Blog


FIND OUT ABOUT THE LOCAL NONPROFITS THAT COULD USE YOUR HELP AT THE MARCH 18 VIRTUAL NH VOLUNTEER FAIR

On March 18, New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility will host a Virtual Volunteer Fair to spotlight the incredible impact of New Hampshire’s leading nonprofits and share opportunities for businesses and individuals to get involved! CASA of NH is just one of the participating nonprofits. You can register at nhbsr.org/volunteer-fair to attend the virtual event and learn more about CASA’s volunteer opportunities… and many others!!


FEATURING:  Marty Sink, CEO and President of CASA of NH and CASA of NH volunteer, Colleen Vien

cornerstone1.jpg
Marcia (Marty) Sink

Sometimes just having your heart in the right place and stepping up can make all the difference. This is especially true when it comes to advocating for children caught up in our courts. And even more so during the pandemic when kids don’t have the same access to the support systems they normally would, like school, daycare or even just going out into the community.

“The scary thing is,” says Marty Sink, CEO and President of CASA of NH, “ within two weeks of our governor’s stay at home order last March at the start of the pandemic, reports of child abuse immediately dropped by 50%, because kids were not in the classroom. They were not being seen by daycare providers. Many are still at home in isolation in remote learning situations or perhaps a hybrid classroom model, and for some of our kids that might not be safe.” CASA of NH is all too aware of the gaps in the child protection and juvenile court systems. The nonprofit pairs kids in the court systems with individuals in the community who have volunteered to advocate on a child’s behalf. This advocate gathers information about a child’s needs, whether they are being met, and what actions might be in the child’s best interest. CASA volunteers might talk to parents, extended family members, teachers, and service providers. Most importantly, these advocates talk to and interact with the kids themselves, providing a stable and supportive adult figure in their lives.

CASA of NH receives every case that comes through the court system and last year was able to meet the need of 86% of cases with volunteers, with the goal to eventually cover 100% of the state’s needs. For an organization Marty started in 1989 as a foster parent herself, with just one and a half staff positions and ten volunteers, CASA’s impact and rise to meet these needs has been immense. From just a small smattering of judges, towns, courts, and volunteers, CASA of NH is now involved in every court in the state, includes 600 volunteers, and has a staff of 36 people.

During the pandemic, CASA continues to recruit and train advocates, their role is more crucial now than ever. In normal circumstances advocates would meet with children once a month, with many choosing to meet more frequently. To adapt to the pandemic, however, advocates are now connecting through virtual meetings with kids. They can attend court hearings through zoom or by dialing in over the phone.

Volunteers themselves are from all walks of life. They may be older or younger, busy people or retired, and their backgrounds and interests are just as varied. No particular knowledge or skillset is required to be a volunteer. What unites these volunteers instead is their compassion and commitment to showing up for kids that need them.

“Volunteers sign up wanting to change a child’s life,” says Marty, “and so many actually realize how much their own lives have been changed in the process. The impact of this work, the training and support they receive throughout it, and the experience itself is incredibly rewarding.”

mackenzie57.jpg
Collen Vien

Colleen Vien, who has served on NHBSR’s board of directors for the past couple of years, learned about volunteer opportunities with CASA at NHBSR’s Sustainability Awards last March. She has gone through the 40 hour training process and is ready to take on her first case. “I wanted to contribute to something that would be rewarding, both heart and soul,” says Colleen, “My grandmother fostered kids and I wanted to give back to this legacy."

The training Colleen went through was online, included a background check, and an interview. Colleen shares of the experience, “[CASA of NH] asks questions that unpack your motives and rationale and really tell you a lot about yourself. But the biggest thing that they really want to know is if your heart is in this and if you can be that caring, consistent adult.”

Colleen continues, “Then they prepare you to manage situations you might find yourself in as a volunteer, making sure that you’re ready for the challenge. They teach you everything you need to know from gathering information to engaging with kids at different ages. And they let you know that they’re available as a support whenever you need it, too.” Colleen reflects on how being a CASA volunteer is much more of a commitment than a typical volunteer opportunity, “It’s not a show up and work hard for four hours to paint a school or something. It’s a commitment. But in that way it feels much more meaningful to me, like I’m giving my full self. Showing up, saying to a kid, ‘I really enjoyed spending time with you, I’ll be back in two weeks’ and reading a book together or coloring is huge. When their world just got ripped out from underneath their feet, your being there matters.”

