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Caring for the Common Good: FedEx Cares Week

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I must admit: Before 2005, I was not a United Way donor.

I didn’t understand why I should if I already gave to local agencies in my community. But that year, I participated in the United Way “Loaned Executive” program, a FedEx effort that provides professional talent and leadership to help the United Way’s annual fundraising campaign. During orientation week, I visited more than a dozen nonprofits in the Mid-South that receive support from United Way.

Certainly I was aware of larger organizations with local affiliates, such as American Red Cross, but I didn’t know organizations such as Hope House, which helps children affected by or infected with HIV or AIDS; Memphis Oral School for the Deaf; or Shelby Residential and Vocational Services (SRVS), which provides comprehensive services for people with developmental disabilities. Such agencies provide the safety net that keep communities and their people healthy. Many of them rely on the United Way to keep their doors open. That year, I became a leadership giver to United Way.

After that experience with United Way, I was lucky enough to land my dream job in the Global Citizenship department at FedEx. Coincidentally, one of my first projects was to manage a little-known program called FedEx Cares Week, which had just launched to support the United Way campaign. Over the next several years, I worked with FedEx volunteer coordinators around the U.S. to nurture and foster the program, growing it from eight cities to the program it is today – a global initiative supported by all of our operating companies with more than 6,000 participants in 60 countries and more than 40 U.S. cities.

Though there is still a tie to the United Way, today FedEx Cares Week is so much more –a celebration of the FedEx culture of service, our willingness to collaborate to solve problems, and our commitment to give back to the communities where we live and work.   

The most rewarding experience has been watching the FedEx community come together to serve as a resource to coordinators around the world as they launch volunteer projects in communities large and small – from China and San Francisco to Chile and Boston. In a time when there are many skeptics of corporations, it is refreshing to see that the FedEx culture of service that is the foundation of this company is still alive and well in the hearts of its team members.

In celebration of its 40th anniversary, FedEx Cares Week is one of the many ways FedEx is giving back to the community. As a program coordinator, I see firsthand how excited local FedEx team members are about giving back to organizations and causes that matter most to them.

On the eve of FedEx Cares Week, I am so thrilled to watch these projects unfold and to see how the work of so many FedEx team members has paid off. Over the next couple of months, we’ll be sharing the stories of FedEx Cares Week activities, including:

  • New Jersey Shore – FedEx team will work with United Way of Essex and West Hudson in Union Beach to rebuild homes in an area completely devastated in the wrath of Superstorm Sandy.
  • Atlanta – We’re joining The Heart of America Foundation® and the DeKalb County School District to give Jolly Elementary School a vibrant, new READesign Reading Corner stocked with additional books for the library.
  • Colorado Springs – FedEx, along with Lowe’s and Target, will remodel a playground at the Salvation Army’s Red Shield Community Center.
  • Australia – FedEx will volunteer on behalf of Oz Harvest’s “Cooking for a Cause”, spending hours at a commercial kitchen with a professional chef to produce more than 1,000 meals for needy in the area.
  • Guangzhou, China – Volunteers will educate local residents about recycling through a presentation,brochures,and organized games.
  • Latin America – FedEx will work with TECHO to construct transitional houses, changing lives for homeless families and helping communities overcome extreme poverty.

In addition to the larger events, FedEx Cares Week also gives team members the chance to support the smaller organizations in their community. On September 20, I will be donning my own purple FedEx Cares T-shirt, and with a team of 15 FedEx team members, spend the day in the heart of the Mississippi Delta at the Tunica Humane Society, an oasis for abused, abandoned and neglected dogs and cats. As an animal lover and foster parent to more than a dozen homeless animals over the past decade, this is a cause that is near and dear to my heart.

As we begin FedEx Cares Week, I want to thank all of the FedEx team members who are coordinating events and the thousands of FedEx volunteers. You truly are ambassadors of this great company and I am proud of the work that you do to deliver a better world for people, businesses and communities.

In 2013, FedEx is launching its ninth annual FedEx Cares Week – a focused celebration of team members’ culture of service, collaboration, and community. Around the world, FedEx team members are giving back through volunteerism, charitable support and collaboration with local organizations and causes. From building transitional homes with TECHO in Latin America and planting trees in Thailand to rebuilding homes lost from Superstorm Sandy and supporting local food banks, FedEx team members care deeply about the communities where they live and work. With a global theme of “Uncommon Heroes, Common Good.”, FedEx volunteers are generating goodwill in their local communities by making a difference in people’s lives. In celebration of its 40th anniversary, FedEx Cares Week is one of the many ways FedEx is giving back to the community. Since FedEx Cares Week first launched in the U.S. in 2005, it has expanded to more than 60 countries and territories around the globe.

 

Comments (5) 

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Teresa..thanks you for organizing and the NJ Fedex cares Teams..what an Awesome Job everyone did to help Restore our NJ Shore! Team #1 wow did we do alot to put smiles on some faces. The home we worked on needed a new roof,pulling off the old roof installing a new roof, sheet rock -painting, lawnwork, weed pulling,putting up a restructured fence, painting it and so much more..we as Team #1 got it all done. It was a sad story at the house we worked on. The Dad and daughter were living in this house. Sandy hit and left alot of water damage, destruction at this home. The Dad unfortunately passed away with ALS recently he had a 17 year old daughter. The grandparents were doing what they could with little funding to restore the damages. The day we were working there was their sons' birthday..if you could have seen the parents faces and how grateful they were to have all the Fed Cares purple shirts working all over their house. Couldn't find a better way to give back and help Restore. PS Don't tell my husband that I was on a roof pulling shingles, yardwork, painting, I don't do these things at home. TEAM #1 you guys ROCK, and all the New Jersey FED EX CARES Team ...simply AWESOME! Lida Sharp- NJ FedEX Trade Networks

Julia, thanks so much for those wonderful comments. We would also like to thank you for your diligence in keeping us focus with the task at hand and preparing us for a successful fedex cares week. With that being said I would like to add that I have been the ewr fedex cares lead since the market has been participating in the program (2006). The project of "Rebuilding the Shore" is very personal for most of us participating on the 16th. We were all impacted one way or the other. So many families just recovered from IRENE and now find themselves doing it all over again due to "SUPER STORM SANDY". I have had such enormous response from so many employees from all OPCOS and all different titles for this event. I am confident we will be extremely successful in completeing our tasks of Rebuilding/demolition of 7 properties in Union Beach

Great blog post! "FedExers" are legendary in their support of United Way activities and fundraisers. I'm proud to work with so many caring and dedicated individuals.

Julia, as a fellow animal lover, thank you for sharing information about the Tunica Humane Society in north MS. This little shelter has faced many adversities from floods to tornadoes to frigid weather to budget cuts, but the one constant theme throughout its five years of existence is the unbelievable generosity of volunteers throughout the community. The additional blessing of being one of the non-profits to be honored during FedEx Cares Week this year is truly overwhelming, nothing short of a miracle for "the little shelter that could." Thank you again.

Julia, I truly enjoyed reading about your initial experience with United Way and the passion you've developed for such worthy community causes. FedEx volunteers are energized and ready to saturate communities around the world with the spirit of giving and caring. So exciting!

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