Submitted by: Emalie Clamage, Donor Relations Manager, Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia @JFCS_Philly

Philadelphia’s business community has been significantly generous to our area non-profits. According to the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia’s recent “How Employers Give” report,  area companies have donated more than $90.9 million and 265,000 employee volunteer hours to local agencies. At Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia, one of Philadelphia’s longest-standing human service agencies, we have noticed an unexpected benefit to our corporate volunteerism program—an increased feeling of inclusion between the clients we serve and the greater community.

JFCS serves some of Philadelphia’s most vulnerable populations, including homebound seniors, Holocaust survivors, and people living with disabilities. Beyond meeting their most basic financial needs, our clients struggle with a sense of isolation and loneliness—either because they cannot get out of the house due to mobility issues, or because of a lack of welcoming, inclusive activities available to them in the community. By providing programming at The Barbara and Harvey Brodsky Enrichment Center—JFCS’ therapeutic enrichment center—or dropping off meals or taking seniors on shopping trips, we create opportunities to decrease this isolation. But we cannot do this work alone! Our volunteers provide the warmth, interaction, and acceptance that transform our clients from feeling like they are simply receiving a service to feeling like they are truly a part of a larger community. Corporate volunteers have delivered meals, staffed pop-up shops for our Our Closet, JFCS’ clothing donation program, and baked challah in our teaching kitchen with our clientsThe feeling of belonging this creates is lifechanging for those we serve.

But we’ve also found that the sense of warmth created by our volunteering experiences is a two-way street. The feeling of being a part of an inclusive community and giving back among our corporate volunteers leads to greater loyalty and dedication to their companies. We’ve seen this first hand and it’s now been confirmed by the “How Employers Give” report, which found that 68% of organizations with corporate volunteer programs reported improved employee engagement through their involvement.

JFCS is always searching for innovative ways to collaborate with area companies, whether it be through mobile volunteering opportunities at their places of business, events out in the community, or opportunities to come together at our therapeutic enrichment center in Bala Cynwyd. On September 18th, we are hosting our first of many Circle of Caring Corporations Volunteering Events, where local philanthropically-minded companies can come together to volunteer while networking with other businesses who are investing in the community. We welcome our fellow Chamber members to be a part of this fun and meaningful effort. For more information on the event or to set up a volunteering opportunity at JFCS, please contact Emalie Clamage at eclamage@jfcsphilly.org.