Lifting Up Communities on the National Day of Service

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Two women wearing masks are volunteering
© Getty Images

As the nation honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through the National Day of Service yesterday, organizations are activating their workforce to combat systemic inequities and build more resilient communities. While the country navigates the impacts of the Omicron variant on its healthcare system and supply chains, the importance of supporting one another, especially the most vulnerable populations, is more important than ever.

Here are some ways the business community is giving back to improve communities.

Aramark, a leading food, facilities, and uniforms provider, believes in the spirit of building the Beloved Community of Dr. King's dream, and is encouraging employees to get involved in virtual opportunities, join the Aramark Ally network, register with an Employee Resource Group (ERG), volunteer at a local nonprofit, or use the day to learn more about social justice work. Beyond these opportunities on January 17, Aramark hosts an annual Aramark Building Community (ABC) Day, which engages thousands of colleagues around the world to participate in safe volunteer service that reduces inequity, supports local communities, and protects our planet.

Since 2008, more than 70,000 volunteers have dedicated their time on ABC Day. Through their efforts, this program has reached more than five million children and families in underserved communities around the world.

“Aramark employees are resilient, united by our purpose to have a positive impact on people and the planet,” said Jami Leveen, Vice President of Community Partnerships at Aramark. “Even with the challenges presented by COVID-19, we were able to adjust to support dozens of nonprofit community partners, whether that meant providing grants, organizing smaller local activities, or hosting virtual events.”

Volunteers at an Aramark community service event

Volunteers at an Aramark community service event
Volunteers at an Aramark community service event in 2021
© Aramark

Raytheon Technologies, one of the largest aerospace and intelligence services providers, is partnering with nonprofit The Mission Continues to support its 2022 Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service. The Mission Continues works to empower veterans to continue their service to improve educational resources, tackle food insecurity, and more within under-resourced neighborhoods. Through Raytheon’s partnership, The Mission Continues has organized a number of virtual and in-person opportunities across the country for veterans and others to affect positive change in their communities.

Beyond the National Day of Service, companies are expanding their approach to volunteering year-round in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. ViacomCBS recently leaned into virtual volunteerism, transforming initiatives like the ViacomCBS annual day of service (now called Virtual Community Day) and the company’s holiday-focused “Season of Giving” campaign into fully remote programs. ViacomCBS has empowered employees to support nonprofit organizations and champion their favorite causes from anywhere in the world. For last year’s Virtual Community Day in New York City, nearly 400 ViacomCBS employees and 9 organizations came together to offer mentorship and career readiness skills for young people in underserved communities.

Additionally, the ViacomeCBS Unlimited Potential (UP) Mentoring program, which provides high schoolers with exposure to the media industry, has also shifted to virtual to ensure that students continue to learn about the entertainment industry and grow their professional network despite the pandemic’s social challenges. This year, the company plans to revamp their award-winning Talent For Good skills-based volunteer program and is constantly looking at innovative ways to engage employees and positively impact more communities than ever before.