From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Volunteering & Giving Back


Every day millions of people show up at non-profit organizations around the world and “report to work.” They represent the army of caring, compassionate volunteers who are essential in making the lives of countless millions of people better because they give. They give of their time, and in some cases, of their treasure. One is not more important than the other.

In this book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Volunteering & Giving Back, you will take many journeys around the world with people who have found their passion. You will understand firsthand how volunteering your time can transform causes that are important to you. If you feel that volunteering has become more of an obligation than a desire, maybe it is time to reevaluate how you share your time. This book may inspire you to hit the reset button and try giving to something completely new or find new ways to contribute to the same organization.

Giving is an integral part of our life. My husband John and I have actively contributed to our community since the day we got married. In some endeavors we gave of our time, for some we contributed treasure, and in many we gave both. As a couple, we have found that as much as we love spending time together, our favorite volunteer tasks are completely different. John loves to read books to children; it’s in his DNA, and you can honestly see him light up. I, on the other hand, love construction. Interior Design was my major and I love making things with my own hands. Give me a nail gun or a jackhammer and I light up. One opportunity is not more important or better than the other; rather, it is what sings to our hearts and gives us the most fulfillment.

Corporate Social Responsibility is something that most of us are familiar with. In 1997 Cisco gave a large gift to establish the Cisco Foundation. The Foundation was established as a totally separate organization with its own board of directors. This was the beginning of what has become a significant presence of tech companies giving back in their communities. I am really proud to say that John P. Morgridge, my father-in-law, was a part of launching the movement. Today, the Foundation is still in place, focusing on many things, including access to education, health care, economic improvement and disaster relief. What’s more touching is the employee matching program and volunteer program that Cisco has put in place; it is just part of their culture. It is in Cisco’s DNA to make money, and it is embedded in their corporate culture to give back: both time and treasure. When you have a global workforce of more than 70,000 people, the impact one company can have is overwhelming!

Bank of America is another company dedicated to making a global impact by giving both time and treasure. They are on a mission to give back two billion dollars. This is their stated goal and it is in their mission — a global organization with a local touch. What really stands out is their employee volunteer time. They have reported more than two million volunteer hours given by Bank of America employees. According to The NonProfit Times, the time volunteered in 2013 was worth an estimated 163 billion dollars.

Amy Newmark and her husband Bill Rouhana have published more than 100 Chicken Soup for the Soul books since they purchased the company with an investor group in 2008. They made a decision to donate proceeds from every book to address the complex needs of our community, from hunger to our four-legged loved ones. Amy and Bill understand the power of helping others, and lead by producing epic books that are fresh and relevant for us to read, share and to be inspired by.

As you read through this book, identify the stories that you love the most. Compare them to your own volunteer activity or giving. You might be doing exactly what you want, and if so, share your successes, or better yet, invite friends to share their time with you. If you are looking for a new fit, these stories will inspire you to find what is out there and make a difference by connecting with an organization or cause that inspires you. Young or old, rich or poor, we all have something to share. It’s a matter of finding your passion and then doing something that will not only have an impact on the recipient, but also on you.

~Carrie Morgridge

Author of Every Gift Matters

Vice President, The Morgridge Family Foundation

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