US companies in Belgium are actively engaged in the local communities in which they operate, according to a new report by AmCham Belgium. Here are just a few examples of their community impact projects:
3M: 3M Fonds Science Challenge
The Science Challenge is a contest for classes or teams of secondary schools in the Benelux. The purpose is to make them excited about science, technology engineering and math (STEM), so that sufficient technical and scientific skilled young people graduate and find their way to the workplace.
AbbVie: Red Cross blood donation
Each year, AbbVie calls on its employees to save lives by giving blood. They invite the Red Cross for a blood donation collection in front of the offices in Wavre, and also invite neighboring companies to participate in this citizenship activity.
AIG: Volunteer work at Les Fauteuils Volants
Les Fauteuils Volants is a non-profit where AIG employees spend a day to support children with physical disabilities for fun activities and assistance, also giving the families of the children the opportunity to have a day off.
Albemarle: Work with Pinocchio
Pinocchio is a non-profit dedicated to supporting burn victims. Staff donate time and money to educate children around the country about fire safety.
Baltimore Aircoil Company: Support for Hestival
This project supports a free music festival organized by the youth of the local community.
Cargill: Organization of Earth Day
Employees are involved in Earth Day projects in all its locations. This can be anything from cleaning up the environment around the plant or office, planting trees in a park or gardening in schools. The objective of the latter is to teach children (mainly in underprivileged neighborhoods) what healthy food is, and that healthy food can be grown in small gardens or even in just a pot on a windowsill.
Cisco: Organization of g4g Day
Greenlight for Girls (g4g) is an international non-profit organization dedicated to inspire girls of all ages and backgrounds to pursue STEM studies (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The project, g4g Day, is designed for girls aged 11-16, where Cisco employees host an interactive, hands-on day of workshops to get girls excited about STEM subjects.
Coca-Cola: Volunteering for Special Olympics
For over 25 years, Coca-Cola has been an active partner of Special Olympics Belgium, the largest sports organization in Belgium for mentally handicapped people. And that commitment goes a lot further than product support. Some 200 Coca-Cola volunteers assisted more than 2,000 athletes during the 10-day European Summer Games that were held in Antwerp in September 2014.
Cummins: Support for Freedom of Mobility project
This project supports the non-profit Pegode with their mission to give people with reduced mobility more independence and control over their own lives. There are three dimensions to the project: (1) the ‘Fun to Go’ program which makes cycling more accessible for people with a disability; (2) providing access to a wheelchair-friendly automobiles for people in the local community; and (3) advocating for increased resources/awareness about accessibility issues with regard to public transportation in Belgium.
Dell: Support for Transplantoux
Transplantoux is an initiative which helps recent surgery patients recover from their organ transplant through being active in sport. The ultimate goal for some in the program is to cycle up the infamous Mont Ventoux in France, which symbolizes their gratefulness to their donor in getting a second shot at life.
Dow Corning: Support for ESoP
SoP is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting people in need by taking initiatives to tackle poverty and exclusion. Food aid makes up most of their emergency measures, although they provide other administrative types of social assistance. ESoP started a substantial renovation project of their building with a generous donation from Dow Corning in 2013.
FedEx: Support of research study on young runaways
This study is designed to focus on the profile and experiences of young runaways between 12 and 17 years old. A runaway can be considered any minor voluntarily leaving his or her home or the social welfare service where s/he lives. In order to assure the scientific base and quality of this study, Child Focus will team up with an academic partner.
IBM: Workshops for Brussels Integration Center
IBM employees provide ICT workshops to immigrants who are involved in an integration track with BON (Brussels Onthaal). IBM provides basic ICT training (how to use the PC) and teaches them the basics of the internet.
Manpower Group: Organized jobseeker training
In collaboration with FOREM and Actiris, Manpower Belgium organizes different types of coaching programs in different towns in Wallonia and in Brussels. The ‘Job Orientation’ program helps people to regain confidence in themselves, discover (or rediscover) their own talents, skills and personal qualities, and build a new career plan. The ‘Road to a Job’ program is about job search techniques.
MasterCard: Volunteer work with YouthStart
The project’s mission is to teach entrepreneurship to low-income youth, helping them to become economically productive members of society. The project consists of a program involving hands-on and interactive learning across the range of skills and capabilities required to build, launch and run a small business. Through the program trainees discover that what they learn in the classroom is relevant to the ‘real-world’. Many MasterCard employees help with trainings, mentoring and evaluation of trainees.
MSD (Merck & Company): Health Literacy Well Done Awards
Low levels of health literacy result in individuals who are hospitalized more often, because they have problems navigating the healthcare system and are not aware of the dangers associated with not following correct treatment instructions. The initiative is aimed at increasing awareness of this critical issue by awarding prizes to community and individual projects which target this problem. Since its creation in 2013, more than 100 projects have been submitted, and this figure is increasing year after year.
Temco: Recycling electronic waste
Belbos aims to tackle the problem of e-waste by collecting old mobile phones for proper recycling and in turn plants a tree for every phone collected. Temco employees organized a two-week drive for unused phones to support Belbos.
UPS: Volunteer work at L’Espoir
L’Espoir is a home for children (3 to 18 years) which have been placed there by the court because of their difficult family environment. UPS employees have helped with activities such as taking the children to fun events, but have also done practical jobs such as gardening, painting and repair work.