New Jersey Charity Expands its Team Building Opportunities for Corporate Employees in 2012

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Eva’s Village, a Paterson, NJ anti-poverty nonprofit fights donor recession with team building programs for Northern New Jersey businesses.

BD volunteer team participates in BBB

Eva’s Village

Non-profits continue to report increases in the demand for their services while experiencing a decline in funding. Eva's Village continued to see these trends in 2011 as many corporate donors further reduced funding while their soup kitchen program continued to experience an increase in the number of hungry and homeless coming for a hot mid-day meal (3% increase). The program has grown to such an extent that the capacity was expanded from 240 seats to 400.

To help boost corporate involvement at Eva's Village their development team began offering a team building exercise to entice corporate volunteers, offering an opportunity to strengthen communication and rapport among their employees. But not all team building events are a success, and most employees can recount ill-planned or boring events they feel were a waste of time. More corporations are recognizing that the best place to start in building teamwork among employees is with the personal interests of the employees themselves, which often involves participating in local charitable events and Eva's Village recognized the benefit of strengthening existing corporate relationships as well as developing new ones.

In the past Ellen Rafferty, Social Investing Project Coordinator at global medical technology company BD, and some of her colleagues volunteered at Eva’s Village, a comprehensive anti-poverty nonprofit based in Paterson, New Jersey. Their volunteer experience consisted of decorating one of the bedrooms in the Hope Residence for Mothers and Children. Inspired by a new program offered at Eva’s Village titled “Bond, Boost & Build”, Ms. Rafferty organized another group of employees from Franklin Lakes-based BD so that they, too, could serve their community by serving a hot, nutritious lunch to more than 350 hungry and homeless men and women. Ms. Rafferty says, “Eva's Bond, Boost and Build initiative is a great opportunity for corporate volunteers to get a better understanding of community's needs, the array of services that Eva's offers, and how companies play a key role in enabling Eva's to continue their mission. Working in their kitchen certainly raises employees' awareness levels of socioeconomic issues.”

More than forty companies have participated in a Bond, Boost & Build team building session at Eva’s Village since the program was initiated last year. Because of the success of this team building program, Eva's Village has incorporated two additional programs. Fund-A-Meal, a new corporate sponsorship opportunity allowing teams to serve in Eva’s Kitchen on a day in which their company provides a financial grant to sponsor the meals prepared. Employee teams directly touch Eva’s mission and advance its goals to combat hunger and homelessness. In 2012 Eva’s Village launched its second, extended corporate team building activity: The Bond, Boost & Build2. The BBB2 allows executive teams to engage in 1-2 days of volunteerism and corporate citizenship.

Faced with declining donations due to the economic downturn, these team building programs were initiated by Donna Marie Fico, Director of Marketing & Education at Eva’s Village. Ms. Fico says, “We have many long-time volunteers here at Eva’s Village who are thrilled to introduce our organization to their managers and coworkers, so this program encourages them to do that.” These team building opportunities offer an informative discussion about the plight of the poor in the community, a tour of Eva's Village programs and much much more. Ms. Fico describes the concept as the opportunity to BOND with one another by serving those in need, BOOST their mission of sharing and BUILD team spirit through service to others.

Marie Reger, Executive Director of Eva’s Village feels these team building programs fill a need in Northern New Jersey, where poverty is often unseen yet surrounded by corporate campuses and affluent residential communities. “We have many individuals and companies who volunteer to help the poor, but in this troubled economy more of our corporate neighbors must be made aware of both the magnitude of the problem and the highly successful and comprehensive solutions we are able to provide to help people feed themselves, recover from addictions, receive medical and dental care, find housing and become active members of the community.”

Founded by Msgr. Vincent E. Puma in 1982 as a response to the poor and homeless in Paterson, New Jersey, Eva’s Village (http://www.evasvillage.org) is a non-profit comprehensive social service organization with a mission to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, treat the addicted and provide medical care to the poor with respect for the human dignity of each individual. Through almost three decades of service, Eva’s Village has established a commendable record in facing community challenges and changing the lives of the hungry, homeless and addicted. It has grown from a simple soup kitchen to become the most respected anti-poverty program in the state and now includes fourteen integrated programs housed in numerous buildings spanning several city blocks in downtown Paterson. Eva’s Village also stands out among charitable organizations by receiving five consecutive 4-star ratings for sound fiscal management from Charity Navigator, an independent non-profit monitor (http://www.charitynavigator.org/).

For more information about the Eva’s Village Bond, Boost, and Build, Fund-A-Meal and Bond, Boost and Build2 team building efforts for corporations, call or email Cyndi Roberson at 973.523.6220 ext. 226 or Cyndi(dot)Roberson(at)evasvillage(dot)org. To find out more about Eva’s Village go to http://www.evasvillage.org.

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Joanne, Fagan
Eva's Village
973-523-6220 228
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