Two hundred-plus seniors will have holiday gifts to unwrap, hundreds of deserving children will get toys, countless families will have food on the table and several displaced people will get the rare joy of owning something not just warm, but also new. It’s all thanks to the generosity of Viasat employees who not only give back, but make a meaningful difference in their communities. Campuses across many domestic and global locations donated time and resources to help others this holiday season – continuing annual traditions and volunteer efforts that extend year-round. From Duluth, Georgia to Dublin, Ireland and beyond, employees at Viasat campuses came together to help those in need, at a time of year when social and economic disparities are most keenly felt. Viasat Giving matched employee donations, doubling each campus’s contribution. Following is a sample of the employee-led events at just some of our locations:
The Boston campus displayed its big heart this season by buying and donating clothing for the area’s homeless. The nonprofit Friends of Boston’s Homeless hosts the Warm Hands, Warm Hearts and Operation Sock Drop campaigns, to which Boston employees gave new gloves, hats, socks and flannel shirts. Viasat Boston supports the organization year-round, but office manager Margaret Costello said their holiday focus is on programs that help get people through the tough Northeastern winters. “Right now, we are hoping to tend directly to the folks outside on these bitterly cold days,” she said. “We see some of the folks Friends of Boston’s Homeless serves daily, and it helps to know there are people all around making sure they are provided with nutritious food, a warm shower and dry, clean necessities.”
For the third year running, Carlsbad’s Black Professional Alliance raised thousands of dollars to support Meals on Wheels, which delivers food to seniors. Roscoe Frazier chose the organization because he felt it had national status and universal appeal, and with the hope Black Professional Alliances at other campuses might get on board. So far this year, Viasat Carlsbad employees have donated $6,000 to the organization – and that’s before the matching funds are added. In the two preceding years, the effort brought in a total of $27,000. “We can leverage this experience for other fundraising,” Frazier said. “And it makes the whole group feel very good. We know that we’re making an impact, and Viasat is helping us make it.” Separately, a Toys for Tots fundraiser coordinated by Viasat’s Carlo Mazzurra brought in 275 toys, 12 bikes, and $6,000 in donations – matched by Viasat for a total of $12,000. The money was used to purchase an additional 50 bikes and helmets for kids in San Diego County. Another team of Viasat Carlsbad employees spent an evening packing food for the families in need as part of the Community Resource Center’s Holiday Baskets program. The employees filled 131 boxes with rice, beans, pasta and other staples. “It’s sad to think about people that have no food, but it feels wonderful to help,” said Viasat volunteer Priya Wong.
On Dec. 15, officers in a procession of 100 suburban Cleveland police cars transported children from a shopping excursion to a pizza party. The children have a parent or parents with a terminal illness. Viasat’s Cleveland office helped fund the annual Shop With a Cop event. Viasat employees bought raffle tickets that paid for the day, helping give each child a $150 gift card. “Most of the children buy for family members first, and we have to tell them, ‘This is for you, too; we’d like you to get at least one thing for yourself’,” said Cristopher Collise, a patrolman with the Independence, Ohio police department. “It’s an eye-opening, humbling experience. But it makes the officers happy because the kids are happy. “And the public gets to see we’re not just dealing with the bad guys all the time. We’re helping people out and taking care of the community this way, too.”
College Station, TX
Three Texas children from needy families will wake to new bicycles on Christmas morning. The bikes are among a wealth of toys and other gifts a College Station-area child advocacy center called Scotty’s House purchased with money raised by Viasat employees. Tech support representative Josh Tutt, who started a College Station chapter of Viasat’s Pride Alliance, thought the effort was a good way to introduce the Alliance and start the group off on a positive note. Through Scotty’s House’s Angel Tree program, the College Station crew adopted two families and five children. With the Viasat Giving match, the campus raised almost $1,400 for Scotty’s House.
Krista Orloff spun a home-grown idea into an overwhelmingly successful office event. Orloff started creating “Christmas in a Cup” gifts – small items tucked in festively wrapped mugs for homebound seniors – with her boyfriend’s family. This year, she brought the project to Viasat’s Denver office. The Denver crew donated cups and everyday items, then gathered to artfully arrange the items in cups and decorate them for the holidays. Viasat assembled 209 cups – more than one-fifth of the 1,000 cups donated from throughout Colorado. “The tables were just full of mugs and items – hand sanitizer, pencils, activity books, even blankets; it was overwhelming,” Orloff said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the Denver office for all the help and donations. And I’m so excited for next year.” The cups will be included with Meals on Wheels. “For some of these seniors, this is the only gift they’ll get,” she said. “And they so look forward to it; some of them don’t even want the meal. Knowing that, and Viasat being a part of it, meant so much to me.”
The Dublin staff brought Christmas to 70 children and adults this year through the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s Giving Tree campaign. Employees took all 70 tags hanging from the office Christmas tree. Each tag bore the name and age of a person in need, for whom employees bought gifts. Even better? “The €1,200 (about $1,365) we raised using Viasat’s fundraising matching program,” said office manager Lauren Pritchard. “The gifts and donation will go a long way this Christmas, and we hope we’ve put smiles on many families’ faces this year.”
With Viasat matching funds, the Tempe campus will this year raise about $12,000 to help the area’s migrant farm workers. Tempe participated in the Adopt an Angel program, which benefits the Mesa Public Schools Migrant Program. These are the children of migrants who work on dairy farms, typically living in trailers. All 267 tags – each bearing the name of a child in need – were taken, and employees donated some extra items for a total of more than $6,000 in gifts. The Viasat Giving program will double that contribution. “I’ve seen the trailers where they live; these are people who really need help,” said Tempe’s Kathy Nolan. “I’m happy we were able to provide that this year.” The donations will keep giving well beyond the holidays, with funds paying for socks, underwear and other necessities year-round, Nolan said. Whether it’s giving during the holidays or throughout the year, Viasat Giving program encourages employees to find causes they care about. With one in three employees involved in volunteerism or giving programs, and over 12,000 volunteer hours tracked throughout the year, our employees go big when it comes to making a difference in their communities and we are proud to support their impact.