Every year, Oracle Volunteers around the world undertake projects to support causes close to their hearts—from restoring wildlife habitat to teaching kids to code. In honor of National Volunteer Month in the US, we sat down with two employees who were instrumental in enabling 25,000+ Oracle Volunteers to donate nearly 97,000 hours to nonprofit organizations around the world in FY18.
Meet Michelle Fong, program associate for Oracle Volunteering, and Madeline Walsh, program associate with Oracle Giving, and learn how this dynamic duo helps enable employees to support nonprofit organizations through hands-on volunteering and increase impact through charitable donations.
How is Oracle celebrating National Volunteer Month?
Michelle Fong (MF): While the Oracle Volunteering program operates year-round, in April we’re celebrating Focus on Environment. Oracle Volunteers worldwide are teaming up with environmental nonprofit organizations to plan projects that restore habitats, cleanup beaches and parklands, protect wildlife, and more. Personally, I've loved seeing all the creative ways Oracle Volunteers are protecting the environment, from fishing plastic out of the canals in Amsterdam and cleaning crocodile habitats in Chennai.
Madeline Walsh (MW): It is also a great time of year to build on the work of environmental nonprofits that we support through Oracle Giving. MyGiving, our matching gifts program, is an awesome way to support nonprofit organizations that help protect our planet and the life it sustains with a donation.
What support does Oracle provide employees to foster this commitment to volunteerism?
MF: Most importantly, Oracle gives employees time to volunteer. Employees can volunteer up to 40 hours per fiscal year during the work day. Of course, many employees volunteer outside of work hours too! We’re also doing more to acknowledge #OracleVolunteers, such as featuring volunteers on our blog and sharing photos and project highlights on Twitter @ORCLCitizenship. There’s something affirming about seeing fellow Oracle employees getting involved in their communities and we hope it inspires others to do the same.
MW: I am always so inspired by my colleagues who are great at their jobs and passionate about getting hands-on in their local communities through the Oracle Volunteering program. I’ve been especially happy to see the success that local Employee Resource Groups have in bringing people together through volunteering. When you hear their project stories, you can’t help but feel proud to be part of such a diverse and inclusive culture.
Inclusion is central to Corporate Citizenship. What is your diversity and inclusion philosophy?
MF: Acknowledging our unique backgrounds and leveraging these experiences to help make our work better, and make Oracle a model Corporate Citizen, is so valuable. Recognizing and embracing that each person brings their own perspectives to the table elevates everyone’s contribution to the company and the community.
MW: I want to add, for both us, in our work and our personal lives we’ve had the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with so many different people. Each of these people has helped us grow and change in ways that allow us to be better than we were before. At a company as large as Oracle, it is easy to be confined to your organization, which feels like a missed opportunity to meet someone who can teach you something new and change your outlook.
MF: Through volunteering, we get to witness these relationships grow from the very beginning—connecting communities through volunteering is how many new conversations get started. You meet somebody new face to face, you learn about who they are and what brought them there, and everyone walks away feeling a larger sense of community and belonging.
Please share any words of wisdom that would benefit our readers, especially related to volunteerism.
MW: Don’t be shy. Get involved and share your passions with someone else. A lot of the time, people are just waiting for an invitation to join and you can be the one who extends it.
MF: When I was younger, I wish someone had told me I didn’t need permission to ask questions. There’s always so much to learn and it can often only be done if you take the initiative to ask that first question. When it comes to volunteering at Oracle, I’d say, “Jump right in.”
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