What Can You Do in a Day?
By Sara Link, Head of Oath for Good and President, Oath Foundation
This year, Oath hosted its inaugural global day of service, The Great Build. From resume assistance so resettled refugees could begin building new lives, to building homes through Habitat for Humanity, to building a support community for recently diagnosed breast cancer patients, more than 6,100 employees around the globe joined forces for a day to make the world a better place.
There were two key components that set this day apart. First, the 200 volunteer projects that took place in 81 global cities were created and led by employee champions from across the company. By tapping into the passions and causes that our people care about, and encouraging employees to step up to lead these efforts alongside our nonprofit partners, something incredible happened. The champions got their teams and colleagues to join in and were able to transform skills they use every day in their jobs to make an impact on hundreds of nonprofit organizations, serving millions of individuals around the world.
Another unique aspect was we invited our Board of Advisors—a diverse and talented group of innovative leaders with a track record of building successful brands—and their charity and nonprofit arms to be part of this incredible day. This included Serena Williams' Yetunde Price Resource Center in partnership with the Compton Unified School District, Russell Wilson and Ciara's Why Not You Foundation in Seattle, WA, Joey Logano's The Joey Logano Foundation, Carla Harris' support for A Better Chance, Abby Wambach's support for Together Rising Foundation, and Regina Wilson's support for Bronx Youth Empowerment. Oath employees helped each of these organizations pack backpacks for underserved kids across the U.S. as they head back to school this fall.
For me personally, this day was incredibly powerful.
I had a chance to visit a number of the volunteer sites, starting my day bright and early with the team in New York City's Washington Square Park. We weeded and picked up trash, doing our part to keep this little slice of green paradise a haven for the community while supporting The Washington Square Park Conservancy. I spoke with the Conservancy's director and she explained how the organization's aim is to raise awareness of the diverse and historical urban green space through engaging volunteers and raising funds that keep the park clean, safe, and beautiful. There was a drizzle of rain this particular morning, but that didn't stop our team of volunteers from buzzing with energy and excitement to spend a few hours working in grass and dirt instead of at their desks.
The next stop was The American Cancer Society Hope Lodge, a place that offers people receiving cancer treatments outside their home cities and their family members a free place to stay so they can focus on getting better. Hope Lodge provides a nurturing, home-like environment where guests can retreat to private rooms or connect with others. The Oath team purchased supplies and helped fix up the garden to provide a comfortable place for guests to retreat, spend time outdoors, and connect with friends and family. They also baked cookies for the guests and delivered blankets with messages of inspiration.
Back at the office, I stopped by a classroom where a group of 40 students from The Young Women's Leadership School were working one-on-one with members of the Oath team. Volunteers from our brands like Yahoo Sports, Yahoo News, Yahoo Finance, RYOT studios, and Yahoo Lifestyle were conducting workshops in video production, immersive storytelling, and social media marketing—just to name a few. Watching these wide-eyed young women, some of whom hadn't been in Manhattan before, learning alongside each other and our brand teams took my breath away. It was both heartening and humbling.
Finally, I visited a project with Free Arts where employees were painting bags for students to use later on to carry their art home. Our employees channeled their creativity through paint brushes so students could see the power of using art as a weapon for self-discovery and self-expression.
There were a series of moments during the day where I looked around and was in awe of the movement a group of people can create by making a difference in the lives of others. The breadth of the organizations that Oath partnered with—as diverse as our employees—work every day to tackle some of the world's biggest challenges: inequality, poverty, resources for LGBTQ youth, education disparity, underserved kids, disaster relief, healthcare, animal welfare, services for the elderly—the list goes on. While we know these challenges sometimes seem insurmountable, let alone tackled in one day, 93% of our employees expressed a desire to continue working with the organizations they volunteered for that day. The Great Build lit a fire in people and showed them the power of giving back. It was a bold reminder that everyone has a cause that they want to fight for, and that none of these causes can be tackled alone.
This day built awareness and understanding of the challenges our communities face, provided a platform for our brands, talent, and partners to make an impact, and, finally, led to great connections across our teams.
I'm proud to be part of a company that is filled with empathy, compassion, and most importantly, a drive to leave the world better than we found it.