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More Than 2,000 Atlantans Answer Volunteer Challenge

Submitted by: UPS

Categories: Philanthropy & Corporate Contributions

Posted: Aug 27, 2003 – 12:00 AM EST


Multi-Year Program Launched as 90-Day Challenge Culminates in Morning of Service

Aug. 27 /CSRwire/ - ATLANTA, GA--More than 2,000 metro Atlanta employees have volunteered nearly 3,400 hours of their time in the past 90 days to meet the needs of the Atlanta community and to launch a multi-year volunteer campaign, organizers of the Business Strengthening Atlanta (BSA-Atlanta) announced today.

The announcement was one of the highlights of a morning service project, which concluded the 90-Day Service Challenge that began May 15 to promote employee volunteerism and celebrate the spirit of volunteerism and service in Atlanta.

BSA-Atlanta is a multi-year campaign to encourage businesses to increase civic engagement and employee volunteerism in metro Atlanta. BSA-Atlanta is part of Business Strengthening America (BSA), the business community's nationwide effort to engage at least 1,000 businesses around the country in new or expanded efforts to support volunteer service over the next three years in response to President George W. Bush's Call to Service.

"In May, BSA-Atlanta urged companies to meet the 90-Day Service Challenge by encouraging their employees to engage in additional volunteer service hours. Today, we see the measurable impact of the collaboration between Atlanta companies and community organizations thanks to the thousands of Atlantans who responded to the service challenge," said Mike Eskew, chairman and CEO of UPS, one of the charter members of BSA and BSA-Atlanta. "This project is a continuation of a long-term commitment by Atlanta companies to volunteer and give back to our community."

The day of service, co-sponsored by Hands On Atlanta, was held at KIPP West Atlanta Young Scholars (WAYS) Academy, an Atlanta Charter School in the West End neighborhood. More than 150 volunteers worked to rehabilitate the 75 year-old school for the students, teachers and the community. Improvements to the school and surrounding property include new reading lofts, an outdoor amphitheater, basketball courts, a computer lab and a garden.

"As a representative of the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation, I want to recognize the efforts by the Atlanta business and non-profit communities in today's event," said Michelle Nunn, executive director of Hands On Atlanta. "Their generous outpouring of volunteer time and service has made a significant contribution toward transforming this school into a safe and inspiring learning environment for students and the community."
BSA-Atlanta began in May with UPS, The Home Depot and BellSouth as founding members. Eighteen companies have joined since, providing volunteers for projects ranging from tutoring and reading to children to building homes for low-income families.

Some examples:

  • BellSouth and Georgia Tech are developing a pilot program to improve mathematics test scores for grades four through eight in the Atlanta Public School (APS) System. Forty BellSouth volunteers are developing and implementing a program curriculum that relates to real-life or business situations and are working with teachers to develop plans to engage parents in the program.
  • Fifteen volunteers from Benevolink partnered with Housecalls, a local nonprofit that works with volunteers, homeowners and contributors to improve living conditions in lower-income housing regions around Atlanta.
  • On July 22, 150 metro Atlanta UPS employees participated in a day of service through the company's Neighbor-to-Neighbor program. The UPS volunteers spent several hours reading with young children at Sheltering Arms child care centers and Boys & Girls Clubs.
  • This summer, more than 350 BellSouth and The Home Depot volunteers are working with Atlanta Habitat for Humanity to create a "Community of Dreams" in Atlanta. The Home Depot and BellSouth volunteers are building three new Habitat homes for qualified low-income families in the historic South Atlanta area.
"Benevolink offers companies a way to have a greater impact in their communities through corporate giving. Joining an initiative such as BSA-Atlanta allows a small company such as ours to have an even greater effect in our own community," said Tunstall Rushton, CEO of Benevolink. "It has opened our eyes to the importance of the 'hands-on' side of philanthropy and allowed us to be part of a combined effort which yields significant and tangible results."

About Business Strengthening America
The Business Strengthening America initiative is a response to the president's 2002 State of the Union Call to Service, in which he asked every American to give at least two years over the course of their lives in service to others. BSA was launched in December 2002, after a group of 18 CEOs met with President Bush at the White House to outline their efforts to engage businesses in effecting change to corporate practices and policies that support expanded volunteer service. During the last six months, BSA has grown its membership to more than 550 companies and business organizations representing more than three million employees.

About Hands On Atlanta
Hands On Atlanta is a non-profit organization that helps individuals, families and corporate and community groups find flexible volunteer opportunities at more than 400 service organizations and schools. Hands On Atlanta volunteers, now 25,000 strong, are at work every day of the year building community and meeting critical needs in schools, parks, senior homes, food banks, pet shelters, low-income neighborhoods and more. Hands On Atlanta is an affiliate of CityCares, an umbrella association of "Cares" and "Hands On" organizations across the United States, U.K. and other countries.

For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Silberman APCO Worldwide
Phone: (202) 778-1476
Malcolm Berkley UPS
Phone: (404) 828-6159

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