Giving Back to Change the World

Levi Strauss & Co.
November 27, 2018

Giving Tuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back – whether it’s donating to a group you support, or giving the gift of time.

This year, we’re honoring a group of people who had bold ideas for making the world a better place, and volunteered their time to make them a reality. These five employees received grants from the company in honor of being named to the Fortune Change the World list in 2017, and used them to make a difference in the communities they care about.

We heard from Jamila Hubbard (Making Civics Sexy) and Dominique Durward (empowering young women in Cape Town, South Africa) earlier this year. Here’s a look at what the other three winners have accomplished:

Sylvaine Guille Griffin
Fit developer for product development for tops

 Sylvaine partnered with the nonprofit Build a Nest, which pairs professionals with small NGOs in need of professional support, and a Nairobi-based artisan collective called Maisha, that employs young refugee women from neighboring countries. The group had started by making hand-dyed scarves, but wanted to expand their product offerings to include things like throw pillows, table mats, table runners and hand towels.

Sylvaine’s goal was to spend two weeks with the group and help them set up a small line of new products. The training workshops covered everything from sewing basics to design to the concept of quality control.

I feel very grateful for this experience,” Sylvaine said. “I had to learn to be patient and adaptable, be creative in my teaching and problem solving. The young women are brave and curious, talented and resilient. They love fashion and are incredibly resourceful.”

The artisans weren’t the only ones to benefit from the experience. “Sharing my professional experience and skills was a gift; I felt I could make a difference beyond the 2 weeks training. I know the young women will retain the skills I shared and use them over and over … That is the beauty of manual skills.”

Brett Glickman
Vice president of product development for men’s bottoms

Brett worked with Raphael House, a nonprofit that supports low-income and homeless families in the San Francisco Bay Area, and YogaWorks to establish an ongoing yoga program for both staff and residents.

The staff at Raphael House welcomed the program: “As a nonprofit we don’t have many resources to offer perks like this for our staff,” said one staff member. “Being able to offer something that is helpful for centering oneself and reducing stress is helpful to each of the participating staff members on day-to-day basis, and also benefits the organization by helping employees practice self-care and minimize burnout and attrition.”

Brett said working on the program was “an absolute pleasure. With so much turmoil in the world this year, it is inspiring and rewarding to see organizations come together and truly make a difference in our community … Showing up for ourselves, each other and our community is what makes that difference.”

Teresa Pfaff
Store manager

Teresa’s project was inspired by a simple premise: delivering hygiene kits to homeless camps to help stop the spread of hepatitis. She worked with the nonprofit Clean the World to get 800 kits, and is partnering with Oregon Harbor of Hope to distribute the kits this winter. Some of the kits will be distributed through a mobile shower truck that launches next month to service the homeless community in Portland, Oregon.

“I am humbled by the fact that one person can bring about change,” Teresa said. “And if that one person finds others who have the same passion, we can truly Change the World.”