OpenArc Gives Back in 2016
Giving back. Giving thanks.
Here at OpenArc we’ve always cared about our community in one way or another. As individuals, we have passions ranging from hunger to homelessness, from clothing drives to cancer charities and many, many more. In 2016 we recognized the power in numbers and came together as a group to form Helping Hands. Helping Hands is an internal group of volunteers that focus on donating time, money and goods to nonprofit organizations all year long with strategic focus. With our unified efforts, we have been proud to serve countless hours and donate funds and goods to charities both small and large, both local and nationwide.
We are looking to expand this program in 2017 and continue to grow our group in size and in strength, but to know where you are going you have to remember where you’ve been. At this time we’d like to take a moment to thank some of the charities for their efforts and for allowing us to partner with them this year!
The Cancer Caring Center’s Young Adult Cancer Support Program
The Cancer Caring Center of Pittsburgh is one of the region’s few cancer support facilities complementary to traditional medical treatment. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to helping people with cancer, their families and friends, cope with the emotional impact of cancer. YACS (Young Adult Cancer Support) is a specific group of individuals sponsored by the CCC and only one of two young adult programs in the region. YACS’s mission is to raise awareness for enhancing the support, advocacy, and hope while alleviating the financial burden that cancer impacts on this particular population. Relying solely on donations for this program, OpenArc organized a fundraiser to raise money through gift basket raffles and direct money collection. Thanks to donations from local businesses and employees, we were able to raffle off six baskets and collect enough funds to send the YACS group to a social event of their choice!
The social event which YACS selected was attending The Improv for a night of laughter and fun. OpenArc’s donation created the opportunity to purchase tickets to see stand-up comedian Harland Williams and provided meals for the group of 20 patients and survivors. This is a group who understand that laughter is surely the best medicine. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the program and expanding our initiative to donate services in 2017.
Soles4Souls is a nonprofit global social enterprise committed to fighting poverty through the collection and distribution of shoes and clothing. The organization advances its anti-poverty mission by collecting new and used shoes and clothes from individuals, schools, faith-based institutions, civic organizations and corporate partners, then distributing those shoes and clothes both via direct donations to people in need and by provisioning qualified micro-enterprise programs designed to create jobs in poor and disadvantaged communities. Since it began, Soles4Souls has distributed more than 26 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Soles4Souls is committed to the highest standards of operating and governance.
That’s the message being delivered by OpenArc, which collected shoes to help the poor. Used and new shoes were donated by employees by the pair! The shoes that OpenArc collected were delivered to Soles4Souls in August 2016.
“OpenArc is supporting Soles4Souls because it is the definition of a social enterprise where solid business practices are used to create positive change in people’s lives,” said Erin Remaley, a strong supporter of Soles4Souls’ anti-poverty mission, “and we hope to take a big step in providing the organization with the used shoes they require to keep making a difference for people in need.”
Soles4Souls will convert every used pair of shoes collected from the community into a value-added social currency to achieve positive change, both humanitarian and economic. Most of the gently used shoes will be distributed to microenterprise programs that create jobs in Haiti and other poor nations. The resulting revenue will help fund the free distribution of new shoes in the U.S., Canada and developing nations around the world.
“The simple truth is that almost anyone with a closet has shoes they don’t wear, or an old pair that will just end up in a landfill,” said Mike Peditto. “Give those to us, and know that you are taking a step to making the world a better place for all of us.”
Made Right Here / Phase 4 works
Made Right Here is a non-profit organization that grew out of a U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation Fund grant (“The New App for Making it in America”). To date, Made Right Here has trained over 220 unemployed, underemployed, and dislocated individuals on a range of digital tools to prepare them with 21st century skills valuable to both hardware startup companies as well as mature manufacturers. Made Right Here has successfully placed 85% completing the program into employment, developing their own firms, obtaining contractor work or continuing their training.
Openarc has partnered with Made Right here and Select International to roll out a professional training program for its Phase 4 works program. Phase 4 works offer at at-risk high schoolers training and skill sets that range from on-hands activities to professionalism skills. During two sessions, the Openarc team spoke to the students in the program about body language, teamwork, selling yourself and overall professionalism to achieve success on job interviews and in the future.
The team here at Openarc was able to give back to the community the skillset that we use everyday, as well as learn something from the students. “It was great to see the interactions and opinions of the students as they opened up to us over the two days. What a rewarding experience to be able to aid in professionalism skills that will help them find a job in the next few months”, said Jen Burns. Openarc will be continuing this program with the next cycle of students in the Phase 4 works program.
Winter Clothing Drive for Pittsburgh Refugees
The Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Pittsburgh is an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to help people through life’s changes and challenges by providing psychological, employment and social services. The organization has been helpful with local resettlements of refugees from all over the world including those fleeing from the crisis in Syria. After settlement, JF&CS pairs volunteers with families to help them in numerous ways to make sure they have resources they need and to help them make their massive adjustment.
This fall, OpenArc participated in a winter clothing drive for the JF&CS refugee resettlement branch. Over the course of three weeks, OpenArc gathered and donated dozens of articles of winter clothing to the JF&CS to be distributed amongst the families they have resettled in Pittsburgh
A friend of an OpenArc employee recently visited Cambodia on a Mission trip. Prior to the trip, she had requested small toy donations for the kids that she was visiting. The Helping Hands Committee set up a donation box at the office requesting donations and received a great response from the team. We were able to relive our youth for a day of shopping for toys and were extremely glad to see them cherished by children who need them greatly.
“They loved the cars. You can see how they put them on strings to make them pull toys. The atmosphere was pretty much like Christmas. They have never had a gift event like this. The football was used in 3 other countries before it arrived at the orphanage. Thank You! You made a difference!” Says Barb, leader and active mission trip volunteer.
OpenArc would like to thank the local and national nonprofit organizations for allowing us to be a part of your family all year long. We look forward to continuing and expanding our employee volunteer program in 2017. We would also like to thank the OpenArc team and leadership for organizing and donating to these great causes.