Twin Cities Businesses Help Communities and Increase Morale with Work-For-Free Programs


Twin Cities Businesses Help Communities and Increase Morale with Work-For-Free Programs

Corporate trailblazers to be recognized by A Billion + Change at Nov. 16 event

BLOOMINGTON, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- From the latest micro-volunteering strategies to leveraging the technical expertise of food industry giants, companies in the Twin Cities and across the country are redefining the future of corporate service through pro bono volunteering. On Nov. 16, A Billion + Change will recognize Twin Cities businesses leading social change through pro bono service at a breakfast and panel discussion at the Mall of America.

This breakfast will spotlight the innovative ways companies are giving back to their communities at the start of the giving season, and will build on the momentum of A Billion + Change's national campaign to mobilize billions in pro bono service from businesses across the country. The breakfast will be held from 7:45 to 8:30 a.m. in the Great Room at the Mall of America, and will feature a thought-provoking panel discussion with:

  • Kate Rubin, Vice President of Social Responsibility for UnitedHealth Group. United Health Group uses online micro-volunteering that enables its employees to contribute their professional skills to nonprofits by completing short assignments for nonprofits. More than 1,000 employees have volunteered this year, helping nearly 350 nonprofits in 17 countries.

  • Donna Svendsen, Associate Director of Community Action for General Mills, Inc. More than 300 General Mills employees have volunteered thousands of hours to lend technology and support to African farmers and food producers. By using big company food science and lending its professional expertise, General Mills has helped food producers, like SoyAfric, develop fortified and locally sourced food products for infants, seniors and people living with HIV/AIDS.

  • Katie Janowiak, Senior Specialist, Community Affairs at The Medtronic Foundation. The Medtronic Foundation has piloted a global skills-based employee volunteer program addressing diabetic caregiver awareness and gestational diabetes in India.

"Skills-based volunteering is a natural extension of our volunteering program," said Rubin. "The micro-volunteering model is an ideal forum for busy people to plug into nonprofit projects and provide valuable insight and impact; feedback from employees has been nothing short of inspirational."

"It was a mind-blowing, hair on fire, sleep-when-I'm-dead experience. The people we've worked with are incredible, the need is unimaginable, the experience indelible," said Lane Desborough, who participated in Medtronic's pilot volunteer project in Chennai, India.

The Mall of America event, organized by A Billion + Change, UnitedHealth Group and HandsOn Twin Cities with sponsorship support from Corporate Volunteerism Council-Twin Cities, is the latest in a series of events highlighting pro bono change-makers across the nation. Since November 2011, more than 250 companies have pledged $1.9 billion worth of pro bono services to help build nonprofit capacity as part of A Billion + Change.

"By investing in skills-based volunteering, the business community can make a big impact on social issues critical to our country's economic recovery and overall well-being," said Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light, which houses and manages A Billion + Change. "Skills-based volunteering is central to our ability to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world."

For nonprofits, the value of skilled support in areas such as general operations, technology and professional services can be 500 percent greater than the value of traditional volunteering, according to True Impact, which helps organizations measure the social and business impact of their operations. Skills-based volunteering programs are also valuable talent management tools that help businesses attract and retain talent, especially as skilled volunteers are 47 percent more likely to report higher satisfaction from their service than traditional volunteers.

To learn more about A Billion + Change and to see a list of companies that have pledged, please visit:

About A Billion + Change
A Billion + Change is a national campaign to mobilize billions of dollars of pro bono and skills-based volunteer services by 2013. It was launched by the Corporation for National and Community Service in 2008 and continues as an initiative of the federal agency. Reinvigorated in 2011 with expanded leadership under the honorary chairmanship of Senator Mark Warner, it is now housed and managed by Points of Light. The initiative is powered by the support of Deloitte, HP, the Case Foundation and IBM with additional founding support from State Farm, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP and Morgan Stanley. Learn more at:

A Billion + Change
Yvonne Siu
Cell: 1-202-494-9060

KEYWORDS: United States North America Minnesota


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