At the heart

of the community

Since launching the Jackson National Community Fund (JNCF), the number of employee volunteering hours has quadrupled, reaching a total of more than 5,600 in 2010 alone.

Employees from our US business, Jackson, support a wide range of community projects including working in local food banks for the homeless and helping to rebuild houses, teaching students financial skills and providing support for children who have lost a sibling or parent.

In the past year, Jackson was named the Corporation of the Year by the Michigan Association of Fundraising Professionals, and received the Lansing City Council’s Corporate Service Award, and was one of five finalists in the Governor’s Service Awards.

Jackson - national community fund

Danielle Weller, CR Specialist, who manages the JNCF activities, explains that it’s the full and active involvement of a high proportion of Jackson employees that makes the difference to the success of JNCF. From getting involved with the many projects the fund supports to sitting on the fund’s advisory committee to assess applications from charities, it’s the employees’ energy and enthusiasm that continues to drive volunteering: “We’re really led by the people here. Our employees make it their goal to benefit the community with Jackson’s charitable dollars. Their commitment to the business’s charitable programme is really inspirational.”

Local JNCF advisory committees decide on a quarterly basis which activities to support. Diane Cooke, who sits on the advisory committee for Jackson’s Lansing office, explains how the committee goes about making its decisions. “What we’re looking for is the charity that will give the most advantage to the community for the dollars they receive. We read all the project proposals, paying close attention to the stated benefits and goals. And from there we compare the projected benefit to the funds requested.” Fellow committee member, Amy Brown, describes other criteria that are assessed. “We look at the number of people who will be impacted and whether the project is short or long-term. We also consider when we last helped the organisation to ensure we support as many as possible instead of supporting the same ones time and time again.”

“It’s the full and active involvement of a high proportion of Jackson employees that makes the difference to the success of JNCF.”

5,600 

The number of
hours Jackson
employees spent
volunteering

As a result of Jackson’s highly visible commitment to the community, the number of applications for funding is increasing considerably each year. As Diane explains, awareness of Jackson’s commitment to the community also means employees are more likely to get involved: “I think there are a lot of people who, through working at Jackson, become more aware of community needs. And, they get ideas and examples of how they can get practically involved.” Committee member, James McCann, says that it is Jackson’s drive to involve its people that makes the biggest difference: “I’ve worked for other organisations that are very charitable, but it’s usually about writing a cheque. You don’t get the employee involvement that we have here.”

That observation is echoed by Jackson employees who regularly volunteer. Eric Doss takes a lead role in the ‘Rebuilding Together’ project, where teams of volunteers help repair properties in the community. He says: “I really like putting my skills to good use. It’s about problem solving with your hands and your brain. The people we help get some really practical assistance with something that they are not able to do for themselves and we can really see the results.”

Rebuilding together

Other volunteers say that connecting with their community simply feels like the right thing to do. The fact that Jackson makes it easy through providing support and information means, in the words of Jackson employee Dawn Banner: “It makes me feel good that I am giving something back. People can see that a big business like Jackson really does care, and that it is a real part of our local community.”

“People can see that a big business like Jackson really does care, and that it is a real part of our local community.”