Photographs by William Taufic.
Inspirica, buildOn (as well as 150 not-for-profit organizations across the U.S.)
“Synchrony Financial split off from GE, and GE always had a strong culture of giving back to the community,” explains Margaret Keane, CEO of the Stamford based company. “We kept that spirit of giving back and when we were creating our philanthropic program, we chose to focus on families that work—people who are trying to make it but still face daily struggles of paying rent, putting food on the table, taking care of children, finding childcare programs. For the past two years, our Synchrony Families That Work Program has helped alleviate these hardships for families, with our nonprofit partners, such as Inspirica in Stamford.”
Courage into Action
Synchrony has donated $100,000 to Inspirica in the past year, but dollars are only part of the equation as the company also looks at change through volunteerism. “We have our employees get engaged with the various nonprofits we support,” says Margaret. “For instance, at Inspirica we have put together meals for families and done gardening work, but we also sent a small team there to help them develop a replication model so they can share how they deliver services with other nonprofits. We look at the skills we have that we can use to give back.” Sixty-six Synchrony employees have volunteered for a total of 432 hours at Inspirica during the past twelve months. As part of Synchrony’s annual Take Your Child to Work Day, sixty-six children of employees also pitched in by making 100 literacy kits. “We are passing on the value of giving back to the community to the next generation,” notes Margaret.
Lauren Dubinsky, manager of communications, events and volunteers at Inspirica, says, “Synchrony Financial invested in our Family Residential Programs, helping us achieve record results in moving hundreds of men, women and children from the streets to health, jobs, home—and dignity.” The ways Synchrony has changed lives at Inspirica are too many to list, but Lauren says Synchrony’s “involvement has expanded beyond our greatest expectations.”
Margaret adds, “We are also very involved in buildOn in Bridgeport and Girls Who Code.” BuildOn empowers and educates students from the most challenged schools in the area. “It can be life-changing to have these students come to our office and engage with our employees. And the girls in our Girls Who Code program are getting this incredible learning and mentoring experience.”
Hopes & Dreams
“Our goal is to ensure our business makes a difference to the people around us,” says Margaret. “This is more than giving spare change. This is real change in the community. We could always write checks. But when you get people engaged, individual employees feel like they’re making a difference personally.”