“These kids need us,” affirms Marty, “and we’ll find a way to do this work one way or another. It’s important and we need volunteers who are committed and ready. And everyone needs to know that all New Hampshire citizens are mandated reporters. If you witness or suspect a child is being hurt in any way, speak up!”

To learn more about CASA of NH and other volunteer opportunities with impact, register for our Virtual Volunteer Fair on March 18 at nhbsr.org/volunteer-fair.

 

volunteer_fair_0.png

 

FEATURING:  Susan Veligor, Principal at Cornerstone Financial Planning

(Photo Credits: Cornerstone Financial Planning)

cornerstone1.jpg
Susan Veligor

In 2004 Jill Boynton and Susan Veligor started Cornerstone Financial Planning, a now 8 person consultancy firm that works with clients primarily from Maine and New Hampshire. Originally colleagues, Jill and Susan found that they worked really well together. Both driven and passionate about their work, they set out on their own to create a business that not only flourished on their model for strong team relationships and purpose driven work, but also centered this focus in their work with clients.

“Who we work with, their values and what they care about is always more important than what they have,” says Susan, “the client is more important than the client’s money.” By being invested in finding out what matters to their clients - their values, Cornerstone works with clients to set goals. “We engage with people across the spectrum: career beginners through retirement. We also work with many nontraditional couples. Our goals are always driven by what matters most to each of them.”

Socially responsible investing, also known as impact investing, is something that’s become more mainstream. Cornerstone shares responsible investment opportunities with clients and these opportunities are often in alignment with clients’ own values, a drive to be better for the planet as well as profitable. Susan explains, “[impact investing] used to mean that you may not get the same return, but now that’s different. You can have your heart in the right place and have it be be profitable, too.” On the client end, Cornerstone is finding that retirees feel a similar responsibility as millennials to affect change and, increasingly, people are asking for more responsible investing opportunities.

mackenzie57.jpg
Susan Veligor, Jill Boynton, Mackenzie Arsenault, Christina Traurig

As a certified B Corp, Cornerstone upholds its own responsibility to have a direct community impact. 1% of the consultancy’s annual revenue is donated and all employees play a role in deciding where these funds go based on the causes that matter most to them. Employees also get time off to volunteer and team-building days and projects often involve some way of giving back. Bringing this same ethos of care inwards, Cornerstone prioritizes employee health and wellness. During summer months, their Portland and Newington offices close early on Fridays so that employees can get out and enjoy themselves. 

“We encourage feedback and ideas for improvement. There’s this spirit of common goals for the company,” adds Susan, “We’re also very proud of being female-owned in an industry that’s heavily weighted in favor of men. We’re used to bringing conversations and different perspectives to the table and that’s been key in how we work and communicate so well as a team.” This care for community and coming together is the same driving force behind Cornerstone’s care for the  planet, which, says Susan, “feels very dear to our hearts.”

From using green cleaning products to direct community investments, the team at Cornerstone is keenly aware of how they can act on their values and contribute to something bigger. “I would describe Cornerstone as thoughtful and progressive,” says Susan, “an empowered organization that wants to make a difference in people’s lives, with the hope that they can then go out to make a difference in the world. That is the heart of who we are and why we do what we do. Being generous in how we treat employees, being generous with clients and taking the time to get to know them, these are the things that matter and make a difference.” 

To learn more about Cornerstone Financial Planning, you can reach out to Susan at Susan@cornerstoneplanning.com

 

img_7382.jpg

Sunrise compost bucket
(All Photo Credits: Sunrise Labs)

For over 25 years, clients have come to Sunrise Labs for complete product development and engineering services. Specializing in Medical Device and Life Science instrumentation development, Sunrise is known for solving tough engineering problems and turning novel ideas into commercially viable products. Their ingenuity in problem solving and innovation runs throughout the company and also drives its internal sustainability initiatives.

