—in 2013, employees volunteered more than 110,500 hours.
Baxter organizes volunteering events near its facilities around the world. During the company's Making a Meaningful Difference Month, employees in Asia Pacific give back to their communities throughout October. Throughout Baxter World Environment Week each June, employees worldwide engage in eco-friendly volunteer projects. Employees also have opportunities throughout the year to participate in company-organized activities such as building homes with Habitat for Humanity or volunteering to restore a local nature preserve.
Baxter has longstanding relationships with several organizations that make an impact worldwide, such as Junior Achievement (JA), a financial literacy education non-profit the company has supported since 2004. Baxter employees around the globe teach the basics of economics, business and life skills in kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms, and also give career-related presentations for Ask the Expert days. During the 2012-2013 school year, more than 360 Baxter volunteers from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Ireland, Mexico and the United States, including many of the company's senior leaders, spent over 3,000 hours teaching financial literacy to greater than 11,000 students through JA.
Walter Roach, director, strategy and planning, at Baxter's Round Lake, Illinois, facility, has volunteered with JA for more than five years, during which he's taught several different grade levels, delivered Ask the Expert talks in schools, and helped fundraise for the organization through bowl-a-thons and other events.
"I volunteer with JA because they provide structured opportunities to reach young people in schools and communities that are most in need," he explains. "I believe that I have a responsibility to invest in our young people to inspire them to dream and see what is possible outside of their current environment."
In addition to taking part in Baxter-organized efforts, many employees also support other local organizations and causes that are important to them through their own volunteer activities.
Deborah Bromley, environment, health and safety coordinator at Baxter's Northampton, England facility, has volunteered for the past 19 years for the local Scout Association. She's currently the deputy district commissioner for Northampton, and has held several different posts working with children and adults over the years. Through the Scout Association, Deborah has also had the opportunity to travel to Uganda to help build a classroom at a school the organization sponsors there.
"I have made lifelong friends and watched many children become fantastic adults in their communities," Deborah shares. "It gives me great happiness, whether I'm covered in glitter and glue when helping six-year-old beaver scouts make a craft or camping with scouts in the pouring rain, knee deep in mud. Young people inspire me; I'm happy to give them all the time they need."
In the Netherlands, sales, marketing and management assistant Petra Schreurs has also felt compelled to give back to young people. After following the efforts of Dutch foundation Stichting Naar School in Haiti for several years, she decided to take action herself. The foundation opened a new school location called Ecole Soleil de Hollande, with the goal to educate and provide food for roughly one thousand children every day, five days a week. Petra collected donations of school supplies and games and gave presentations at Dutch elementary schools in order to raise money to send to the foundation. She then travelled to Haiti herself, where she assisted teachers in the classroom, sang with the children and assisted with educational activities and sports. Petra's next plan is to raise money to buy instruments for the school's music class.
"The experience has enriched my life, and has given me a different outlook on my own way of living in comparison to the families I met, for whom everyday life is a struggle to survive." she says. "I cherish each and every smile on these children's faces."
Baxter provides employees with an online portal to record volunteer hours, as well as ways to maximize their contributions to these organizations.
With Baxter's Dollars for Doers program in the United States, employees can give grants to their organization of choice if they have actively volunteered there for at least 20 hours within a 12 month period. In 2013, Baxter provided $34,400 in Dollars for Doers grants in the U.S. In 2012, Baxter Canada introduced a Dollars for Doers program. To qualify, employees are required to volunteer a minimum of 16 hours through the year; a select number are then randomly chosen and given the opportunity to name their charity of choice to receive a grant. In 2013, Baxter Canada provided $25,000 in Dollars for Doers grants. Employees can also receive Matching Gifts for non-profit organizations that meet Baxter guidelines. The company matches employee donations of $25 or more, up to $5,000, to non-profit, tax-exempt U.S. hospitals and healthcare agencies, schools and cultural organizations.
Whether they're donating hours or funds, Baxter employees appreciate the extra support as they strive to make a difference in the world around them.
"I believe that every one of us has a gift to give, and it's a very simple gift—time," says Deborah. "Baxter recognizes how important being a volunteer is, and gives me the extra time to continue supporting young people and adults in my community."