Two years into the pandemic, Viasat employees are still opening their hearts and wallets to give to others. During the 2021-22 holiday season, Viasat and its employees donated to hundreds of different charities and held fundraisers across the globe in numerous cause areas to includein food insecurity, homelessness, youth services, disaster relief, and more.
“Our employees have so much compassion others, and they’re still able to make a difference — even if it’s from home,” said Alyssa Loder, Viasat’s social impact coordinator.
Following are some of the highlights from our season of giving, which began in late November with GivingTuesday and continued into the first days of 2022.
Five Days of Cheer
In December, Viasat hosted Five Days of Cheer, a way to virtually share the joy and spirit of the season. On one of the Five Days of Cheer, employees voted for causes that spoke most to them, with Viasat making donations to the winning organizations. The company gave $5,000 each to Humane Society International and The Hunger Project.
Viasat also donated nearly 900 trees through the Five Days of Cheer. Employees just needed to indicate they wanted the company to donate one on their behalf.
On another one of the Five Days of Cheer, Viasat donated a tree on behalf of every employee that participated. With employee virtual sign-ups, Viasat was able to plant 900 trees with One Tree Planted.
“We wanted to make sure our employees — even if they’re working from home — still had the opportunity to get involved and feel engaged with Viasat’s charitable giving over the holidays,” said Annie DeMascole, Viasat giving manager.
This annual campaign is a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.
This year, Viasat employees utilizing the employee match program, raised over $163,000, benefitting 250 different charities on GivingTuesday.
Individual campuses also held their own giving events during the holidays.
At Viasat’s Southern California headquarters, employees donated 253 toys, seven bikes and cash totaling $11,315 to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve North County San Diego Toys for Tots. This year’s event was held in memory of 19-year Viasat employee Carlo “Mazz” Mazzurra, who’d organized the annual fundraiser for the last 13 years. Mazzurra, a U.S. Marine veteran, passed away in late 2021.
“Carlo would have loved to see the positive impact that the Toys for Tots campaign had this year on the local community,” DeMascole said.
The Carlsbad legal team also did a fundraiser for the San Diego Food Bank, raising a total of $4,000, which Viasat will match for a total $8,000 donation.
Viasat Arizona supported two organizations: Child Crisis Arizona and Arizona Hope for the Homeless. Employees donated 13 boxes of clothing, toiletries and food to the homeless and 97 gifts for the children’s welfare agency.
Viasat engineer Jim Paugh, who fostered and later adopted two children through Child Crisis Arizona, nominated the organization as a beneficiary of this year’s holiday giving campaign. Names of the children were placed on an angel tree, and also sent via email to remote employees who requested them.
Child Care Arizona community relations director Atasha Hill was surprised by Viasat’s generosity.
“She was thinking they’d get a handful of gifts,” said Peter Orona, an administrator at Viasat Arizona who coordinated the campaign. “I told her I was on my way, driving a four-door pickup truck that was full in the cab and the bed, and she chuckled. I don’t think she realized how full it was. When I got there, she was taken aback and so ecstatic.”
“We are incredibly grateful for all who helped make this holiday season special for the children and families in our programs,” said Torrie Taj, CEO of Child Crisis Arizona. “With the generous support from Viasat and others in the community we were able to provide gifts for 1,600 children.”
Orona is also grateful to his fellow employees.
“Since 90% of our employees are working from home, this was less than what we would normally do, but with the pandemic, it was really great to see how people still gave. The staff here at Viasat have such great hearts when it comes to stuff like this. It’s fun to be part of it.”
In Atlanta, employees did a coat drive and donated to the Atlanta Food Bank, raising about $1,800 including Viasat matching funds.
“Through the food bank, $20 feeds a family of four, so that money will feed a lot of people,” said Michelle Mosley, who chairs the outreach and culture committee for the campus’s Black Professional Alliance chapter. “I tried to make things easy with the pandemic. People were able to just go online and donate money.
“I feel I was put on this earth to give to others and make sure no one feels left out, so I’m thankful to our employees that we were able to give something this season.”
The Dublin and Boston offices also did holiday drives, adding more than $7,500 to the fundraising total.
And in early January, in the wake of the Dec. 30 Marshall fire, Viasat’s Denver office donated $5,000 to the Boulder County Wildfire Fund, helping provide critical short and long-term assistance to the fire victims.