“Volunteering means giving back to the universe – and when you give good, you get good. I strongly believe that.” – Stacy Richardson
Out of 15 years as a 3M employee, Stacy Richardson has spent 13 of them working as a dedicated volunteer for local organizations. It came as no surprise to friends and family when Stacy became 3Mgives’ 2017 Volunteer Award winner. She began volunteering with the Girl Guides of Canada as a Girl Guide Leader, later joining Threads of Life as a committee member. Stacy also donates her time as the London Chair of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineers (CSSE).
The 3Mgives Volunteer Award granted Stacy with $2000 to donate to a charity of her choice. Stacy donated $1000 to Threads of Life, and $1000 to the United Way. Stacy plans to continue to advocate for volunteerism at home and through 3Mgives.
3M global volunteer day unites employees around the world to create a wave of global impact. 2018 marks the fourth annual global volunteer day.
The 3Mgives volunteer awards annually honour the contributions of our 3Mers who create extraordinary impact in our Canadian communities through volunteerism. This tradition encompasses 30 years as we continue to recognize and reward philanthropic values in our workplace.
In partnership with PYXERA Global (US, English), multiple teams of 3Mers travel the world to communities and collaborate with local non-profit organizations, government agencies and social enterprises to help solve environmental and social issues. For two weeks, our 3Mers utilize their honed skills to create lasting action plans that will continue to drive change long after their time on-site.
“Learning about a new culture, working in a totally different environment… It’s life-changing,” said Cathy Warner.
Cathy is a digital channel communication specialist who has been with 3M for 27 years. For her pro bono work assignment, she and 3M colleagues from the US worked with social enterprise HappyTap in Ho Chi Minh City.
HappyTap began as a non-profit funded through the global WaterSHED initiative. The organization provides fun, colourful hand-washing stations, called LaBobos, to local schools, individuals and government agencies. Their goal is to raise awareness of hand-washing among three- to five-year olds and make handwashing a natural behaviour for the next generation of Vietnamese.
When Cathy and her international colleagues arrived, HappyTap was transitioning from donation-funded non-profit to sustainable social enterprise. The team was tasked with finding ways to fund the company’s social mission and support the sale of LaBobos.
“I know first-hand the challenges people face in developing economies,” said Ibrahim Al-Rafia, who grew up in the same Bangladeshi city where economist, social entrepreneur and Nobel laureate Mohammad Yunus founded Grameen Bank to lift people out of poverty with micro-finance.
Ibrahim Al-Rafia knows how a seemingly small, local initiative can have a powerful impact on people’s lives. When the opportunity arose in 2017 to participate in 3M Impact, the senior product development chemist jumped at the opportunity to help any way he could.
Ibrahim and two US 3Mers were assigned to work with an NGO called Biji Biji in Kuala Lumpur. Their goal was to develop STEM educational modules for Malaysian teens. The Malaysian government had provided Biji Biji funding to promote STEM-based education. The country is keen to increase the number of Malay students who pursue STEM disciplines in university, equipping the country to better participate in the global economy.
During their two-week placement, Ibrahim’s 3M team taught the students how to make slime, instant snow, and the not-a-solid-not-a-liquid material known as “ooblek.” The exercises, along with half a dozen other hands-on demos, were designed to get the students excited about material science and nanotechnology. The team also taught the Biji Biji team members how to replicate the demos for future students.