In the Community
Making a difference in the community is a longstanding corporate commitment, which Co-CEOs Gail Bassin and Jerri Shaw epitomize with their own community activities.
In 1999, Gail and her family turned a family tragedy into a philanthropic cause by founding The Heart’s Delight, an annual event that has raised more than $10 million for the American Heart Association. More than 20 years ago, Gail and her family established the California Futures Barrel Tasting, an annual event that raises funds to support cancer research for the George Washington University Medical School. More recently, Gail was named to the Advisory Board for the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Jerri's volunteer work focuses on programs, national and international, that seek to improve the health and well-being of people. She has helped establish and continues to work with organizations that seek to stabilize population growth while strengthening the role of women, including The Population Institute (where she is a Board member) and the Population Media Center (where she is a Special Advisor). Since 1998, Jerri has been a speaker for Compassion and Choices, an organization dedicated to promoting quality of life at the end of life. She is also on the Steering Committee for New Endeavors by Women (NEW), an organization that provides housing and support for homeless women and children in Washington, D.C.
Corporate Community Support
JBS and its staff members support local nonprofits in many ways throughout the year. In August, headquarters staff in North Bethesda collect school supplies for Greater DC Cares. In October, we donate to UNICEF, and in NOvember, we collect and deliver food to S.O.M.E. (So Others May Eat) in D.C. In January, we collect blankets, coats, shoes, gloves, and scarves, for the DC Hypothermia Van managed by the Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness.
JBS's Aguirre Division in Burlingame, California, also participates in year-round giving activities, donating to nonprofits that include the Salvation Army, the Samaritan House (San Mateo, CA), and Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse (CORA), a nonprofit organization assisting adult and child victims of domestic violence.
In addition to these events, there are two long-standing activities where we think our efforts provide a little something extra for recipients.
As part of our December holiday celebrations, we collect age-appropriate toys to donate to New Endeavors by Women (NEW), a transitional residential program for homeless women in D.C. JBS also donates wrapping paper, ribbons, and tape. NEW stages a "shopping center" with the donations so the women can personally select and wrap the gifts for their children. We appreciate being part of an effort that respects recipients' dignity by allowing them to select, wrap, and give gifts to their children.
Because we wanted to continue the spirit of giving past what may be considered the traditional giving season, each Valentine's Day, we prepare 100 gift bags for women at N Street Village, which serves women with housing and shelter needs. The gift bags include toiletries and other personal items so the recipients know that someone cares about them on a holiday that's all about showing love. We encourage staff to donate items they have purchased rather than gathered for free from hotel rooms. We believe this is more respectful and sends a powerful message about being valued as a person.
JBS Employees in the Community
Because of what we do and our corporate culture, JBS attracts employees with strong commitments to their communities and the issues they care about. In October 2011, JBS held its first Volunteer Fair, where staff members showcased their volunteer activities. Here are a few highlights:
Marianne Tshihamba, Senior Meeting Planner, volunteers with SisterMentors-The program's goal is to stop the high dropout rate among girls of color and increase the number of women of color with doctorates. The organization's members monitor girls of color from low-income families through elementary, middle, and high school, inspiring them to stay in school and go on to college. Marianne organized their 15th anniversary gala. To learn more, visit www.sistermentors.org.
Robin Salomon, Bilingual Information Specialist, and her dog Teddy bring smiles to VA hospital-They visit the Veteran's Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C. twice a month, knocking on veteran's doors and bringing Teddy into their hospital rooms when they want to have a visit with a sweet, friendly dog. Teddy was trained through a program called PAL (People Animals Love). For more information visit http://peopleanimalslove.org.
Sam Graziani, Administrative Assistant, is an adult literacy volunteer- Sam provides one-on-one tutoring through the READS program at the San Mateo County, California, Library. She tutors a native Spanish speaker who understands and speaks some English, but initially wasn't conversant in English and had difficulty reading and writing. In the year they have worked together, Sam has observed a significant improvement in her student's English literacy skills. For more information visit www.smcl.org.
Valerie Franzen, Senior Meeting Planner, volunteers for DC Climb4Life-This event encourages hikers and climbers across the D.C. region to raise money in support of ovarian cancer research and awareness. Valerie has been climbing for 3 years and found out about Climb4Life through fellow climbers. She knows several people who have been affected by ovarian and other cancers, so she wanted to help raise money for the cause. For more information visit, http://climb4life.kintera.org.