At Avery Dennison, our business has evolved dramatically since it started in Los Angeles more than eight decades ago. Today, we’re a global company employing more than 25,000 people worldwide. A number of our business leaders live abroad. Employees based at our Glendale headquarters spend much of their time working on the other side of the globe. And arrangements once unheard of, like employees working from home, are now common. As a result of these changes, the number of people regularly present at our headquarters has changed over time.
As our company has changed, so has employee giving. With a more distributed employee base, and with more nonprofits competing for employees’ dollars, it is challenging to hold an annual United Way campaign the way we and other companies once did like clockwork. But we haven’t let that get in the way of our support. Giving to United Way of Greater Los Angeles is a tradition Avery Dennison has proudly maintained for 30-plus years. The only difference is that, these days, we’re more creative about it.
For example, we now engage employees by arranging volunteer opportunities with organizations funded by United Way of Greater Los Angeles. Today’s workers—particularly Millennials—prefer hands-on giving experiences. They want to know where their gifts are going and how they make a difference. So in recent years, we’ve connected employee volunteers with organizations such as Boys and Girls Clubs, where Avery Dennison teams have tutored kids, worked in gardens, and deep-cleaned facilities. We’ve seen that when employees volunteer with an agency funded by United Way of Greater Los Angeles, they better understand United Way’s role in supporting local nonprofits and the impact that has on the community. For first-time volunteers, especially, encountering need in communities can be powerful. A number of our employees have engaged more deeply with United Way as a result.
We’ve found other new ways to support United Way as well.
When we discovered a trove of office art that had been put in storage, we auctioned it off among our employees and donated the more than $10,000 in proceeds to United Way of Greater Los Angeles. Similarly, when we sold some corporate assets, we earmarked funds—some $20,000—for United Way.
Another way we give is to routinely donate our corporate suite at Staples Center to United Way of Greater Los Angeles and the agencies it funds. It’s gratifying to play a small part in boosting morale at nonprofits, where hours can be long and perks can be sparse.
Of course, many Avery Dennison employees still give enthusiastically through payroll deductions. We encourage every employee to join our United Way Leadership Circle by giving at least $1,000 annually.
Also, our corporate leaders continue to be involved with United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ board of directors, as they have been for many years. Currently, Lori Bondar, our controller and chief accounting officer, is a member of the board and its strategic planning cabinet.
We’re glad to maintain our long tradition of giving to United Way because we believe in United Way’s work and its record of results. Its objectives align with our own corporate social responsibility strategy, so lending our support is a natural fit. For example this fall, as in many prior, Avery Dennison will march with thousands of their fellow Angelenos as part of Homewalk, a march to raise money to end homelessness.
We also appreciate how United Way values its partners. Last year, United Way of Greater Los Angeles kindly honored me with its Outstanding Workplace Ambassador award in recognition of my efforts to organize support among Avery Dennison employees over the last six years. Anyone who works in corporate philanthropy knows that much of the job involves working alone, doing the the step-by-step work of reviewing grant applications and researching potential grantees. Organizing a United Way effort gives me an opportunity to rally employees and tap into the enthusiasm and inspiration that come from a team effort for a local cause. I’m grateful for the chance to do that, and was touched that United Way thought to acknowledge my work.
Avery Dennison’s involvement with United Way of Greater Los Angeles has evolved along with our company. But our commitment remains. Giving to the United Way of Greater Los Angeles allows us to support our community and accommodate our changing workforce by offering employees what they want—a way to make a difference, and a choice in how they do it.
To learn more about the Avery Dennison Foundation, please visit www.averydennison.com/foundation.
To learn more about United Way of Greater Los Angeles or to get involved in the community, please visit www.unitedwayla.org.
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