We noticed our client Prometheus Real Estate Group doing some pretty incredible stuff with their volunteer program (known as Our Front POrCH), including their annual “POrCH Challenge”. So, we caught up with Savannah Van Voorhis, Reputation & Cause Marketing Manager at Prometheus and asked her to share what makes Our Front POrCH shine.
Here’s what she had to say.
VolunteerMatch (VM): First of all, I know your annual “POrCH Challenge is currently happening. Can you explain what that is?
Savannah Van Voorhis (SV): Each year, our volunteer program, known as Our Front POrCH, selects a nonprofit to partner with in each of the four regions where Prometheus operates. Then, for 11 weeks, Prometheus engages “Neighbors” (AKA our residents), vendors, family, and friends to participate in our giving campaign for the four chosen partners. The goal is to raise $5,000 for each nonprofit, and Prometheus will match contributions dollar for dollar — even if the goal isn’t reached!
The 2017 POrCH Challenge is dedicated to JW House in Santa Clara, Oregon Food Bank in Portland, Outdoors for All in Seattle, and Loaves and Fishes in San Jose. These nonprofit partners were nominated by our employees (AKA Prometheans). We welcome everyone to have a voice in who we support as an organization. Our passion projects come from all directions, not just top down.
VM: What other initiatives does Our Front POrCH offer besides the challenge?
SV: Our Front POrCH lives all year long. Prometheans can use volunteer hours to champion causes near to their hearts. We also offer organized events to make volunteering effortless.
Prometheans can swing a hammer at Habitat for Humanity, we can be spotted at Make-A-Wish’s Brave the Bay, marching in the San Francisco and Portland Pride Parades, or tossing out the razor for Movember.
VM: What impact would you say Our Front POrCH has had on your company as a whole?
SV: Our Front POrCH has become one of our core distinct elements as a company and brand. It’s possibly our greatest Promethean story and one that Prometheans take the most pride in. Leaving emails and reports at the office for a day and working together to make our community a better place builds bonds that last a lifetime.
We have worked with sick children and their families through Make-A-Wish and Family House. It’s incredibly rewarding and humbling to partner with these types of nonprofits. They can also tug at the heartstrings and leave you standing in a puddle of tears.
Experiencing this as a team has a profound and lasting impression on work relationships. Our Front POrCH has given Prometheans the power to band together over a common goal that has nothing to do with budgets or yearly productivity; its impact is personal and raw.
VM: What makes Our Front POrCH unique compared with other employee volunteer programs?
SV: Our Front POrCH is unique in that it is driven from within. There’s not a board of shareholders that deems what cause areas our organization will focus on or how it will impact the bottom dollar. Our Front POrCH grew from a grassroots idea and has remained as such; led by the Prometheans and the causes they champion.
Through VolunteerMatch.org, every Promethean is given the platform to create and host their own event. This roots ownership into every event we host and attend. If someone wants to host a bingo night down at the senior citizen center, go for it. Want to spend time making blankets for the local SPCA — sign us up! It’s powerful knowing that you are not just volunteering in your community, but that you are rebuilding a playground at the school of your fellow Promethean’s child.
We will always have legacy projects like the POrCH Challenge, but by nature, Our Front POrCH will always be owned by Prometheans.
VM: Do you have any stories — from the challenge or otherwise — that you’d like to share?
SV: After the 2016 POrCH Challenge wrapped up, I called a fellow Promethean that nominated one of the four nonprofits. When I shared with her the final donation amount, $34,110, she burst into tears. She was overwhelmed with joy and pride. She is a numbers gal and knew full well the impact a donation of that size would have on the nonprofit. Beyond that, she was proud of her coworkers. She was proud of how hard they worked to raise donations; she was proud of their determination and spirit. She was proud to be a Promethean.
VM: How can people get involved with this year’s POrCH Challenge?
SV: If your interest is peaked and you would like to learn more and donate, visit https://porch.charity.org/campaigns/124
Thanks to Savannah for sharing her story! Learn how YourMatch™ by VolunteerMatch can fuel your company’s volunteer program.