Employee engagement through volunteerism has always been at the core of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck’s culture. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the law firm identified ways for employees to safely help those in need. Efforts included firm-wide virtual food drives that supported local nonprofit organizations in each of their thirteen office communities; safely delivering donated meals prepared by the local restaurants to fire stations and hospitals; and small, COVID-19 protocol compliant, in-person outdoor projects to assist animal welfare groups who rely heavily on volunteers to provide services and support. In addition, the firm’s Pro Bono practice created a rapid response team of attorneys to help small businesses and nonprofits with navigating opportunities and the application process for the CARES Act and monitoring loans.
Xcel Energy provides support for disaster relief and recovery across its eight-state service area. The two primary factors in determining if and how they will respond are impact on customers and impact on company assets and infrastructure. Through the Xcel Energy Foundation, they budget annually for a disaster response fund that can be accessed to support response efforts throughout service areas. To gain understanding of the disaster’s impact and where needs are greatest, Xcel Energy works closely with key stakeholders such as first responder organizations, employees in the affected area and city and county officials. The available budget in the response fund when a disaster strikes and the severity of the disaster’s impact influence the level of response.
The IMA Financial Group’s corporate foundation, the IMA Foundation, provides grants to support disaster response in communities where IMA Financial operates. The disaster’s level of impact on stakeholders in those communities is the primary factor considered in determining a response. While the grant-making is focused on Denver, Dallas, Kansas City, Topeka/Emporia (KS) and Mt. Pleasant (MI) areas, the company’s employees have ties and connections to communities that are affected by disasters across the country. To address this and support employees, they created a separate 1:1 employee matching gifts fund solely for disaster response. This fund operates in addition to the standard matching gifts program. The disaster response matching gifts program is open year-round and employees may utilize it to match the personal gifts to U.S.-based charities responding to disasters across the globe. The IMA Foundation uses an external online platform to manage both matching gifts programs.
Launched in 2021, our Planning For Resilience: Disaster Response Toolkit was developed to support companies in adapting and growing their disaster response strategies. Our members shared advice, resources and strategies used to curate a disaster response plan checklist. Below you’ll find the full list of recommendations and best practices.
Andy Bailey, Sr. Program Manager for Disaster & Humanitarian Response, AT&T
Andy Bailey serves as the Sr. Program Manager for Disaster & Humanitarian Response at AT&T. His role was created in 2017 after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria hit in succession. “Harvey was the catalyst,” Andy explains. “Being headquartered in Dallas, Harvey essentially hit our backyard. Company leaders realized that significant disasters were happening globally at a greater frequency and that we needed a focused strategy for disaster and humanitarian response.”
Asialee (Asia) Drews, Programs and Grantmaking, Western Union Foundation
Asia Drews oversees programs and grantmaking at the Western Union Foundation. Since July 2018, she has managed the Foundation’s disaster relief grantmaking portfolio and funded more than 30 global crises, including the Foundation’s 2020 COVID-19 $1 million plus global response. The Western Union Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Western Union and is a 501(c)3 entity separate from the company. While it is a separate organization, the Foundation’s mission to provide skills training and education to forcibly displaced individuals and youth aligns well with Western’s Union’s global business. “Our disaster response grantmaking strategy meets at the intersection where Western Union customers and employees live and work and where the most vulnerable populations live, including top host countries for migrants and refugees,” Asia explained. “One major reason that individuals are forcibly displaced is due to natural disasters and crises. We provide funding to support immediate relief and sustainable rebuilding for communities in crisis so they can build the resilience needed to recover and access economic opportunity and education.”