The year was 2000. Instead of obsessively checking Facebook (which wasn’t even a twinkle in a young Mark Zuckerberg’s eye) college students were busy building massive libraries of free digital music on Napster. The dudes couldn’t stop asking “Whassup!?” and everyone was obsessing over the first season of CBS’ Survivor and its villainous, often-pants less victor Richard Hatch.
At LS&Co. we were busy planning what quickly became one of the most-loved, most-anticipated days of the year for our employees. On May 1, 2000 (5.01!), we inaugurated Community Day at our San Francisco headquarters. Employees were enlisted to volunteer at local nonprofit organizations — further encouraging our profits-through-principles legacy. Since then, Community Day has expanded globally to include locations around the world where LS&Co. has an office or business presence.
LS&Co. has long been a leader in corporate philanthropy, dating back to 1854 with our founder himself. Levi Strauss donated some of his first profits to a local children’s organization, today known as Edgewood Center for Children & Families. It’s an organization that we continue to support, including this year on Community Day.
Today, the geographic reach and overall impact of Community Day continues to grow — 15 years in, we’re proud of the cumulative difference we’ve made:
Over the years, Community Day volunteer projects have supported a wide swath of issues and needs, such as HIV/AIDS, hunger, homelessness, the environment, education, and youth. This tradition will continue in 2015, as employees in 70 office locations participate in more than 230 projects.
Because of the global urgency around water scarcity and quality, and the inherent importance of water to our business, “water” will be a focus of many of this year’s projects. We’ve partnered with Project WET to develop curriculum around ways youth can save water. On Community Day in cities around the world, our employees will use the curriculum to teach students about water conservation. We’re also working with Waterkeeper Alliance to help ensure the waterways in our global communities are clean, safe and beautiful.
This year, we also are welcoming several partner companies from SF Gives — a $10M corporate challenge that is bringing together local businesses to fight poverty in the San Francisco Bay Area — to join our Community Day activities. They’ll be on the lookout for learnings they can apply to their own corporate volunteer efforts.
Community Day is often said to be one of the “best days of the year” here at LS&Co. because it provides an additional opportunity for employees to give back to the communities where we work and live, while also encouraging employees to bond with colleagues outside the office.
From South Africa to Shanghai, Brazil to the United States, we’re focused on putting our values of courage, empathy, originality and integrity into action on Community Day, and every day of the year, in the philanthropic tradition of Levi Strauss himself.
> Follow hashtag #LeviGivesBack to see updates and images from our employees during Community Day.