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Twin Cities Businesses Help Communities And Increase Morale With Work-For-Free Programs

From the latest micro-volunteering strategies to leveraging the technical expertise of food industry giants, companies in the Twin Cities and across the country are redefining the future of corporate service through pro bono volunteering. On Nov. 16, A Billion + Change will recognize Twin Cities businesses leading social change through pro bono service at a breakfast and panel discussion at the Mall of America.

This breakfast will spotlight the innovative ways companies are giving back to their communities at the start of the giving season, and will build on the momentum of A Billion + Change’s national campaign to mobilize billions in pro bono service from businesses across the country. The breakfast will be held from 7:45 to 8:30 a.m. in the Great Room at the Mall of America, and will feature a thought-provoking panel discussion with:
  • Kate Rubin, Vice President of Social Responsibility for UnitedHealth Group. United Health Group uses online micro-volunteering that enables its employees to contribute their professional skills to nonprofits by completing short assignments for nonprofits. More than 1,000 employees have volunteered this year, helping nearly 350 nonprofits in 17 countries.
  • Donna Svendsen, Associate Director of Community Action for General Mills, Inc. More than 300 General Mills employees have volunteered thousands of hours to lend technology and support to African farmers and food producers. By using big company food science and lending its professional expertise, General Mills has helped food producers, like SoyAfric, develop fortified and locally sourced food products for infants, seniors and people living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Katie Janowiak, Senior Specialist, Community Affairs at The Medtronic Foundation. The Medtronic Foundation has piloted a global skills-based employee volunteer program addressing diabetic caregiver awareness and gestational diabetes in India.

“Skills-based volunteering is a natural extension of our volunteering program,” said Rubin. “The micro-volunteering model is an ideal forum for busy people to plug into nonprofit projects and provide valuable insight and impact; feedback from employees has been nothing short of inspirational.”

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