Happy New Year, GlobalGivers! The last couple of months of 2014 passed in a flash of donation gift cards and year-end giving, and 2015 is off to an inspiring start. As I have been reflecting on 2014’s passing and thinking about what is to come in 2015, I have been focused on the ways in which 2015’s accomplishments will rely upon and build upon all the hard work and generosity that took place in 2014.
A timely example of this compounding effect is the work GlobalGiving and the VMware Foundation have done together over the last few years. In alignment with GlobalGiving’s goal to inform our nonprofit and donor communities so they can make more mindful choices and contributions, the VMware Foundation’s philosophy of Citizen Philanthropy focuses on individuals’ choices, contributions, and unique passions adding up to make an even more profound and meaningful collective impact than any one might on its own.
As the axiom goes, “every waterfall begins with a drop of water,” and VMware’s programs prove just that. In 2011, the VMware Foundation and GlobalGiving began working together to provide milestone awards (in the form of GlobalGiving e-cards) to its new hires and employees reaching their one-year anniversaries at VMware. The first batch of cards went to a mere trickle of 100 employees. But over the years, GlobalGiving has sent more than 24,500 service awards to VMware employees.
Adding to the swell of support, the VMware user community helped the VMware Foundation choose which of 55 causes would receive $500,000 of funding in 2014 through the VMworld conferences in San Francisco and Barcelona in 2014. Each participant allowed giving to take flight by throwing a personally-designed paper airplane down a field, with different landing areas accounting for different donation amounts towards the participants’ causes of choice. As the competition intensified and momentum built, each participant helped bolster the group’s collective efforts to a level none could have reached on her/his own.
The biggest waves of support have come during the last two holiday seasons, when each of VMware’s roughly 16,000 employees received a GlobalGiving “gift of giving,” similar to milestone awards but larger in size and scope. Through these gifts of giving, VMware employees choose where they want to invest the organization’s holiday donation. Each employee’s $100 gift of giving amassed to more than $2 million in concert. 2014’s gifts of giving alone supported more than three-quarters of the organizations on GlobalGiving.org at the time. Such widespread support within such a generous contribution is a true testament to VMware’s Citizen Philanthropy in action.
GlobalGiving’s vision is to unleash the potential of people to make positive change happen. And the waterfall of support over the last few years from VMware people has allowed more than 3,500 programs in 145 countries to continue forward progress in their communities. As someone who could stand mesmerized by the power of a beautiful waterfall for hours, witnessing this “worldwide waterfall” has helped me start 2015 on an incredibly optimistic note.