By Sally Ehrenfried, Sr. Manager, Philanthropy and Volunteer Engagement, Blackbaud
For many, the holidays bring joy, happiness, and gratitude as we spend them with beloved family and friends. However, for some, the holidays are very different and pose challenges that strain even the strongest among us.
At Blackbaud, I have the honor of working with people who truly care about their communities and want to make a difference in them. Each of my colleagues helps good take over in their own unique way—whether through volunteer service, personal philanthropy, and/or civic engagement.
As a company, some of Blackbaud’s most meaningful philanthropy occurs during the holiday season. For almost 20 years, our employees have made the holidays a little brighter for families in our community through our company-wide holiday toy drive. Teams of employees from around the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Costa Rica, and Australia work with local organizations to collect toys for families in need. This is the only time of the year where Blackbaud asks its employees to make donations to a specific cause, and all donations made by Blackbaud employees stay within their local communities. As Tony Boor, Blackbaud’s chief financial officer, says, “These holiday toy drives give us the opportunity to work together across borders to make a difference and share in the spirit of the holiday season.”
Through our annual holiday toy drives, Blackbaud employees have donated more than 98,000 toys to nearly 33,000 children—a truly remarkable outpouring of generosity and support for families in our respective communities. But our philanthropy doesn’t stop there.
Headquartered in Charleston, SC for nearly 30 years, our company has certainly changed during that time. However, our community relationships have stood the test of time. A great example is our relationship with One80 Place (formerly Crisis Ministries), which provides food, shelter, and hope to end homelessness and hunger. Over two decades, Blackbaud has donated $410,250 to alleviate homelessness in our community, and this year was no different as we made our gift to assist One80 Place with their family center. 38 percent of their shelter guests are women or adults with children, and they operate one of the only facilities in South Carolina that allows families to stay together.
For 28 years, Blackbaud has also supported the Good Cheer Fund, which was established in 1927 by what was then The News and Courier as a Lowcountry community program to help people in need during the holiday season. Today, the Good Cheer Fund supports the following worthy organizations: Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Carolina Youth Development Center, Catholic Charities, Charleston Leadership Foundation, Lowcountry Food Bank, The Salvation Army and Star Gospel Mission. Since 1991, the company has donated more than $750,000 to the Good Cheer Fund. Please check out the Post & Courier the morning of Christmas Eve as Blackbaud’s annual gift will be announced at that time.
As I reflect on 2018 and look forward to 2019, I feel very fortunate to be a part of a work community which places a priority on giving back. Happy holidays to you and yours!