December 2019 marks a very special occasion for the Blackbaud family as it is the 20th anniversary of our annual toy drive benefitting Toys for Tots. Over the years, Blackbaud associates and board members have proven their generosity time and time again by giving to this company-wide fundraising campaign. In total, over 106,000 toys have been collected to date through the toy drive, making the holidays brighter for approximately 34,450 children. To take a walk through our headquarters in December, especially during toy season is a pretty magical experience. Associates become festive elves shopping for, assembling and staging thousands of toys in our main level. It is a scene truly best captured in photos, some of which have been shared here. If recipients of these items experience even half the joy this initiative brings to our Blackbaud family, then we have accomplished something truly special.
Toys for Tots unites so many across the United States to help get holiday gifts to less fortunate children, delivering a message of hope and caring at the holidays. Blackbaud is a proud partner of that effort and even prouder that our associates go above and beyond during the holiday season to support Toys for Tots as well as many other charitable organizations. Our teammates in Austin partnered with the Austin Police Department’s Operation Blue Santa; Bedford partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Manchester; Charleston, New York City and Plano collected toys for Toys for Tots; and St. Paul partnered with the Ronald McDonald House. Internationally, the Brisbane office collected toys for Queensland Department of Child Safety and Sydney collected books for Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation; Glasgow partnered with Community and Beyond Toy Bank; London collected items for Local Buyers Club Winter Toy Campaign and Toronto partnered with Nellie’s. Even more amazing, in San Jose, Costa Rica, our teammates collected toys for a remote community called Shikiaris and traveled nearly nine hours to hand deliver them to the children in that village.
As you can see, the toy drive is truly a team effort, encompassing all of our locations in the United States, Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia and our teammates working remotely. There is no shortage of creativity when it comes to supporting this cause! The mission of our toy drive has inspired many to join in: from chili cook-off fundraisers to unique swag campaigns and special team-building events, the festivities are numerous. But the spirit of giving does not end there. The annual toy drive is coupled with Blackbaud’s annual gift to the Good Cheer Fund which supports the Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Carolina Youth Development Center, Catholic Charities, Charleston Leadership Foundation, Lowcountry Food Bank, The Salvation Army and Star Gospel Mission. All of these important organizations are helping people in need during the holidays, and I am proud that Blackbaud has a long history of supporting the Good Cheer Fund. Since 1991, the company has donated more than $775,000 to this cause.
These are just some of many opportunities throughout the year that our associates have to give back to the communities they love by engaging in volunteering and/or giving. And, do they ever! This past year, 89% of employees shared their time and expertise with social good organizations in their communities giving over 100,000 volunteer hours to support causes that mattered to them. And 25% serve on community boards of social good organizations. Giving back is in our DNA!
This is hardly surprising given that Blackbaud embraces the shared value model, where at the very heart of the company we provide societal benefit. Our people know this, value it and are proud that what we do every day helps our customers deliver on their incredibly important missions.
The holidays are a special time at Blackbaud and the giving spirit can be felt throughout all of our locations and teams. As we bring a close to 2019 and embrace the exciting possibilities that a new year can bring, I am happy to share this message from the Blackbaud family to yours: Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year!