Southwire focuses on creating shared value—enhancing our competitiveness while enhancing the economic and social conditions in the communities where we operate. Southwire’s approach to Giving Back seeks to positively affect the communities where we operate; to give time and talent in excess of financial contributions; and to benefit our customers’ communities, where we can. As community partners bettering the quality of life in the communities where we operate, we build goodwill.
Our Giving Back activities, therefore, center on three main areas: communities, employee volunteerism and charitable partnerships and donations. Communities was identified as a material topic:
12 for Life®
This award-winning cooperative education program for at-risk students combines traditional classroom instruction with jobs inside our manufacturing plant. By providing students with classroom instruction, on-the-job training, key work/life skills, mentoring and employment opportunities, Southwire helps participants stay in school, graduate and become successful, productive members of the workforce. Learn more on our Communities page.
Project GIFT® (Giving Inspiration for Tomorrow)
Southwire’s signature employee volunteer program, Project GIFT®, celebrated its tenth anniversary in October 2015. This program, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, serves as the umbrella program for many of Southwire’s charitable- and service-related initiatives, such as Toys for Tots and Back to School. Employees become “Blackshirts” —named for the coveted shirts they earn—by volunteering in two or more community service events per year. Today, there are 645 Project GIFT® Blackshirts who volunteered 8,863 hours across our communities in 2015.
The program started in Waveland, Mississippi with nine volunteers bringing Christmas to families devastated by Hurricane Katrina. In 2016, Southwire launches the Project GIFT® app to connect our volunteers and engage others to get involved in our efforts of improving our communities.
We achieved several milestones in 2015:
- Toys for Tots. Through the program, we collected 5,083 toys.
- Back to School. We reached our goal of hosting Back to School events at all of our communities a year earlier than planned, with all 24 Southwire communities participating in our Back to School program. Together, we distributed more than 21,000 bags of school supplies. Additionally, some locations provided free eye and allergy screenings.
- Giving Back Coordinators. Southwire has 30 Giving Back coordinators who volunteer to lead and organize events across our locations in addition to their full time role. These Coordinators demonstrate a passion and go above and beyond to make it possible for Southwire employees to engage in the Project GIFT® Seeking to network and share ideas, 15 of the company’s giving back coordinators from the United States, Canada and Honduras attended the first-ever Giving Back Summit in Carrollton, Georgia.
Read more about Southwire’s Giving Back programs here.
By tracking and evaluating our efforts, we assess the positive impacts and areas for growth. Southwire’s Giving Back goals and progress are listed below:
|Goals||Baseline||2014 Status||2015 Status|
|Advance and improve educational opportunities and outcomes by working with educational institutions to achieve the following:
|Increase volunteerism with the communities in which we operate by achieving 50% improvement in Project GIFT® Blackshirt participation across Southwire by year-end 2018.||451 volunteers||492 volunteers (9% over baseline)||645 volunteers (43% over baseline)|
|Ensure Southwire engages proper mix of charitable donations, community investments and commercial initiatives through annual benchmarking of existing practices.||CECP Benchmark||—||CECP Survey Complete|
|Complete Back-to-School events at each Southwire manufacturing location by year-end 2016.||14 of 25 locations (56%)||17 of 24 locations (71%)||24 of 24 locations (100%)|