Xerox Employees Receive Paid Leaves to Focus on Community Service
Aiming to make a measurable impact on the places they work and live, eight Xerox Corporation (NYSE: XRX) employees are taking sabbaticals to tackle full-time community service projects throughout 2006 – while their full pay continues from Xerox.
For up to a year, the employees will apply their technical, business and personal skills to address a range of social issues, such as advocating for abused children, supporting military families, improving emergency response systems, and more.
The leaves of absence are part of The Xerox Foundation’s long-standing Social Service Leave initiative, which has granted sabbaticals of up to one year to 469 employees since the program began in 1971. One of few corporate sabbatical programs that provide paid opportunities for employees to volunteer full-time, Social Service Leave is believed to be the oldest of its kind in American business.
“Xerox people have a long tradition of investing their own time and talent to make communities better,” said Anne M. Mulcahy, Xerox chairman and CEO. “Offering this unique Social Service Leave is the strongest way for Xerox to further encourage and reward that kind of generosity. It’s a part of our unwavering belief in demonstrating corporate responsibility to our stakeholders and throughout our operations.”
Xerox estimates that through the collective efforts of Social Service Leave participants, it has donated about a half-million volunteer hours over the past 34 years.
Under the leave, the eight Xerox people will work for nonprofit agencies in seven states to accomplish projects of the employees’ design and choosing. The 2006 Xerox Social Service Leave participants are:
- Harry C. Burch, engineering specialist, Rochester, N.Y.: 6 months with the Rochester Fire Department to help implement an interactive information system that will link local emergency services into a central repository.
- Katelyn Dyer, business development manager, Rochester, N.Y.: 6 months with Junior Achievement of Rochester to oversee fundraising efforts and to develop a marketing plan.
- Ken McClellan, production systems analyst, Bensalem, Pa.: 3 months with the Interfaith Housing Development Corp., a Bristol-based nonprofit developer of affordable housing for low-income families, to restructure databases of critical information and provide IT support.
- Susan E. Mead, global purchasing manager, Portland, Ore.: 3 months with the Girl Scouts Columbia River Council to help recruit and teach students at a camp that introduces young girls to opportunities in engineering, design and technology.
- Kathleen L. Norman, solutions consultant, Wilmington, Ohio: 12 months with the National Military Family Association in Alexandria, Va., to conduct grant-writing, fundraising and marketing in support of projects like camps for children of deployed service members and education aid for military spouses.
- Judy E. Sarmiento, account associate, Oakland, Calif.: 12 months with California Indian Legal Services, which provides legal representation and other services to low-income people, to provide training, technical assistance, outreach materials, fundraising and more.
- Charlene Saulter, field service manager, Stone Mountain, Ga.: 6 months to serve as an advocacy coordinator and volunteer supervisor for Court Appointed Special Advocates in Decatur, Ga., a group that supports abused and neglected children under the protection of the juvenile court.
- Susan V. Schmidberger, national sales support associate, Glen Rock, N.J.: 6 months with the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to help develop a “parent-to-parent” network with the New Jersey and New York chapters and a national parent support database.
Social Service Leave was conceived by former Xerox president Archie McCardell in 1970. He and another Xerox executive were on a flight from California, where they had made a donation to a university on behalf of Xerox. A conversation about how “easy” it was to give money turned into a discussion about what kind of philanthropic gesture would represent a genuine sacrifice for Xerox. They concluded that the company’s most valuable asset was its employees, and that offering employees’ time would demonstrate a true philanthropic commitment by the company.
Then-CEO C. Peter McColough said in a letter to employees announcing the program in 1971: “Each year we contribute several million dollars to worthwhile institutions and projects. Yet we don’t think that’s enough … so we decided to offer what we can least afford to give – the full-time service of Xerox people.”
Social Service Leave represents just one of the ways that employees volunteer in their communities with Xerox support, and it was among the programs that helped Xerox earn the 2005 U.S. Community Service Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Center for Corporate Citizenship. Philanthropy is a fundamental component of Xerox's corporate citizenship efforts, which include environment and health programs, diversity and employee support, ethics initiatives and more.