HOPE Week 2015: Giving Back is in Our DNA
Last week, the entire Dittman team joined together for HOPE Week 2015. Each year, we take time out from our lives to serve our community as we serve our clients. We are putting our CARES values into practice in the outside world. When I founded this company, I did so in large part because I wanted to build an organization where I would want to work, the kind of place where our purpose would improve the lives of our clients and customers, and where shared values would shine through every day in the office. Last week was a powerful example of what such a workplace can accomplish.
HOPE Week began in 2009 as an initiative by the NY Yankees. Their goal was to “Help Others Persevere and Excel” with outreach to a different individual or organization every day for one week. As the NY Yankees say, “At its core, HOPE Week is about people helping people.” They ask other organizations to share their mission and to spread the HOPE Week message. Among many other charitable initiatives, we answer that call.
This year, we have focused on seven charities, each of which addresses a very fundamental human need:
• Food – Center for Food Action. A staggering 400,000 New Jersey children receive free or reduced price lunches at school. But what happens to them on the weekend? We assembled hundreds of Weekend Snack-packs to make sure that they have nutritious food seven days a week.
• Food – Elijah’s Promise. We are located in Middlesex County, New Jersey, where 83,000 residents are food insecure. As part of our on-going commitment to our neighborhood, we ran a food drive to benefit Elijah’s Promise, as they provide 100,000 meals annually for those in need.
• Water – charity:water. As much as 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions in developing countries. We are collecting coins throughout the month of August to provide clean water for as many people as we can.
• Shelter – Jersey Cares. 66,500 people need domestic violence assistance every day. We assembled First Night Kits, filled with toiletries. Jersey Cares will deliver them to New Jersey shelters to make that first night a little easier.
• Clothing – Not having the right clothes can not only leave you cold in the winter, it can also be a barrier to employment. Throughout the month of August, we are collecting gently used clothing for three organizations. Men’s business clothing will go to Career Gear. Women’s business clothing is headed to Dress for Success Mercer County. And casual clothing will be distributed by Clothesline by Elijah’s Promise in our own community.
The response from our DIMC team was remarkable. Teammates gave up their lunch hours, cleaned out their closets, and put extra items in their grocery carts. Many showed up multiple times to assemble Snack-packs or First Night Kits, even when the sign-up sheets were full. It has been a week filled with examples of the good will of every member of our organization.
When developing and writing our corporate values, we chose the acronym, Dittman CARES because we do. We care about our clients. We care about our colleagues. And we care about our community. We know we are fortunate, and we are honored to be able to give back, individually and as an organization.