This great big world becomes a lot smaller when you and your team start rolling up your sleeves to volunteer around the globe, enact positive change and leave a mark that changes people’s lives for the better. Such is the mission of the New Balance Global Volunteer Week team (which is really much more than a week’s worth of efforts) as they’ve watched their initiative grow every year.
“Our NB Global Volunteer Week gives all of our associates – both here and abroad – the opportunity to do good in their own communities and bring the mission of our New Balance Foundation to life in a hands-on way,” said Amy Sweeney, New Balance’s Global Community Outreach Manager, Charitable Programs. “Overall, we are striving to improve the health and wellness of all children through the joy of sport: engaging kids to move and use their bodies; building up their self-esteem; teaching them leadership and teamwork skills; and encouraging them to stay active for the rest of their lives. Volunteer coordinators in our offices tailor make our volunteer efforts based on what’s relevant for and meaningful to the different cultures and communities we are in. It’s really a grassroots effort and our way of putting #NBGivesBack and Footwear Cares® into action.”
New Balance’s Global Volunteer Week (GVW) launched in 2014 to create a moment in time for their associates worldwide to rally together to make a difference in their communities. “We want to give our entire team a sense of what it means to work for New Balance – a company that is genuinely committed to making a difference in the world – and provide them with numerous locally relevant opportunities to join NB in that mission,” continued Amy. “The ultimate hope is that the engagement in GVW leads to expanding year-long volunteer efforts in our offices and stores, and becomes further ingrained and important in each office’s culture in the future.”
The sheer numbers speak for themselves! GVW took place the first week on June. Here are the impressive results:
- 100 locations, including nearly 30 global offices and U.S. NB-owned stores, with 5 new countries added this year
- 240 projects with over 200 organizations
- Over 2,000 NB associates involved in volunteering
- Nearly 10,000 volunteer hours
Here are some project highlights:
- Boston and Lawrence: Worked with 25 charities and schools on nearly 40 projects
- Helped build two Habitat for Humanity homes.
- Hand-made 30 blankets for newborns for families-in-need.
- Packed 300 sports equipment kits to impact 52,000 youth with nearly 200 Lawrence factory associates to benefit schools in Boston and Lawrence, MA. The factory shut down during this project so all associates could participate.
- Worked on urban and community farms to improve food justice and access to healthy foods for families-in-need.
- Hosted field day events and intro to sports sessions.
- Engaged associates in community clean up during a lunch time run where they essentially ran the route of the charity Groundwork Lawrence’s 5K and stopped to clean up a neighborhood park in the middle.
- Returned to a 2015 “signature service project” site in Boston to refresh outdoor playground graphics. New Balance’s goal with these larger projects is to have a long-term relationship with and impact on these schools/organizations and the youth they serve.
- Maine factory associates in Skowhegan and Norridgewock, Maine partnered with the University of Maine Athletics to host a community day. Associates and UMaine athletes engaged youth in fitness and sports activities in the morning. In the afternoon, volunteers joined the Town of Madison’s Recreation Department to make over basketball courts and other recreation areas.
- Warrington, England: For many years, the NB Warrington team has worked with Active Cheshire to bring a “100 Mile Challenge” and other fitness programs to local schools. This year, they supported 20 schools by creating a “bespoke” ‘Active Plan’ tailored to each school’s needs. This included events in all 20 schools during GVW. In addition, Active Cheshire and New Balance will visit each school four times a year to ensure dedicated ‘Active Plan’ support and allow a further 80 days of volunteering opportunities for NB associates. The schools will benefit from a high-profile partnership; improve pupil health and wellbeing; participation in sport; and receive more support than ever before. To date, they’ve reached 4,000 kids.
- Canada: Each year during GVW, NB chooses one “signature service project” to engage the local associates in a larger scale project. While NB’s international offices have planned their own projects for years now, this is the first year that the NB HQ team undertook the planning for an international signature project. NB Canada associates, school staff, parents and a NB athlete made over indoor and outdoor play and movement spaces at a school in the Greater Toronto area.
- Japan: For the third year, NB Japan collaborated with NPO After School to join students’ programs in the local elementary school. 40 associates and 200 students enjoyed various indoor/outdoor activities such as football, basketball, and craft making using shoelaces and inserts. 21 associates from NB Japan also hosted 20 junior high school students from four schools at the Harajuku Flagship store to learn what NB Japan does and explore possible career options. Students experienced 3D scanning and fitting and learned about the NB brand and what the associates do in their roles. The third project was a Community Clean-up day, where individual volunteers, corporations, and local government rallied to clean the whole Chiyoda-ku area of Tokyo.
“Being a good corporate citizen is the New Balance way,” said Megan Bloch, Senior Manager, New Balance Global Philanthropy. “Our NB Global Volunteer Week and year-round service to communities is an extension of the great work that our founders, Jim and Anne Davis, began in 1981 when they started our NB Foundation. The Davis’s have always been charitable – with their time and with their donations – to help make our world a better place, especially for children. They are driven by a personal mission and a deep sense of civic responsibility to give back to NB communities worldwide. This is the bedrock of the New Balance culture. Our goal, now nearly 40 years later, is still to bring this mission to life in all corners of the world. And we can also share Two Ten’s mission with our associates through #FootwearCares.”
“The New Balance Foundation is a long-time donor to Two Ten Footwear Foundation and they are also a leading sponsor of our Footwear Cares® nationwide volunteer initiative,” said Maureen Rubino, Two Ten’s Marketing & Special Events Manager. “With New Balance’s support, we are able to continue to offer assistance to footwear colleagues and their families in need. Thank you New Balance for more than 30 years of support and dedication to Two Ten!”
To view the full album of photos, please visit our Facebook page.