Each year, the Viacommunity Award recognizes two Viacom employees who have gone above and beyond to make an impact in their communities with a $10,000 donation to the organizations of their choice. With more than a hundred submissions from colleagues across the company, it was truly a difficult decision to pick just two winners.
This year, Viacom is proud to present the coveted Viacommunity Awards to Kevin Chalk and Hasani Henderson for their incredible efforts with two amazing organizations, Back on My Feet and #TheTakeBack.
When four teams of Viacom employees convened with Viacommunity and various nonprofit organizations at company headquarters in Times Square, they welcomed the celebratory event as an opportunity to reflect back on their endeavors. Over the past few months, these handpicked groups of employees joined forces across the brands on Viacommunity Talent For Good projects, dedicating their time and skills to supporting the initiatives of causes that they care about. The four team projects explored a variety of pro-bono volunteer work. Whether it was providing a social media plan, creating a brochure, developing a communications strategy, or producing a promotional video, all of the groups made lasting connections with their nonprofit partners.
Check out the video created for Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund’s Name Change Project.
The event switched to an arena for the presentations that each group worked on. Teams discussed the various challenges, processes, and assets that they acquired throughout the course of their three to four month long projects. As a special treat, each corresponding nonprofit also had the chance to share their points of view and project experiences. Emotions ran strong as each nonprofit expressed its sincere gratitude to their Viacom team members, making the event a truly inspiring one.
Throughout the rest of the evening, the Viacom teams mingled, swapping anecdotes here and there about their project experiences. A common sentiment from many of the team members that night was that Talent For Good connected employees with others at Viacom that they normally do not get the chance to work with on a daily basis. In such a large company, it was refreshing to meet new peers and learn about the different work that goes into each department and brand. It was clear that not only did these close-knit partnerships create outlets for each employee to strengthen his or her skills to benefit great causes, but through these collaborative efforts, cross-brand friendships were forged as well.
Ramzy Masri, senior designer at Nickelodeon, is Viacom’s Talent For Good Employee spotlight this March. Read more to find out how Ramzy’s used his Talent for Good and how you can give back today.
Why did you decide to volunteer through Talent for Good?
I believe that good causes deserve the best resources to relay their messages and connect with their audience. There are so many hardworking non-profits that are overworked and understaffed — the opportunity to donate my time to a cause that I’m passionate about was a blessing.
What was your experience working on a Talent For Good project?
I volunteered with The Lowline, the world’s first underground park, and designed ‘Lowline Lab‘ — an exhibit showcasing the technology that makes underground parks possible. I designed informational panels, wayfinding, merchandise and promotional materials.
On the Thursday before Valentine’s Day, Viacom employees made a date with Viacommunity and Operation Goody Bag (OGB) at our New York City headquarters. Our passionate group of volunteers successfully prepared 1,000 bags in less than two hours to be distributed to U.S. armed forces stationed abroad. Jane Cosco, Operation Goody Bag’s pioneer and founder, kicked off the event by giving a brief overview of the nonprofit’s mission to arriving participants.
Founded in the aftermath of Sept. 11, OGB functions to both commemorate the lives lost that day and to show appreciation to our troops through the gift of carefully assembled goody bags.
Viacom employees set aside the days around Thanksgiving as a Week of Giving, combating hunger both locally and abroad by assembling meal kits and delivering meals to homebound local elders. As a new hire, I chose to join volunteers in order to better immerse myself in Viacom’s unique corporate culture during a time of year when the company emphasizes care and compassion for others.
On the Monday before Thanksgiving, employees gathered at long tables bunched into the cafeteria at our Times Square headquarters. In partnership with international hunger relief group Stop Hunger Now, we boxed meals that consisted of rice, soy, and fortified vegetables onto pallets. Volunteers sang along as music blasted through the room, and an emcee rang a giant gong for every two thousand meals that we packaged. In just two hours, our group of energetic Viacom employees boxed 20,000 meals. After the event, the organization sent them abroad to be distributed to some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.