People often volunteer to “give back” to the community. But more often than not, the act of volunteering is a rewarding experience not just for the recipient of the generous act, but also to the individual who rendered service.
This year, over 85,000 Citi volunteers in more than 500 cities spanning 91 countries and territories engaged in service activities in their local communities. In the days leading up to and including Global Community Day, which was set on June 11, Citi colleagues, alumni, clients, family and friends volunteered on 1,400 service projects ranging from urban revitalization to literacy and education, career readiness, environmental conservation and disaster relief. Since the inaugural Global Community Day in 2006, Citi volunteers have contributed more than 2.5 million hours of service to Global Community Day projects in hundreds of cities.
Here in the Philippines, Citi saw nearly 4,200 volunteers participating in 19 events across 10 cities, working with 10 community partners including Bayan Academy for Social Entrepreneurship and Human Resource Development, Inc.
Bayan Academy is a long-time partner of Citi with whom it runs the Citi Foundation-funded the Citi Microenterprise Development Center (CMDC). Many senior executives at Citi have volunteered their time to mentor budding entrepreneurs on a range of topics, from personal finance to risk management.
For 11th Global Community Day, once again senior executives of Citi Philippines generously took the opportunity to use their time, skills and expertise to train, coach and mentor microentrepreneurs at CMDC.
Bayanihan at work
“I’m proud to say that volunteerism has become a time-honored tradition at Citi, more so since Global Community Day was introduced in 2006,” relates Aneth Lim, Citi Philippines’ Head for Corporate Citizenship. “Rain or shine, we can count on our volunteers to sign up and generously do their share in making their communities a better place. It can be as simple as sweeping the streets when we helped in the clean-up of Intramuros, Manila’s famous walled city. It can also be as life changing as sharing our skills to help a micro business owner take that leap and grow her business. Or just somewhere in between where we give our time and help the best way we can.”
Indeed, knowledge and expertise were freely shared by the senior executives of Citi who spent several mornings with budding entrepreneurs who have no means to go to school, on the fine points of personal finance and overseeing the financial aspect of their business.
Citi Markets Head Paul Favila says being a mentor is an emotionally rewarding experience, “It makes me feel good that we have this training haven to help and guide these micro entrepreneurs. It was truly humbling to be treated as“gurus.” We were told that what we shared will be shared further in their communities and that makes it even more fulfilling.”
Risk management was another topic covered in these volunteer sessions, and after two intensive trainings, Citi volunteers capped it with a morning of cooking lessons with community women, united in their mission to provide healthy meals for their families, as well as help CMDC scholars learn new dishes to serve up in their restaurants or catering businesses.
According to Dr. Eduardo A. Morato, Jr., Chairman & President: “”Bayan Academy heartily supports the annual Citi Global Community Day. After six years of productive partnership, Citi Foundation and Bayan Academy remain steadfast in the commitment to uplift the lives of micro entrepreneurs and their families. The annual Global Community Event makes this endeavor more special since Citi volunteers get to engage the beneficiaries of the Citi Microenterprise Development Center. This is a truly rewarding encounter for both the volunteers and the beneficiaries because they can share each other’s experiences and learn from one another.”
The spirit of volunteerism is alive and well at Citi and what its employees are learning is that “giving” is not just one way. Those who participated said they enjoyed engaging with their colleagues and their community partners and giving the time to do something of value to someone else.