Imagine ending your workday feeling content and confident that you made a difference in your community, improved others’ lives, and had a great time doing it. That’s the impetus behind Day of Caring, a United Way of Greater Portland program that has been part of WEX culture for more than a decade. This year’s event, held on a summer-like day in May, brought more than 100 WEXers into the community for a variety of volunteer engagements.
“At WEX, we’re committed to our communities, and the Day of Caring brings that front and center in a very tangible way. This year, we have our strongest showing ever of participants, working to sort food, paint, garden, and participate in a myriad of other projects. Each year, WEX volunteers make a difference,” said Hilary Rapkin, senior vice president, general counsel.
This annual day of service comes alive at WEX thanks to the passionate support of internal champions who get employees engaged and help coordinate volunteer assignments. Earlier in the year, we made an open call to all employees to participate in Day of Caring, and we weren’t disappointed. In addition to WEXers who individually chose to volunteer, many departments also made the day a team-building exercise as a great way to be outside of the office working together on a project.
“For teams, it’s always nice to have time together and enjoy each other’s company. Our sales operations team rallied in the morning to tackle some landscaping and some light carpentry at a local adult day center. When our work was done, we continued our department tradition of grabbing lunch together to wrap up the day,” said Kathryn Connolly, manager of sales training and a co-chair of this year’s United Way campaign at WEX.
Day of Caring focuses on helping local organizations tackle activities that they often don’t have the time, budget or volunteers to easily accomplish. This year, WEXers spruced up a facility for Goodwill Industries, sorted food for distribution at the Salvation Army, supported youth literacy training, restocked the teachers’ store at Ruth’s Reusable Resources, lent a hand at Riding to the Top, and participated in a variety of gardening projects. In addition to the practical accomplishments made during the day, people also came away with greater understanding of the community organization and its mission.
“I always thought volunteering was hard work, having to organize where and when you volunteer. WEX offering the Day of Caring made it really easy to volunteer and I could do it with my team who provided a lot of encouragement,” said Peter Wood, content analyst for sales training at WEX who volunteered for the first time this year.
Our Legacy of Support
WEX has a long-standing relationship with the United Way of Greater Portland, and our partnership represents our largest community engagement with participation in both the annual workplace campaign and Day of Caring. Rapkin notes that, while the United Way is the largest community organization that WEX works with, we also have a very broad roster of groups supported throughout the all the communities we call home.
Last year we extended our United Way support to be a nationwide campaign spanning all our U.S. offices. “This national campaign creates greater momentum for the work we can accomplish for the United Way, while still ensuring that all the dollars donated and time volunteered by employees go into their local communities,” adds Rapkin.