Giving Back: Walk A Mile For A Smile From 14th April - July 4th

Posted by Kurt Rakos on 4/11/14 9:33 AM
Kurt Rakos
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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or ‘giving back’ plays a pivotal role in a growing number of today’s organizations and at SkyWater we embrace it wholeheartedly.

On 14th April, we are rolling out a sponsored program to ‘give something back’ namely,   Walk A Mile for Smile Network. Smile Network International is a Minnesota based non-profit, humanitarian organization offering life changing reconstructive surgery and healthcare services to deprived and impoverished children in developing countries.

Every time one of our employees walks past our office building, Carlson Towers in Minnesota, we will donate $1.  The distance is approximately one mile.

To ensure maximum benefit for both Smile Network International and our team this project will run from 14th April until 4th July.

Our prediction is that we will raise around $125 per week, with a target of $1500 by 4th July.

The concept of this fundraiser has an added benefit of encouraging our team to exercise, get away from the desks, stretch their legs and breathe in that fresh air! The benefits of regular exercise – and fresh air - are well documented, but many of us are guilty of neglecting this important aspect of our health and wellbeing.

In Minnesota the winters are long and I’m sure everyone will agree that this one has been longer than most!  It seems we’ve all been cooped up in heated buildings for months now and the recent late snowfall that intruded into spring only seemed to add to that feeling!

That’s a welcome bi-product of what we are really trying to achieve of course, which is to give something back.

Corporate Social Responsibility

You may have noticed a growing trend towards Corporate Social Responsibility not just within the US but across a number of global companies.  In part that is in response to the evolving workforce.   By the end of this year, just over a third of the American workforce will be millennials.  This burgeoning group of professionals come with a different set of cultural values and expectations than we have traditionally seen.

One of the expectations they have of their current or future employer is the commitment to ‘giving back’, generally in the shape of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).  According to a recent study by PwC, 90% of recent graduates look for employers whose priorities with regard to social responsibility match their own.  CSR covers a wide range of options, from voluntary based projects carried out in the community to international issues covering topics like sustainability, environmental concerns and human rights.

From a purely business viewpoint, CSR may enable businesses to attract more investors as it is always a positive reflection on core values and company culture.  If we take that a step forward, a positive company culture promotes a sense of team spirit, increases productivity and attracts talent to our teams.

In essence it has something for everyone! 

A personal journey

At SkyWater we take the 'giving back' element very seriously.  For me, it has an added personal dimension.  I learned from a young age that giving something back doesn’t always have to be about dollars.  If you can’t give money, you can always give time, which can be more valuable in many ways.

In my mid 20's I worked for the Special Olympics on the fundraising side and learned how rewarding giving back can be.  In a sense felt I got much more back than I gave and was overwhelmed by the blessings I received in helping others.

Truly when you give back, you win.

Whether you are a leader in business or a parent trying to set a good example to your children, your actions speak much about your intentions.  Everyone is affected by giving and it builds a sense of purpose and community We often take for granted how fortunate we are in the western world.

So I invite you now to think about the ways in which you may give something back to your community, either as an employer or as an individual.

If you are able, come and join us and Walk A Mile for Smile any time between 14th April and 4th July.  If you can’t perhaps you would like to make a donation in support of our campaign.

Whatever you decide, we encourage you to get involved in your own corporate or social responsibility campaign in 2014.

Remember, everybody wins!

If you are interested in finding out more about Smile Network and how you may able to help or make a donation, visit Smile Networks website.


(952) 767-9000



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