When NetApp’s Employee Engagement team started to think about ways to celebrate the company’s 25th anniversary in 2017, giving back immediately sprang to mind. Including a giving component in our company celebrations just made sense—it’s who we are. We have a long history of giving back and caring for others—whether through stewardship of customer data, the close relationships the company forms with customers and partners or supporting the communities we live in through volunteer work. And we were one of the first companies in the U.S. to offer a Volunteer Time Off (VTO) program to employees, providing 40 hours of fully paid volunteer time off each year.

 

Asking our employees to Celebrate with Service, we decided to focus our efforts on alleviating hunger both worldwide and in our local communities. Food For All is NetApp’s first-ever global volunteer campaign, and our challenge to employees has been to donate a collective 25,000 hours of service to hunger organizations throughout this fiscal year.

 

With the ability to host meal-packaging events at locations across the globe, Rise Against Hunger was a natural partner for our Food For All campaign. We kicked off our partnership in March of this year at our annual Senior Leadership Meeting where 130 of our most senior executives from around the world donned hair nets and gloves to package 37,000 meals for hungry families in Vietnam.

 

Throughout this year, we’ve worked with Rise Against Hunger to host events in 13 locations across the world, from Amsterdam to Bangalore, Madrid to Munich, Paris to Pittsburgh, Singapore to Sunnyvale. Some of our offices have enjoyed working with Rise Against Hunger so much that they’ve asked to do more than one event! We also sponsored a packaging event in Las Vegas at Insight, our annual customer and partner event, allowing us to share our spirit of giving back with the customers and partners we work with every day.

 

Our original goal in working with Rise Against Hunger was to package 500,000 meals. The events have proven so popular that, following that first meal-packing event in March, our employees, customers and partners have packaged 775, 115 meals (!) throughout the course of this year for families in need across the world, including places like Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, Puerto Rico, India, Haiti, Turkey, Malawi, the Philippines and El Salvador.

 

The feedback we’ve received on Rise Against Hunger has been nothing but positive. Our employees have gained so much from this partnership. Individual teams have signed up for multiple shifts and they’ve had the chance to bond amongst themselves, with employees at their individual NetApp site and share in an experience that NetAppers across the globe can all be proud of. Partnering with Rise Against Hunger has been such a wonderful experience for us. We’re grateful for the chance Rise Against Hunger has given us to boost our Food For All campaign and affect lives everywhere.

 

And the feeling has been mutual.

 

“NetApp has truly been a wonderful partner for Rise Against Hunger throughout this year,” says Karen Sanders Noe, Director of Global Partnerships for Rise Against Hunger. “We’ve gotten to witness first-hand the spirit of giving that lives within NetApp’s employees around the world. NetApp employees are a special bunch, and we’re so glad that we’ve been able to work together to feed thousands of hungry families this year.”

 

As such, I’m thrilled to announce that we’ve revised our original goal and will now aim to package 1 million meals in conjunction with Rise Against Hunger throughout the remainder of our fiscal year. We look forward to extending this work further and to planning new events at additional offices around the globe.

 

At NetApp, we know that it truly does take a village to create a sustainable company that can be around for the long haul.  And we’re proud that we could celebrate our first 25 years with a partner who wants to change lives like we do.

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Michelle Mann

Michelle is a passionate, values driven leader committed to social change. She has over 20 years’ experience in corporate responsibility/citizenship, public affairs and philanthropic functions. She is consulting with NetApp to building strategic philanthropic programs that add brand value.