jillians_chickens_2.jpg
Compost from Sunrise's kitchen is used a chicken feed

A little over a year ago, to kick-off Earth Day, Sunrise created the Green Team, which is a committee of seven individuals representing several departments at Sunrise. One of the Green Team’s first initiatives was to reduce the enormous waste generated from the kitchen. Recycling food waste through a composting system was an easy program to adopt by employees, and the program has saved 10-13 gallons of organic waste per week from going to the landfill. They bought one-gallon recycling buckets that were easy to use, transported easily, and could be sanitized in the dishwasher.  “Most compost actually goes to an employee’s chicken farm as a feed supplement”, describes Eric Soederberg, President of Sunrise Labs. Then, in full cycle, eggs are brought back to Sunrise and sold. People look forward to the fresh eggs produced by the chickens that we have helped feed!” Additionally, says Eric, we’ve replaced plastic plates and utensils with china and stainless steel, and a beverage machine was installed to eliminate the use of plastic/aluminum beverage containers and associated transport waste.”

img_7286.jpg
Sunrise employees prepare for their Slam presentation

These small changes in the kitchen led to other, bigger sustainability changes. Last fall Sunrise installed six electric car charging stations in the front of the building and offered an accompanying $2,000 incentive for employees to purchase their own electric cars by mid-July. To date, three Sunrise employees have taken advantage of this incentive. Sunrise has also renovated its roof as it plans to install a solar array to reduce its carbon footprint.

The composting program was featured at NH Businesses for Social Responsibility’s Sustainability Slam last fall and won in its presenting category: small company environmental initiative. “Through watching all the skits at the Slam,” says Eric, “we learned what other companies have done to build their corporate culture, show appreciation for their employees, and the measures they have taken to be more sustainable. It was great to meet and network with other like-minded companies before and after the presentations.

“I would describe the slam as inspiring, invigorating and fun.  Our Green Team really enjoyed the creativity involved in coming up with the idea and planning for their skit. At first they were nervous about presenting, until they realized that there is no way to fail in front of this crowd. The audience loved the chicken costume we had on stage, and the whoopie cushion got a big laugh!! Everyone was fun loving and passionate about sustainability!”

 

To learn more about Sunrise Labs and its sustainability initiatives, you can contact Eric at esoederberg@sunriselabs.com or Dee Cleary at dcleary@sunriselabs.com. You can also connect with them at our Sustainability Slam in November, which will be held virtually this year on the 12th from 4-6 PM. Visit nhbsr.org/JOT for more information.

Jack’s Pizza, located in Alton and Pittsfield, NH, is not just a pizza shop. Rather, describes Jack’s Director Kathleen Menegozzi, “We use the business of pizza to support our communities and workers, who, as COVID-19 has made especially clear, are frontline workers and are essential to everything we do at Jack’s.”

jacks_unh_.jpg

Jack's participated in the B Impact Clinic to assess and improve their impact 
(Photo Credits: University of NH Center for Social Innovation)

As a whole, the restaurant industry is notorious for treating its workers poorly despite being the largest and fastest growing industry in the United States.  In 2018 alone, 13 million in cash funnels and a small village of lobbyists were sent in to persuade elected officials to continue to uphold a sub minimum wage of $2.13 for “tipped” workers that hasn’t changed since 1991.  With this stark reality in place,  fifty-two percent of all workers who are at or below the minimum wage are in the restaurant industry, yet restaurant workers make up only 15 percent of all workers in all occupations earning an hourly wage. Add questionable conditions, pervasive harassment and a lack of development/opportunity and you have a full-fledged crisis not only for restaurant workers but for owners as well.

Jack’s Pizza, however, is exploring how restaurants can better engage and support their employees through  trust, open communication and empathy. Their approach is more tangibly (and perhaps sustainably) foundationed on networks of support that were featured last fall at NH Businesses for Social Responsibility’s Just One Thing Sustainability Slam. Kayla Moody, Toni Ranaldi, and Raquel Sheridan joined Kathleen and Owner Jason Isabelle on stage to describe the host of life struggles they and other employees faced, from childcare to transportation to mental and physical health and wellness, and how external resources like licensed counselors, credit unions, and state programs/initiatives  can help employees learn how to manage these challenges. Their winning presentation proved that small businesses can build strategic community partnerships to actively help their workers overcome life’s hardships.

financial_workshop.jpg

Jack's employees attending an in-shop financial workshop 
(Photo Credits: Jack's Pizza)

“There’s this prevailing mentality in our society that you need to deal with personal life struggles at home and that you can’t bring them into work. Then, on the business end, employers feel that they don’t have the time to help struggling workers,” says Kathleen, “But supporting your employees doesn’t mean being the one to solve all these issues. There are professionals for that. So, it’s really just about pointing your employees in the right direction and supporting them in getting the help they need. Creating the type of environment where this is possible, however, does take thoughtful effort.”

