Xerox Awards Six Employees Social Service Leave for 200812 Feb, 2008
Xerox Awards Six Employees Social Service Leave for 2008
ROCHESTER, NY (February 11, 2008) -- Fourteen years ago Monica Milstead, a hard-working, young professional climbing the ladder in Xerox Corporation's (NYSE: XRX) sales organization, took a life-changing sabbatical that culminated in the adoption of a son. This year, six more employees will join the 500 Xerox employees who have taken part in the Xerox Foundation's Social Service Leave program, a fully-paid leave of absence where employees work full time on social action projects of their own design and choosing.
A life change of Milstead's magnitude is not the norm, but all of the Xerox employees involved in the program have touched and been touched by the community-affirming spirit of their Social Service Leaves over the past 30 years. Their sabbaticals, underwritten by the Xerox Foundation, have put their expertise and experience to work to improve and support organizations in communities all around the country. One of few corporate sabbatical programs that provide paid opportunities for employees to volunteer in their communities, Xerox's Social Service Leave program is believed to be the oldest of its kind in American business.
"Giving back to the community has long been a cornerstone of the Xerox culture. The Social Service Leave program is one way we invest both in our people and in the communities in which we work and live," said Anne M. Mulcahy, Xerox chairman and chief executive officer.
This year six employees were granted Social Service Leave.
Rod Forte, a manager of information management based in Webster, N.Y., will work with Foodlink of Rochester, a food bank that serves a 10-county area in the Genesee Valley and Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. Forte's project will re-engineer the organization's sorting and distribution process to reduce costs, improve the use of both the warehouse and the food and goods it houses.
Ken Knepper, a marketing manager for Xerox Office Group based in Wilsonville, Ore., will work with Habitat for Humanity. Knepper will help Portland Habitat for Humanity grow its cash and building material donations, its volunteer base and its marketing programs.
Steve Merriman, a consultant with Xerox Global Services in Birmingham, Ala., will work with the International Adoption Clinic to automate their document management process and build an IT infrastructure that will allow volunteers to spend more time helping those in need of adoption services.
Rosana Schoonmaker a sales representative from Houston, will help Skills for Living, an organization that helps the working poor break the cycle of poverty. She will expand programs and increase awareness for its offerings.
Dierdre Thornton, a principal with Xerox Global Services in Indianapolis, will work with the Minority Engineering Program of Indianapolis to help minority students break into engineering, information technology and other technology-related fields.
Pierre O. Zermatten, a services marketing representative for Xerox North America based in Chicago, will work with Countryside Association, which offers vocational training, in-home respite and family support to children and adults with developmental and other disabilities.
History of the Xerox Foundation Social Service Leave program
The idea of a Social Service Leave was conceived by former Xerox president Archie McCardell in 1970. He and another Xerox executive were on a flight from California, where they had made a donation to a university on behalf of Xerox. Their conversation went from how "easy" it was to give money to a discussion about what kind of philanthropic gesture would represent a genuine sacrifice for Xerox. They concluded that the company's most valuable asset was its employees, and that offering employees' time would demonstrate a true philanthropic commitment by the company.
Then-CEO C. Peter McColough said in a letter to employees announcing the program in 1971: "Each year we contribute several million dollars to worthwhile institutions and projects. Yet we don't think that's enough … so we decided to offer what we can least afford to give - the full-time service of Xerox people."
In addition to the Social Service Leave program, Xerox employees can also volunteer in their communities through their local Xerox Community Involvement Program, can teach science in elementary schools through the Xerox Community Involvement Program, and can mentor high school students through the FIRST Robotics program.