A Full Circle of Giving

Posted by Donna Callejon on March 28th, 2014

VMwareInspirationBoothPiDay2014GlobalGiving recently joined the VMware Foundation at its Palo Alto headquarters to celebrate Pi Day by sharing ways that we can all support our global community. On the day marked by 3.14—and the joys of calculating the circumference of a circle—it was a reminder to us about the full circle of giving: the giving and receiving that helps propel our mission. We see this full circle exemplified by our continued collaboration with the VMware Foundation.

The VMware Foundation believes in Citizen Philanthropy, in which every individual’s actions matter and add up to our collective impact. In recognition of all the individual contributions its employees made that contributed to the company’s collective success in 2013, the Foundation gave the gift of giving to its more than 14,000 employees worldwide as a holiday gift in 2013. Each employee received a GlobalGiving charitable donation gift card for US$100, which they could then direct to projects of their choosing on GlobalGiving.org.

The cycle of giving continued with VMware employees directing their support to charitable programs of more than 1,000 organizations in 120 countries with their holiday gift cards. While many organizations received these gifts, for several the unanticipated support was quite a holiday surprise that will contribute to their missions and work in the year ahead.

More than 400 employees collectively donated $36,000 to Give an Hour, an organization that can now provide 2,000+ additional hours of mental health services to members of military families across the United States such as Jennifer Crane. Jennifer returned from her tour in Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress and found herself homeless and struggling with flashbacks and nightmares. When her course of treatment with Give an Hour ended, she reflected, “I no longer feel broken, but instead I feel whole. I am not trying to fool myself because yes, every day is a struggle. But the generosity of the individuals involved with Give an Hour has given me the faith in society that I so desperately needed.”

Thousands of miles away from VMware’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California, a woman named Nissima gave birth to twins in India. Her son weighed 1.5 kg, and her daughter just 0.73 kg. She rushed them to a nearby public hospital that had an on-site Embrace program and 21 infant warmers, but before she made it there, her son passed away.

Hypothermia is rarely a cause for concern across the birthing wings of the developed world, but in resource-challenged India it is a primary contributor to newborn deaths – and it is preventable. “Embrace is helping to reduce the risk of death in preterm babies in India. We establish programs at under-resourced clinics and hospitals and donate the Embrace infant warmer for free to low birth weight and premature infants in need,” explains Alejandra Villalobos, Director of Development at Embrace.

When they arrived at the hospital, Nissima’s daughter was immediately placed inside a warmer and Embrace staff gave Nissima support, explained what hypothermia was, and taught her the skills to keep her baby daughter warm. Villalobos considers education a key component of the Embrace strategy. “Recognizing that technology alone is not enough to solve complex problems like neonatal hypothermia, we also hire local staff to provide intensive health education programs for mothers, families, and health care workers.” The Embrace staff followed up three months later to find Nissima practicing the skills she had learned and her daughter, now named Fortunate, growing every day.

Embrace has developed a simple solution to a life threatening problem, and with the support of the VMware Foundation and 721 VMware employees, is on its way to providing the life-saving technology of an Embrace warmer to more than 150,000 low birth weight and premature infants in 2014. “The Embrace team is humbled and honored to receive VMware and GlobalGiving’s support. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of VMware employees during the holidayssaid Villalobos.

For Jean, a Technical Account Manager at VMware, the hardest part of giving was choosing which worthy project to support. After giving to Embrace he noted that he actually received a great deal in return. “I felt so great and so happy just knowing that I helped someone in the world,” he said. All donors on the site can feel confident their money is being sent to credible organizations with proven track records due to GlobalGiving’s thorough vetting process. Jean felt the program opened his eyes to problems around the world and motivated him to create a better place to live.

GlobalGiving is proud to collaborate with VMware as we work together to continue the full circle of giving and receiving that has the power to impact, and potentially change, all of our lives.

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