#TeamDow celebrates International Volunteer Day

 

Dow volunteers in Poland participate in a Pulling Our Weight clean-up event

Dec 05, 2021 | Case Study

Recent times have challenged us all. The data is startling. Our communities and the world face a global pandemic, unprecedented disasters from hurricanes to floods and deep-rooted racial inequalities and systemic injustices that affect many of our families, neighbors and colleagues.

While the pandemic changed how people engaged for impact, local restrictions and safety remained top priorities. Employees rose to the challenge to ensure our communities, nonprofit partners and schools were supported while advancing our ambition. Today on International Volunteer Day, we celebrate how our employees have continued to be active in the communities where they work and live.

“People are the catalyst for change, which has been both needed and challenged more than ever. We remained steadfast in working to make things better,” said Justin Land, Program Officer, Dow Global Citizenship. “Being apart was difficult; volunteering proved to be a platform where employees could come together for a higher purpose. I was repeatedly impressed by how colleagues created new ways to engage in our communities while keeping safety at the forefront.”


Challenge

Stay engaged and connected

Over the past few years, organizations experienced a decline in participation rates in their employer-volunteer programs, and the pandemic accelerated this trend. In fact, the 2021 edition of the Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose’s (CECP) Giving in Numbers report outlined, “The reduction in in-person volunteering yielded a drop in the median volunteered hours, which decreased by 37% between 2018 and 2020.” In 2021 the trend continued as the global health crisis continued and lockdowns persisted in many countries, but Team Dow stayed agile and provided a hand up to those who needed it most.


Solution

Be purposeful, embrace uncharted possibilities and celebrate through service

Volunteerism as we have known it has experienced seismic shifts – limits to physical gatherings, advancements in coming together virtually and the requirements of facial coverings and social distancing.

Volunteers worked relentlessly to make things better. Here’s how we tackled the challenge:

  • Be purposeful: By listening and collaborating, Dow’s focus and investment on strategic employee engagement initiatives such as #PullingOurWeight, MLK Day, Pride Month and our ALL IN ERG Fund intensified in 2021. They provided employees with opportunities to learn about sustainability, inclusion, diversity and equity issues that matter to them and to Dow and address the needs of their own communities. We also launched our first-ever global Volunteer and Employee Resource Group (ERG) Participation Policy.
  • Embrace uncharted possibilities: We have not pretended to have all the answers, but with our purpose-driven approach, Dow made some meaningful changes that made a difference. Some of our most significant opportunities in 2021 embraced technology in new ways so engagement opportunities could span borders. And the Company launched a global Employee Relief Fund at the start of the North Atlantic Hurricane season in June, which provides a new and needed conduit to help colleagues around the world impacted by disasters.
  • Celebrate through service: 2021 has been a milestone year and provided an opportunity to create a positive impact. Let us share a few examples: Employees in Canada completed 60 #PullingOurWeight cleanups in celebration of our 60 years of safe and reliable operations in Alberta. Dow marked 25 years of partnership with Kelly® by intentionally coming together through volunteer opportunities across our shared footprints. Most importantly, through volunteer efforts, many employees were able to come together and see each other in person for the first time since the pandemic began…that is a reason to celebrate.

Results

Creating impact together

The underlying desire to make a difference is unwavering. Thanks to more than half of the Dow workforce who continue to volunteer, despite facing many barriers.

Advancing sustainable solutions

  • Business Impact Fund project leads created eight new shared value projects that will use Dow products or expertise for social good and impact 12 countries
  • Addressing waste in the environment through Pulling Our Weight
    • To date: 184 events completed, 5,816 participants collected 294,953 pounds of waste removed. Additionally, 16,863 items collected and tracked via the Alliance to End Plastic Waste’s Clean4Change Litterati App

Building inclusive communities

  • MLK Day
    • First year MLK Jr. Day was a U.S. paid holiday and an opportunity for a day of service
    • 800+ Dow volunteers engaged through 2,700 hours of service in 34 in-person and remote opportunities.
  • Project leads from our ALL IN ERG Fund supported 25 projects in 16 countries to address their local communities’ most pressing inclusion, diversity, and equity challenges.
  • North America United Way campaign
    • To date: >$2,6MM and counting pledged by 4,678 employees to support underrepresented individuals and families in the communities where Dow employees live, work and play.

Developing tomorrow's innovators

  • Invested in FIRST robotics expansion in 18 countries and directly supported over 100 teams where Dow employees had the opportunity to mentor: 95% of those teams are supported by a Dow volunteer.
  • Through Chemistry of Teachers, a program executed in partnership with Öğretmen Akademisi Vakfı, Dow employees in Turkey are supporting the professional development of chemistry teachers across the country.
  • Team Dow also partnered with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE): experiments developed by Dow employees were shared and used by the AIChE-Dow K-12 STEM Ambassadors to promote the teaching of science through interactive learning experiences.

Disaster relief, recovery and resiliency

  • Launched the Employee Assistance Fund
    • $46,835 donated through 269 donations
    • Supported 414 colleagues affected by Hurricane Ida, Hurricane Nicholas, and flooding in India with $474,733 in relief funding.
  • Eight employees from our VetNet ERG deployed with Team Rubicon to support Hurricane Ida and flood relief efforts across the Gulf Coast.

Infographic detailing some results of Dow volunteer efforts

On International Volunteer Day and every day, we celebrate the Dow volunteers who engaged for impact in our communities to help address this year’s most pressing challenges. We applaud the tireless work, not just of Team Dow but of our partners and fellow volunteers across the globe. Thank you for dedicating your time and effort to ensure the inclusion of those often left behind.