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Column: Corporate culture must include volunteerism

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Our community has experienced immense challenges over the past two years due to the pandemic. Local nonprofits and charitable organizations were particularly impacted as they faced increased demand for their services while losing in-person volunteers.

As we close out April, which is Global Service Month, it’s the perfect time to acknowledge the impact of Tulsa’s hardworking nonprofits and the importance of community involvement in their efforts.

City Year is a national service nonprofit with a strong history of service and volunteerism focused on creating an environment for students in schools. City Year Tulsa focuses heavily on schools and education with a goal to generate a service-oriented workforce in the Tulsa community.

A critical component of everything City Year does in Tulsa is the human connection. The pandemic has created challenges for everyone, but students were significantly affected by the isolation.

While monetary giving was up in 2021, volunteerism rates continued to trend downward. Many local nonprofits, like City Year, rely on volunteers to assist in delivering critical services to vulnerable communities.

Bank of America has been a longstanding partner for the local chapter, and the bank remained committed to that partnership throughout the pandemic. It offered virtual alternatives to traditional volunteerism like financial literacy training and mentorship opportunities for City Year corps members.

This empowered them not only to educate Tulsa youth but also become advocates for their own professional growth and financial success. Volunteers are critical to this process.

To help, many companies like Bank of America found unique ways to safely contribute and give back in Tulsa, such as touchless drop off school supplies for Restore Hope and food packaging supplies for Iron Gate.

One way to bolster employee volunteerism is to offer paid weekly time off to give back to the community. Despite the pandemic’s challenges, Bank of America saw success with this despite limited in-person activities, with local bank employees logging over 10,000 volunteer hours in 2021.

Supporting the work of organizations like City Year are not just investments in people, but in our community as a whole. By emphasizing that Tulsans are invested in them, students and corps members believe in themselves, are motivated to achieve their goals and build a future for themselves in Oklahoma.

Service is deeply important as community members renew their commitment to volunteerism through in-person opportunities making an impact in Tulsa. We encourage everyone to support causes they’re passionate about to raise awareness and advocate for community engagement.

Together, we can “Make Better Happen” by connecting our passion with purpose to ensure a brighter future for all.

Bill Lissau is the president of Bank of America Tulsa, and Paul Davis is the executive director of City Year Tulsa.

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