By the end of February, Shields Legal Group’s community involvement team had come up with a formal mission statement, a new name for the firm’s community involvement program, and even a tag line. The month of March ushered in the process of starting to “put some meat on the bones” with respect to our mission’s three areas of focus:
- Sustaining the environment;
- Lending a helping hand through volunteer service; and
- Giving back through financial gifts.
The firm’s membership in EFNT has paid off with respect to our mission of “lending a helping hand.” Until we receive more feedback about our employees’ specific philanthropic interests, we decided to take full advantage of EFNT’s volunteer service offerings for at least the first year.
EFNT and its charitable organization partners arrange and organize volunteer events that take place each month, and EFNT’s member companies supply the volunteers. We appointed an EFNT “Engagement Captain” and we began to encourage employees to register for volunteer events, using Volunteer Time Off as necessary.
The first event in which our employees are participating as volunteers is EFNT’s Read-A-Thon taking place at 10 DISD schools on March 21st. The Honorable Anne Ashby (Ret.)(of Counsel for SLG), Caroline Ping (SLG Comptroller) and Kathryn Eriksen (SLG Marketing Director) enjoyed spending time with other volunteers and several 5th graders at Lorenzo De Zavala Elementary School.
Our environmental goals were also clarified through the SLG “Going Greener” initiative, which consists of two components:
- The SLG “Greener Office Policy,” and
- A list of “365 Every Day Ways to Go Greener at Home.”
The SLG Greener Office Policy consists of 50 measures toward a more sustainable office, including some measures that we were already practicing, some measures that we are implementing immediately, and some challenge measures to be implemented over time. The “365 Every Day Ways to Go Greener” list is intended as a challenge and reminder to our employees to take intentional action each day of the year to go greener at home.
With the greenest and luckiest day in March fast approaching, our team selected March 17th as the official roll-out of the “SLG Going Greener” initiative. The team encouraged everyone to wear green to the office (even supplying green t-shirts for those who were green-less), and had a green snack buffet, complete with green tea and assorted green foods! We shared our formal “green” policies and the inaugural issue of our IMPACT │365 newsletter electronically. We also announced a building-wide cell phone collection drive for April 2014. Donated cell phones will be given to an area middle school for a school fundraiser recycling project. That’s making an impact on multiple levels!
Thirteen months have passed since Jim Shields expressed his wish for the firm to start giving back in a bigger way. We began with essentially nothing but a heartfelt desire and Internet access. Gradually, we were able to put in place the framework from which to build a real community involvement program – one that is custom-made for our company because we are the ones designing it as we go. And along the way, without really realizing it, the four members of the firm’s community involvement team have spent a great deal of time volunteering together as co-workers on this project – something that each of us said we wanted out of a community involvement program when we completed our surveys.
It’s been quite a journey to get to where we are today. SLG and IMPACT │365 has barely gone live, and we have already made a tremendous difference in the lives of others. Who knows how many more we can help?