Volunteerism: Our year-round pursuit of goodwill toward all


Liz Huntley

It’s that time of the year. When the holidays roll around, many of us find the time amidst the bustle of holiday shopping and festivities to do some inner reflection about the things that are important to us. That, in turn, prompts us to reach out to others to support the causes that are close to our hearts.

Lots of organizations welcome that holiday spirit, since it gives them additional and much-needed help to serve their constituencies. But, they also hope it doesn’t fade when the season is over. Unfortunately, it usually does. Despite our best efforts, we get caught up in our lives and the busy-ness of our days throughout the rest of the year.

Yet, we long for the extra time to pursue those humanitarian efforts and the activities that fulfill us and even complement our professional lives. At MedImmune, we support that sentiment and we’ve taken that spirit of volunteerism to a new level—one that we’re able to apply year-round.

In 2012, we extended our corporate citizenship program to include paid volunteer leave. We did this for several reasons, chief among them is that we value our employees and their passions, and we appreciate that there is life beyond work. But, the initiative also supports an overall strategic vision to stimulate meaningful change in our communities. This paid volunteer leave allows our employees to get involved in causes that are important to them—on our dime. It includes things like science education and disease awareness, which you’d expect for a biotech company, but we support a broad and flexible volunteer program that also includes things like hunger, homelessness and environmentalism, to name a few.

In fact, the things that we get involved in are as diverse as we are as individuals. For my part, I spend a week each summer at a camp for kids with cancer. I’ve been doing this for 15 years, and having my employer subsidize part of this is remarkably meaningful. Other employees are volunteering in schools, working with animals, serving in soup kitchens, protecting the environment—and a number of other important projects. What’s more is that if someone wants to volunteer, but doesn’t know where to begin, we have a program that will help him or her find an organization with which to volunteer.

And, what does our organization get out of this? Happy employees, for one. And, happy people are productive, creative and focused, which means their work is inspired. That’s sure important for a company that designs and develops important new medicines. But, more than this, we get the satisfaction of sending people out into various communities where they can do good works, help others help themselves, and spread their goodwill year-round.