How Corporate Volunteerism Can Change the World

By Sarah Middleton
Mar 29, 2016 12:30 PM ET

Please allow me to make an obvious statement: We live in a society of impatience. We don’t want to wait in line to pay for our groceries. We don’t want to wait in line at the bank or the car wash or the taxi stand. We want that email response now. We want those results immediately. We want an answer yesterday. We’re whirling dervishes of spastic fidgeting and incessant internal monologues. We’re a collective tornado, tearing through life and work and play at a blistering pace.

And it is easy, so easy, to run week in and week out, to run so fast and so hard that we collapse on the couch exhausted each weekend. And maybe when we’re on that couch, we read an article about a family torn apart by the global refugee crisis, or a homeless veteran, or children orphaned by AIDS, or a human trafficking victim, or any social issue really. And we probably tuck that article in the recesses of our minds, because that’s someone else’s problem; someone else will swoop in and help that family, the veteran, those children, that victim.

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Sarah Middleton is a vice president responsible for global corporate citizenship at PIMCO and is the executive director of the PIMCO Foundation. PIMCO is a global investment management firm, headquartered in Newport Beach, CA, and the PIMCO Foundation is the firm’s charitable giving and volunteering arm. Sarah developed PIMCO’s employee volunteer program and related corporate responsibility initiatives.  Prior to joining PIMCO in 2007, Sarah served as an AmeriCorps volunteer and worked in the nonprofit sector for six years. She was named by the OC Register as one of Orange County’s “100 Most Influential” people of 2015.