“With great privilege comes great responsibility.”
This has always been one of my favorite quotes and it applies perfectly to the Bazaarvoice weeklong event and tradition of b:generous Week happening globally at the end of September. Inspired by one of our seven core values, Generosity (the others being Passion, Innovation, Authenticity, Respect, Teamwork, and Performance), b:generous happens the week of Sept. 26 – 30. What started as just a day, dedicated to causes we believe in and service to our community, has grown into an entire week, offering a wide selection of opportunities to give back in ways that are diverse, meaningful and often personal.
b:generous Week is truly one of my favorite weeks at Bazaarvoice because it helps remind us of how fortunate we are to work at such a great company in such a great city, state, and country. The fact that our leadership has decided to invest an entire week’s time to encourage our employees to serve their communities shows how important we feel it is to both our corporate and individual health, as well as the health of the community around us.
Personally, I recognize that by pure luck I was fortunate enough to be born into a family and circumstances that allowed me to get a good education, which provided me with additional opportunities to succeed. I feel that it is my obligation to give back, especially to those who have not been as fortunate as I have been. I believe that many of us here at Bazaarvoice share the same gratitude for our good fortune and understand the obligation to give back.
With b:generous Week, we can truly live the tech mantra of “making the world a better place” through targeted service opportunities for a diverse number of causes and nonprofit organizations such as Dress for Success, Goodwill, GirlStart, Austin Pets Alive, and Urban Roots. We also each get a chance to share our personal passion for our favorite causes with everyone at the company and around the globe. All you have to do is sign-up at the b:generous Sign-Up Fair a few weeks ahead. There you may choose to volunteer your time – whether a few hours or an entire day – your talent, services or sign-up to donate, depending on your schedule and interests. Multiple causes and organizations are represented, so you can pick the one that speaks most to you. You can even get members of your family or team involved in working on a project. In the past, teams around the world have committed to bike rides in Paris or days of service in San Francisco. Or, if you can’t commit any weekend time, you can find a variety of easy ways that may fit your budget and schedule throughout the week.
One of my favorite causes is Posada Esperanza, a family shelter for immigrant mothers and their children who are escaping domestic or cultural violence. Occupying four homes in East Austin, they currently house 14 mothers and nearly 30 children! Most of the residents stay three-to-six months and 96 percent find places to live and transition into independent housing within that time.
b:generous Week has allowed me to greatly expand one of the projects I had been doing on my own to help the moms at Posada Esperanza. What I call the “Posada Mom” bags are new, reusable shopping bags filled with all of the basic personal care items a mom with children could need.
At last year’s b:generous Sign-Up, I ended-up ‘manning’ the information table due to the fact that my sister, the founder, and director of Posada Esperanza couldn’t make it – I supplied 40 bags, with a shopping list clipped to each. Individuals and teams signed-up to fill bags. It was a beautiful sight to see the overflowing bags that came in at the close of b:generous Week.
These simple things that we can take for granted provide a wonderful welcome gift for moms who are struggling to do the best for their families. It is difficult to imagine not being able to get the basic supplies to care for myself or my children – everything from toothpaste and shampoo to deodorant and diapers.
This is the fourth year these bags have been shared with the Posada Moms (and the second year for b:generous). It is astounding how impactful the bags have been for these women. There have been too many times when a mother has arrived at Posada with absolutely nothing. To be handed this bag of welcome items is truly a gift that can help them get their families settled in a dignified way.
Supporting Posada Esperanza is a family affair at my house. Last year, my 11-year-old son took the project beyond personal care items and decided we needed books for each family. He organized a book donation drive at his school to start a library at the shelter for the kids, and now, there is a wonderful library for the residents, and a gift of a book is given to each child as they leave Posada Esperanza to go to their new, more permanent home.
To b:generous is easy, especially when the company you work for believes it is as important as Bazaarvoice does. Not only are we reminded every day of how lucky we are to work and live where we do, but we’re reminded how far a few good deeds can go, and how little effort it sometimes takes to share what you have or show that you care. What a privilege!
Austin’s b:generous Sign-Up will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 31 in the All-Hands/Cafeteria from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Participating charities will have tables, representatives and information packets to help Bazaarvoice employees decide how to b:generous. Other national and international Bazaarvoice offices will spearhead their own efforts for the week.