EarthShare of Georgia: protecting the environment, one employee at a time

For EarthShare of Georgia, conservation is king. In an effort to protect the air, land, and water, the organization partners with 50 employers from across the state to raise money for environmental nonprofits.

Primarily through workplace giving, EarthShare of Georgia coordinates employee giving campaigns to support more than 60 environmental and conservation organizations. With 30 based in state, and the others nationwide, there is an organization for everyone.

The group started as the Environmental Fund for Georgia in 1992, and then affiliated with the national EarthShare in 2001. In their 25-year history, EarthShare of Georgia has helped raise $6 million for its member groups.

EarthShare of Georgia’s Executive Director Madeline Reamy called into the show first. EarthShare was founded 25 years ago by environmental nonprofits who wanted representation in workplace giving.

Currently, nearly 400,000 employees across the state participate in EarthShare’s giving program, and come from a variety of companies, including Booz Allen Hamilton, Emory University, and MARTA. Employees are able to pick from a slew of environmental nonprofits, like Georgia Conservancy, Trees Atlanta, and Park Pride.

The group remains en vogue, especially as the environment becomes more and more of a hot topic. Many are connecting the dots between the benefits of improving the environment and strengthening communities. This work can also connect companies to volunteer projects in underserved areas.

“That is a new area that we have gotten into that is very exciting, because it brings many more people to the table to have a conversation about the environment and the benefits of a sustainable Georgia,” said Madeline Reamy, Executive Director of EarthShare of Georgia.

Individuals are encouraged to give and volunteer, as it makes such a critical impact on the environment. “The bottom line is those contributions help to conserve land in Georgia, they help to improve air quality, they help to strengthen work and improving the quality of our water,” Reamy added.

EarthShare of Georgia

In addition to the opportunity for employee giving, companies partner with EarthShare for its countless opportunities for employee volunteer engagement. More and more companies are looking for year-round opportunities for their employees to engage and give back to the community.

For them, EarthShare offers a variety of options, including multiple events revolving around Earth Day. The annual holiday is typically used as an entry point for interested organizations, and they can take part in three separate events, including a Corporate Green Day, Earth Leadership Breakfast, and a closing party. Members also receive special invitations to corporate sustainability forums, access to the Green Chamber, and discounted tickets to the sustainability speaker series.

This year’s Earth Day Green Challenge will be held on March 30th and 31st, and the Earth Leadership Breakfast will take place on April 12. Sponsors get package deals to support the different events. This year, Lewis Perkins of Cradle to Cradle will act as the keynote speaker.

More information on EarthShare of Georgia, and how you can get involved, can be found at www.earthsharega.org.

Leadership Tip from Cassius Butts of the Small Business Administration

Go outside and do something you will remember

Cassius Butts, Regional Administrator for the Southeastern Region of the Small Business Association joined this week’s episode of The Good Works Show, and offered listeners his best leadership advice.

“It starts with volunteerism,” he said. “You have to ask what ways can I help to be a part of someone else’s dream and help to bring those to fruition.”

“What I learned through leadership development was that it is important to say that service is important and affects every community and every walk of life,” he added. “Having that type of involvement helps to build leadership and helps to build stamina that to say that we can sustain any type of challenge we may face and we also are huge in network.”

So how does volunteering and serving your community help you professionally?

  1. It shows a dedication to a cause bigger than you. Volunteering means taking time out of your busy schedule to give back to the community around you. Employers recognize this added effort and hard work, and it looks great on a resume.
  2. It gets you out into the community. By lending a hand where it is needed most, you’ll better understand the needs of the community and the people who live there. If your full-time employer happens be in the same community, it’s a great way to increase your familiarity with the neighborhood in which you work.
  3. It broadens your network. Volunteering in the community brings you together with professionals from other organizations and career paths. This will open up your connections in ways you wouldn’t have found within just your company.
  4. It makes you more well-rounded. Volunteering is usually an all-hands-on-deck situation. This means that you will likely do multiple jobs, expanding your experience as you do.
  5. It’s a great way to bond with your team or coworkers. Many nonprofits in need of volunteers coordinate opportunities for large groups. You can complete a project with other employees from your work, further building these professional relationships in a setting outside of the normal office.