We Are Citizen Philanthropists - Illuminate a Brighter World

By Marisa Schafer, Head of Citizen Philanthropy, VMware
Dec 16, 2020 10:45 AM ET

Reflecting on 10 years of Citizen Philanthropy

It has been ten years since VMware began its Citizen Philanthropy journey by establishing programs that enable all VMware people, regardless of title, tenure, or location, to direct our company’s philanthropic resources to their nonprofits of choice. But in a lot of ways, Citizen Philanthropy has been at the core of VMware since the company began. It’s part of our culture; it’s who we are. Just as our technology acts as a platform to enable choice and flexibility for our customers and partners, Citizen Philanthropy is a platform to enable VMware people to support what they choose in the community. As we near the end of a most unusual year, in which societal needs have become increasingly complex and interconnected, I am more proud and confident than ever in the efficacy and adaptability of this giving approach as it flexes to meet those needs.

At the core of Citizen Philanthropy is the idea that each of us has what it takes to positively impact our communities. And if we are all active and engaged with our communities, the collective impact of our individual actions is significant1. By fostering a culture of service, we not only strengthen the ties within our organization, but we can support the varied needs of our external communities in whatever ways are most meaningful to us.

Adapting over time

At the beginning of 2020, we set the intention to inspire others to action by sharing stories of the many ways VMware Citizen Philanthropists choose to support their communities every day. At the time, we had no idea the extent of the twists and turns that 2020 would bring.

As VMware adapted to working remotely to keep our colleagues and their communities safe, we also saw the needs of our neighbors and nonprofits change and increase. In turn, VMware people adapted their community support, whether leaning into virtual Service Learning opportunities, supporting healthcare workers with PPE, or adapting to touch-free food deliveries. In addition to all that change, VMware people were steadfast in their ongoing community support, whether via pro bono Service LearningGiving Networksteaching, or fundraising for social justice.

Illuminating a brighter world, one act of gratitude at a time

2020 has highlighted how interconnected we all are. While the year has been quite challenging in many ways, I am grateful for the reminder that we all can make a difference however we choose to engage.

As this calendar year nears its end, we are encouraging all VMware people to reflect on

1.) what has become increasingly meaningful to them this year,

2.) who has supported them through this unprecedented time, and

3.) which nonprofits in our communities they are most grateful for.

In a difficult year, a single star can be a beacon of hope. A sky full can illuminate the world. Each gift we give – our time, talent, donations, recognition – creates a point of light. That becomes part of a constellation of gratitude. Together they form a galaxy. And even though we might see different views when we look up, we’re all looking at the same sky.

Please join us in reflecting on what you’re most grateful for so we can continue to illuminate a brighter world together.

Marisa Schafer
Head of Citizen Philanthropy at VMware