From November 14-18, Foundation Medicine took part in our inaugural Week of Service in the U.S., giving back to the local communities that we call home. Beginning this year, Foundation Medicine’s Giving Week, which had historically happened in November and encouraged employees to give back to one partner organization, evolved into a Week of Service, providing employees with the opportunity to directly serve their communities.
“Previously, we had no program at Foundation Medicine dedicated to volunteerism. This program is in response to our passionate employees who are eager to get out and serve their communities,” explained Millie, manager of events and community engagement.
Throughout the week, there were a variety of offsite, onsite, and remote volunteer opportunities available to employees during the workday in communities local to each of our U.S. sites, including Boston, Research Triangle Park, and San Diego.
“When selecting organizations for the Week of Service, we wanted to provide opportunities that served a broad range of populations and aligned with our Foundation Medicine values,” Millie explained. “We also wanted to maintain a focus on local impact.” Millie shared that nearly 300 employees registered for Week of Service volunteer opportunities across all Foundation Medicine U.S. sites.
Organizations where groups of Foundation Medicine volunteers gave back included the following:
Science Club for Girls (on-site opportunity)
The Wily Network (on-site opportunity)
Research Triangle Park, N.C.
San Diego, Calif.
Hear from some of our volunteers about their experiences in the community:
Elle, a supervisor in client services in San Diego, spent time volunteering with her team at Feeding San Diego. “We packaged meal after meal learning in detail which schools will be provided with the resources that Feeding San Diego provides. It was not easy but extremely encouraging to know that we are helping to fill the very basic need for nourishment through our efforts.”
Mimi, sr. manager, corporate communications, in Research Triangle Park (RTP), joined her colleagues in volunteering at the Durham Food Bank. “It was so great to come together and volunteer our time to the Durham Food Bank. Together, our dedicated RTPers packaged over 11,000 pounds of food donations, which is enough to provide 9,400 meals to those in need.”
Patricia, principal quality engineer, and a group of eight other Foundation Medicine employees, spent time at Cradles to Crayons in Newton, Ma., packing up items for kids in need. “Together, we mighty few managed to pallet up two of the largest Community Agency orders ever received by Cradles to Crayons, including hundreds of books, diapers, boots, winter jackets, and clothing for newborns through teens.”
James, lead of people analytics, volunteered as part of a group of 15 Foundation Medicine employees, helped pack produce boxes at Food For Free in Somerville, Ma. to be delivered to families experiencing food insecurity in the greater Cambridge area. “Everything was organized into an assembly line that started with people building boxes, followed by a bunch of stations where we added various types of produce, before finishing with people packing up the boxes and loading them onto pallets. I was at the potato station (with colleague Hanna) where we loaded a total of 3,600 potatoes into 360 boxes.”
Kathryn, an account executive, and remote employee took time to give back to the Heartland Cancer Foundation (HCF), an organization local to her that she regularly volunteers with in Lincoln, Neb. “During Foundation Medicine’s week of service, I helped the decoration committee for our upcoming gala inventory our current stock of decorations and organize the storage unit where these decorations live — a group of five women gathered and completely unpacked, inventoried and repacked HCF’s 14x14ft unit one evening. It was a long but fun night filled with lots of laughter – we have a lot more work to do before the event in March, but I’m really looking forward to the event and hope we can break some fundraising records so that even more patients can benefit from HCF’s services,” she shared.
Zoya, a graphic designer, visited Household Goods in Acton, Ma., where volunteers painted, vacuumed, and prepared items for families in need. “I even got to put my sewing to the test and patch a couch,” she shared. “Our host at Household Goods was wonderful and really tried to understand our strengths. It was awesome to see how our extra hands went a long way in helping people get what they need for their homes.”
Anu, supervisor, access operations, participated in two events, packing STEM Kits as part of our on-site offerings, and serving meals at Boston Living Center. “For the STEM Kits, we had clear instructions on how to pack them, and were able to see what the kids would be able to make from the kits. Being in a science-driven/healthcare industry, it is nice to see how we can support the younger generations to pursue careers in science.”
“Serving meals at the Boston Living Center was also very special. We were met with a thoughtful team of volunteers that help keep the Boston Living Center filled with great energy and positivity. Our group was fortunate enough to help prepare and serve a warm, healthy meal to the local community,” she shared.
Aaron, sr. statistical scientist, was part of a group of volunteers who went to Pine St. Inn in Boston. “We packaged rolls and assembled a whole bunch of Caesar salads for meals to be served across Pine St Inn's locations. Afterwards, they gave us a tour of the building and talked about their mission, history and approach.”
Erin, associate director, external communications volunteered at Community Servings in Jamaica Plain, MA., an organization that makes healthy meals for people living with chronic conditions. “The organization was impressive. They spend a lot of time planning meals that meet all different dietary restrictions and volunteers are able to seamlessly integrate into the prep and packaging process. It was well organized, clean and the staff was so friendly.”
For Millie, creating an opportunity for employees to serve their local community, volunteering herself, and hearing from employees about their experiences has been a highlight of this inaugural Week of Service. “We have an exciting 2023 planned for our community efforts. We are sponsoring multiple local events, engaging our Employee Resource Networks (ERN) in the local community and we plan to hold our second Week of Service in the spring.”
In reflecting on their experience, Foundation Medicine employees expressed gratitude for the chance to give back to their local communities. For many, it introduced them to new colleagues and new organizations in their local areas. “While giving back to the community, I expanded my personal Foundation Medicine community by meeting colleagues in departments way outside my sphere,” Patricia said.
In some cases, it even opened new avenues for Foundation Medicine employees to give back to their community on their own time. “I am looking forward to helping Household Goods in the future outside of Foundation Medicine’s week of service,” said Zoya.
“Overall, it was great to meet some colleagues on different teams and work together to help the broader community,” James shared. “Volunteering my time felt meaningful and it was nice to see the impact in person. Foundation Medicine’s annual Week of Service is an outstanding evolution of Giving Week from years past.”