Blackbaud Newsroom

Associate-Centered CSR: Dreamwell Theatre Company

This post is a part an ongoing series highlighting the give-back work of our associates.

At Blackbaud, we practice what we call “associate-centered Corporate Social Responsibility.” This philosophy puts our employees at the center of our giving by empowering them to choose causes and organizations that are meaningful to them.

Our Reward Your Passion grants program puts this philosophy into practice. Started in 2007, this program gives employees the opportunity to apply for a grant on behalf of an organization where they volunteer, either as a hands-on on skills-based volunteer, even serving as a member of the organization’s board of directors. A committee of associates from all across Blackbaud (geography and function) review the applications and score them based on the associate’s commitment to the organization. While we love to see people giving hours of their time to a particular cause, the passion behind that commitment is what is most important. Why is an organization important to someone? What is it about their mission that makes our colleague so committed to help? The answers to these questions and the committee’s reviews result in the top 20 applications receiving a grant each quarter.

Ali Zimmerman, a colleague from Blackbaud’s Indianapolis office, is a founder and current volunteer for the Dreamwell Theatre Company and board chair at Hear Indiana. She is very familiar with our Reward Your Passion program and has received grants on behalf of both organizations.

“Blackbaud’s Reward Your Passion grant is a great way to help an organization and make you feel good about the company you work for,” said Zimmerman. “Fundraising can be a huge challenge for many organizations, especially unrestricted funds. Blackbaud is very aware of those challenges and makes the process easy for employees to apply. I’ve received two grants in the past and hope to do more in the future for other organizations. With the opportunities being quarterly, it’s easy to apply on my schedule or when I know an organization needs a little extra. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to easily help further the social good in our communities. I’m proud to work for a company that gives back.”

“Maintaining a small community theatre group is no easy feat, let alone keeping it going for twenty years,” said Stephen Polchert, executive director of the Dreamwell Theatre Company. “With the generosity of companies like Blackbaud, we are not only celebrating twenty years of cutting edge theatre, we’re also given the hope that we can continue our mission for yet another twenty years. Thank you so much!”

Through our grants program, we see colleagues apply annually for the same organizations, demonstrating their everyday commitment to these organizations and their missions. We see colleagues who may be new to volunteering or new to an organization embrace the mission and work of an organization and take it on as their own. Volunteers, whether hands-on or skills-based, are critical to the success of any organization and we’re proud of our colleagues and their commitment both personally and professionally to the social good sector. They are making a difference in their communities through their volunteer efforts. Thanks to their efforts, we have the privilege and the honor to fund organizations across the world through the Reward Your Passion program. Going forward, we will use this blog to announce and highlight organizations who receive these grants. We hope you enjoy learning about the organizations our colleagues serve.