2023 Annual Non-Profit Roundup
At Online Optimism, we have several initiatives focusing on Supporting our Communities, from our donation match program (Donate+Elevate) to our G.I.V.E. hours, allowing employees to volunteer on company time, highlighting local non-profits across our social media, and more. Let’s look at the various ways we spread Optimism locally in 2023.
Donate + Elevate
Donate + Elevate, our donation match program yields a 200% donation match. Any donations made personally by our team are matched 100% to the same non-profit and 100% to a local non-profit that focuses on a cause we have chosen to support in the calendar year.
In 2023, we decided to focus on women’s health. Our New Orleans non-profit, Women with a Vision, strongly advocates for marginalized women, their families, and communities by addressing the social conditions that hinder their health and well-being. They offer health education, supportive services, and community-based participatory research. We matched donations to Black Women’s Health Imperative whenever a remote employee gave to a non-profit. They are a nationally recognized organization leading health policy, education, research, knowledge and leadership development and communications designed to improve the healthy outcomes of Black women. Our DC non-profit was The Women’s Collective, which focuses on meeting the needs of low-income women, girls, and families living with/or at risk for HIV/AIDS and other STDs. They address the social determinants of health and health disparities they face, working to reduce barriers to care and services.
Our Slack workspace has #appreciation, our Appreciation Channel, where Optimists can give an appreciative shoutout to their co-workers at any time. Triannually, we calculate how many appreciations were sent and received. These numbers are then translated to monetary value and donated to a non-profit organization of each Optimists’ choice. Organizations that we donated to through this program include:
- Alzheimers Association
- Atchafalaya Basinkeeper
- Be Loud! Studios
- Cafe Reconcile
- Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana
- Dancing Grounds
- Good Trouble Network
- Guatemala United for Animals Inc
- House of Tulip
- Immigration Services & Legal Advocacy
- Literacy Action**
- Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen
- Louisiana SPCA
- Take Paws Rescue
- Texas A&M Veterinary Oncology Fund
- Trap Dat Cat
- Trevor Project
- We Are Casa
** No longer in operation
Online Optimism highlights a non-profit on our social media and blog every quarter. The organizations are connected to Online Optimism in some way, whether we have volunteered, donated, or collaborated with them in the past or they are part of our New Orleans or DC community. We highlighted several phenomenal non-profits doing great work in 2023. Non-profits we showcased include:
Our New Orleans team continued to volunteer with Culture Aid NOLA, a local non-profit that meets twice weekly to sort and distribute food to anyone in the community who needs it. This no-barrier, no-stigma non-profit offers a positive and uplifting atmosphere to families needing food without asking for identification or proof of income. Find out more about working with Culture Aid NOLA at their website.
In addition to volunteering with Culture Aid as a standalone event, our entire team volunteered to pack and distribute food as a kickoff event for our annual retreat. Not only did it give non-New Orleanians an instant tie to the community they were visiting, but it helped to quickly bond Optimists through a common goal.
In April, New Orleans Optimists also volunteered at Wednesday at the Square, an annual free concert series put on by the Young Leadership Council. Our team helped to sell beverages to concertgoers, which raised money to benefit YLC’s upcoming community projects that improve the quality of life in New Orleans and foster leadership skills in young professionals.
During our annual company retreat, we aim to learn something new as a team outside of marketing, management, or other themes that fit directly within our work. This year, we were taught by Trystereo about harm reduction, how to respond to a drug overdose correctly, and how to administer naloxone.
Our team learned more about an issue that’s grown in relevance throughout our country. Trystereo explained the history of drugs in America and how offering hard-reduction resources with dignity can cause a positive difference in our communities. At the end of the training, our employees were given resources specific to where they live and left with a better understanding of how to respond if presented with a situation where someone is experiencing an overdose.
We will continue to offer this type of event during our annual retreat, with next year covering a different topic to further educate us on ways we can help others in our communities.
Our Growth Initiative for Volunteering Employees hours (G.I.V.E), added as a benefit in 2022, allows our employees to use up to 16 work hours toward volunteering for a non-profit organization. Optimists have spent these hours volunteering with non-profits like:
Looking Forward to 2024
We are excited to continue “Supporting our Communities” as we move forward into the new year. One of our annual company goals is to get every Optimist to participate in two separate non-profit-related efforts highlighted above. At the end of the year, we aim to have full participation by every team member across these programs.
Are you connected with a non-profit organization that would be interested in sharing their mission with our team and participating in our efforts? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch with us at [email protected].