Dr Pepper Snapple employees give freely of their time, not because they have to, but because they believe in the benefits of volunteerism. Their causes and backgrounds may vary, but they share a belief that volunteering can make their communities better places.
To recognize and encourage that volunteerism, Dr Pepper Snapple started Grants for Good. The company-wide initiative, which began in July 2017, awards a $250 grant to any employee who volunteers at least 25 hours with an organization. Each volunteer is free to donate the grant to a non-profit of their choice. For those who serve on the board of their chosen organization, the grant goes up to $500.
It's the company's way of appreciating an employee's independent generosity and helping them contribute even more to their personal causes.
"We felt the need to give our employees another engagement tool on an individual basis," Connie Fung, manager of corporate philanthropy, said. "We really want to encourage individual volunteerism whether it's outside of business hours or during work."
Brian Giere, a distribution supervisor with 7UP Bottling, has volunteered with the Harwood, North Dakota, volunteer fire department for 10 years. Emergency response and vehicle extrication is hard, demanding and expensive work, so every cent they receive helps fill a crucial need that many people depend on.
"It's why we do what we do," he said. "To try and help others. And I think it's great that our company utilizes this type of program to try and get people to do that.
"It's very generous on their part and I'm very proud that they do.
Merchandising manager Fred White volunteers on his off days at the Franciscan Kitchen in Louisville, Kentucky. His grant will help the kitchen with necessities that people don't often consider, such as paying the utility bills to keep the doors open.
Fred is relatively new to DPS and said its dedication to volunteerism helped draw him to the company.
"I thought this was really cool," he said. "DPS really cares for its employees who are actually trying to do something on their own time. They actually support that and promote it, which I think is fantastic."
Others have used Grants for Good to assist organizations they are not always capable of reaching.
Lori Richter works in facilities and support services at DPS’s headquarters. She volunteers with Carter Blood Care and United Through Hope but chose to donate her grant to Minnie's Food Pantry in Plano, Texas. She cannot volunteer with them as often as she'd like, so this is her way to give support when she can't give time.
"I also have a passion for feeding the homeless and helping them get back on their feet," Lori said. "I thought, well, if I can't volunteer my time, I can help some other way."
Packaging artist Tina Casso earned her grant for Girls, Inc. She is enthusiastic about helping young girls find their way in life. Through mentorship, Girls, Inc. helps them discover different paths to meet their life goals.
"Even if they can't do it financially themselves, there are people out there who can help them," she said. "People who can give them support and get them where they want to be."
The Grants for Good program allows DPS to not only recognize employees’ personal volunteerism, but also help them offer more than just their time.
"We know our employees are giving and generous to begin with, so we want to amplify that," Connie said.