Giving back has always been a core part of our culture at Acumium. This year, we’ve started using the term “Acumunity” to reflect our continuing focus on doing good, both within our Acumium family, and out to our broader Madison and Dane County-area communities.
This spring, we partnered with several local businesses to create Forward 4 Families, a non-profit community food stream architecture that combines local food sources and mobilizes businesses so every family can count on a safe, reliable food supply without leaving home.
Earlier this month, on World Kindness Day, we closed out our 2020 HackingKindness annual social good hackathon with the launch of a new website for the Foundation for Dane County Parks.
While community support and outreach is important year-round, the need for it always comes into sharper focus around the holidays. In a “normal” year, if COVID wasn’t adjusting all our plans, the Acumium team would have already done our annual backpack stuffing for the start of school. We'd just be finishing up a company food drive for Thanksgiving. Some of us would be scheduling upcoming volunteer shifts with Empty Stocking Club. We’d likely be adopting a family through the YWCA and going shopping for toys.
But, as we all know by now, 2020 is not a normal year. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still help. Because the need is so great, and there are so many opportunities, it can be hard to know where to start. As part of a Thanksgiving care package we're distributing to employees, we pulled together a shortlist of some organizations for our team's consideration as we think about donating time or money over the upcoming holidays. We thought we’d share it with you, too.
Second Harvest Food Bank
Since 1986, Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin has provided more than 100 million meals, serving the one in 10 people in southwestern Wisconsin who aren’t always sure where their next meal will come from.
They work with hundreds of local hunger-relief charities to distribute food, they're dedicated to providing healthy and nutritious food to those they serve, and they are a member of Feeding America, a nationwide network of member food banks, and the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization. Second Harvest is also a partner organization with Forward 4 Families.
How you can help
··· Purchase from their most-needed items list. Second Harvest has identified specific food donation needs for the holidays, including things like nut butters; soups and stews; canned fruits and vegetables; pasta and sauce; baby food and formula; and more.
··· Make a financial contribution. Direct donations are still one of the most powerful ways to help. With every $1 donated, Second Harvest can provide up to three meals to people in need.
Empty Stocking Club
Acumium has volunteered with Empty Stocking Club since 2018. Usually, families come to Alliant Energy Center for the two-day Toy Depot event where they get to pick out an age-specific toy for each child in their household. COVID has necessitated the organization retool their approach, but they're still going to distribute toys, and still need volunteer help.
While this will require in-person assistance, the Empty Stocking Club is doing everything possible to set up a safe environment, including requiring masks, keeping workstations separated, taking temperatures, and providing hand sanitizer. They are limiting the number of people coming into the facility and are asking for family units or other small pods to work together on the volunteer tasks.
Many volunteer opportunities are available from December 7 - 11, 2020. Sign up today to claim your spot.
Girls Who Code
Girls Who Code is working to close the gender gap in computing. They have served 300,000 girls around the world through their in-person educational programming, and have reached 500 million people through their online resources, campaigns, books, and advocacy work.
The best way for you to support Girls Who Code is to make a donation. Your contribution will help inspire, educate, and equip girls with computing skills that will help them become change agents in their communities.
Goodman Community Center
For 32 years, Goodman Community Center has done their Thanksgiving Basket Drive. They are expecting an all-time high on demand for baskets this year. They anticipate registering 4,000 families, comprising 22,000 Dane County residents, 10,000 of whom are children.
Right now, their greatest need is for donations of frozen turkeys and cranberry sauce, but they are accepting drop-offs of any donations from their food list. They also can always use monetary donations.
Maydm is working to break barriers and accelerate opportunities for girls and youth of color in grades 6-12 by offering them skill-based training in technology. Their goal is to help students from traditionally underrepresented populations get the technical education needed to help them become a contributing force in the tech industry.
How you can help
··· Donate money. Currently, your donation will help support Maydm’s campaign for Black Philanthropy Month.
··· Use AmazonSmile. Set Maydm as your charity and .5% of your upcoming purchases will go to them.
··· Be a mentor. There are technical and non-technical volunteer opportunities available throughout the year.
United Way of Dane County
The United Way of Dane County uses strategic partnerships and collaborative work to build a Dane County where everyone can succeed in school, work, and life.
How you can help
··· Volunteer your time (virtually or in person). Opportunities change often, but cover multiple interests like technology, education, food, medical, skilled labor, etc. Find the most current postings here. You can filter by Virtual Opportunity to see opportunities that can be done remotely.
··· Purchase a holiday gift card for a teen. Your $30 will go toward providing a gift card to a local teenager in the holiday gift program.
··· Support a local family by purchasing holiday wish list items. Help support 20 families this holiday season with donations of gift cards, winter gear, dolls, action figures, LEGO, art supplies, slime, youth books, headphones, and more.
··· See all nonprofit wish lists. There are currently 55 wish list opportunities, with needs ranging from diapers to horsemanship saddles.
For 109 years, the YWCA Madison has been at the forefront of the most pressing social movements. They are on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help local families, and strengthen the Madison community.
How you can help
··· Purchase from their Emergency Needs Wishlist. YWCA’s downtown Madison location is home to over 100 women and families. You can help ensure all residents have access to essential items by purchasing items from this list for YWCA’s distribution.
··· Purchase from their Amazon Wishlist. Items purchased from this list will ship directly to YWCA Madison (ensure you select “Kayalyn’s registry: YWCA Madison” in the check-out/address section).
··· Use AmazonSmile. Set YWCA Madison as your charity and .5% of your upcoming purchases will go to them.
Thank you for considering how you might help in our community this holiday season and beyond. We believe we’re stronger together, and, especially this year, the importance of kindness and supporting each other could not be more evident.
From our Acumium family to yours, we hope you have a happy (and healthy) Thanksgiving.