DISCO Cares: The Power of Impact

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Two years after DISCO Cares was founded in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, we’re proud to report that our philanthropic efforts have increased exponentially as the company has grown.

While our previous blog focused on the power of commitment, this time we’d like to focus on the power of impact. The two are intrinsically linked, as it takes a commitment—of time, of money, of hard work—to make an impact, but it’s important to remember that an impact can come in many forms. Whether it’s providing valuable training to young entrepreneurs, making sure families have a clean and safe environment, or even just congratulating a coworker on a job well done, we aim to have a positive impact on the world around us (and encourage others to commit with intention as well).

With that in mind, we are beyond proud to share the impact DISCO Cares has had during the first half of 2019.

The Power of Impact #1 - Explore Austin

Computers going to Explore Austin

Explore Austin uses long-term mentoring, leadership, and outdoor adventure to transform the lives of youth from low-income communities, working to improve the well-being of each “explorer,” their families, and the community.

We met with the leadership team at Explore Austin in January, and decided to engage after seeing firsthand the impact the organization’s social-emotional learning curriculum has on our next generation of leaders. DISCO Cares provided laptops to a group of girls from Explore Austin so they could participate in the acclaimed online leadership program, The Purpose Project. In addition, DISCO Cares gave every explorer graduating from the program a laptop so they could continue their studies.

Ann Jerome, CEO of Explore Austin, said this of the partnership:

Explore Austin is grateful to DISCO for their support and involvement over the past year. Thanks to DISCO's generous donation of more than 20 laptops and computer monitors, Explore Austin was able to upgrade office technology as well as offer every graduating senior in Explore Austin a laptop of their own to use when they go off to college, the military, or enter the workforce. Thank you DISCO for everything you have done and will do for Explore Austin and the entire Austin community!

The Power of Impact #2 - Start-Up Kid’s Club

DISCO volunteers Sushil Samuel and Steffanny Acevedo at Start-Up Kids Club

In March, DISCO Cares met with Start-Up Kid’s Club, which aims to unlock the capacity and possibility inside every child via an entrepreneurship program. 

Every Tuesday, a different DISCO employee would visit the Start-Up Kid’s Club afterschool program to talk about entrepreneurship. Encouraged by positive feedback from the kids, we have volunteered over 65 hours so far. 

The DISCO mentors (including key executives like our VP of Customer Success, VP of Accounting, and Senior Director of Data Operations) spoke on topics such as the difference between sales and marketing, the importance of pursuing opportunities, and the magic of networking. Most recently, the DISCO team helped with a summer camp design challenge that involved testing prototypes, creating board games, and polishing a pitch presentation.

Of the partnership, Start-up Kids Club founder and president Amber Wakem said:

We've been so fortunate to have the chance to work with the DISCO Cares team. Each week, our students looked forward to meeting a new face and learning from the wealth of knowledge they had to share. I myself loved watching them interact and believe that each DISCO employee walked away with just as much as our students did. We're excited to be working to transform the future together with DISCO.

The Power of Impact #3 - Feed The Children and Salvation Army

DISCO Cares team with Michael Fojtasek

DISCO Cares had a longstanding relationship with The Salvation Army while headquartered in Houston, and that partnership has continued with DISCO’s relocation to Austin (less than 45 days after our big move, the Austin Chapter of Salvation Army asked for our help and we delivered). 

This April, we got another call. Michael Fojtasek, the James Beard Award-nominated chef and owner of famed Southern restaurant Olamaie, had donated one night of the restaurant’s revenue to Feed the Children—which translated into a whopping 6,000 lbs of food and 9,250 lbs of hygiene and cleaning supplies to 317 families in need. He asked the Salvation Army for help with logistics of distribution, and the Salvation Army in turn came to us.

Organizing and distributing the generous donation turned into a full-day affair, with volunteers setting up an assembly line, giving packages to families, and cleaning up once the event was finished. Twenty-one DISCO Cares volunteers from every department in the company (and even a few DISCO alumni) turned up, despite the rainy weather. The event was truly the collaboration of an entire community, strengthening both our ties to other organizations within Austin and to each other as coworkers. 

The Power of Impact #4 - Veterans for Quality

DISCO Cares with Veterans4Quality

Veterans4Quality assists veterans with the transition from military life to rewarding civilian careers in quality assurance. DISCO Cares volunteers provided networking practice, resume critiques, and mock interviews to help the veterans build confidence and make connections that could help them in their career path. 

The Power of Impact #5 - Fisher House

DISCO Cares volunteers at Kindertag

The Fisher Foundation builds homes (called Fisher Houses) for military and veteran families while a loved one is in the hospital. Supporting the San Antonio Fisher House is one of our newest commitments, and our first event was volunteering at Kindertag, or Kids Day. 

The event was open to all the kids staying in the homes as well as the children of all the doctors, nurses and staff on the military base. The San Antonio Fisher House had games, face painting, arts and crafts, and goodie bags for every child. There were even educational programs with live animals, courtesy of Zoomagination (Sienna the Sloth proved to be a favorite with both kids and adults). 

Roberta Love, Lead Fisher House Volunteer, had this to say: 

For first-time volunteers, your members jumped right in and did everything — setting up, serving food, helping with events and games, chatting with our residents, even getting adults and kids on the dance floor! In addition, your extremely generous donation of products our residents use on a daily basis was amazing. We are so glad you decided to have DISCO Cares become part of our support group and look forward to having you join us again.

The Power of Impact #6 - Ronald McDonald House

Our team cleaning the Ronald McDonald House

Ronald McDonald House Charities creates, finds, and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children near medical centers, often providing places to stay and meals for families of critically ill children. In June, DISCO organized a group of new hires to visit the Ronald McDonald House in Austin.

DISCO Cares volunteers took care of everyday tasks for the people staying there, like cleaning and cooking, so that families could spend more quality time together. Our team cleaned the hallways, common rooms, and fitness center of the 30,000 square foot house, down to sanitizing baseboards and door knobs to keep the environment safe for those with lowered immunity.

The Power of Impact #7 - Operation Snowstorm

The Operation Snowstorm fundraiser in Houston

Since November 2017, DISCO has collaborated with Operation Snowstorm, which brings the joy of a winter wonderland to terminally ill children. Operation Snowstorm is a Houston non-profit whose mission is to bring the joy of winter wonderland to the doorsteps of terminally ill children battling cancer. While we have previously helped out with the snowstorms, this time we supported a fundraiser for the charity, sponsoring three teams in a sports tournament and aiding the silent auction.

DISCO Cares going above and beyond

I want to take a moment to say thank you. 

  • Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to read our previous blogs.
  • Thank you to all our passionate co-workers that have made and will continue to make an impact in the communities we serve.
  • And thank you to the DISCO senior leadership team for unconditionally supporting our DISCO Cares initiative and helping to make a true impact with purpose.  

As we move into the next quarter, I’m excited to expand our program to include other communities with a strong DISCO presence. Stay tuned for the future impact of DISCO Cares.

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James Buck Bracey IV