After a turbulent start, Jack’s and Kathleen have both learned the value of taking “small steps,” adjusting their expectations along the way. Building trust and self-esteem, leaning on teachable moments and providing the space for vulnerability takes time. “We had to feel comfortable leading with vulnerability ourselves,” Kathleen says, “admitting that there are days that we struggle and make mistakes and that it’s okay. The effort and thought that it takes to create a culture like this may sound significant at first, but the cost of not supporting your workers in this way is far greater.” High turnover rates in the restaurant industry lead to higher employee costs and lower service quality, according to a national study on restaurant industry practices published in 2014.

snack_pack_student.jpg
Jack's Student Snack Pack Program provided meals to kids when schools shut down due to COVID-19
(Photo Credits: Jack's Pizza)

“Presenting at the Slam last fall,” says Kathleen, “we really felt a sense of community with other businesses trying to make a difference in their communities and within their industries. It was fun and engaging for our team to be on stage telling our story. There was this great feeling of pride in who we are and what we stand for.”

Jack’s Pizza continues to prove that it is not just a pizza shop; their care and concern for their employees and community is as evident as ever. When schools shut down amid COVID-19 concerns, Jack’s Pizza stepped up to help provide kids meals as the Pittsfield and neighboring districts rushed to get their mobile lunch programs set up. Now, Jack’s is working on releasing a code of conduct that will set the expectation that customers treat their workers with respect and dignity or risk the possibility of being asked not to return again. Obviously, for Jack’s this ensures that their workers remain and feel safe during COVID-19, but it’s also just good business that doesn’t end there. Jack’s is also in the process of developing a resiliency training series for essential workers and leaders with renowned communication coach Leah Bonivissuto of Present Voices. Together, Leah and Kathleen intend to make these trainings available at the national level as a resource for employees and businesses alike.

sidewalk_service.jpg
Jack's prioritizes safety for its workers and customers
(Photo Credits: Jack's Pizza)

Jack’s Pizza will continue to serve up goodness along with their delicious, locally sourced pizza and we’re looking forward to hearing more about their efforts and the innovative ways that the business of pizza can support and serve our communities!

 

To learn more about Jack’s Pizza and their transformative employee assistance program, you can contact Kathleen at kathleen@jackspizzanh.com or connect with her at this year’s Sustainability Slam, which will be held virtually this year on November 12th from 4-6 PM. To find out more and share your own Just One Thing story, visit nhbsr.org/JOT.

ground_mount_in_snow.jpg
Ground mount solar array in the snow
(All Photo Credits: ReVision Energy)

ReVision Energy is an employee-owned, mission-driven company that, over the past 15 years, has been building a better world through solar energy. Incorporated into the ESOP’s mission is a steadfast commitment to creating a more just society. The certified B Corp serves the greater New England area with offices in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

ericanddan_1.png

Employee-Owners Dan Clapp and Eric St. Pierre show their support for renewable energy

Last fall, ReVision Energy took to the stage at NH Businesses for Social Responsibility’s Sustainability Slam to tell the audience about their new training and education program. The ReVision Energy Technical Center (RETC) provides certification and apprenticeships to those pursuing careers to become licensed electricians. Currently in its third year, the program was founded, in part, to address the shortage of skilled workers in the electrical field.

“In our work we saw a great need for Electricians,” says Astrid Blanco, ReVision’s Talent and Culture Development Specialist, “but more than that, we saw how demographically those trained professionals skewed older and closer to retirement. So, not only do we have this high demand for those in the trade right now, but that demand will only become greater as the workforce ages. In the solar field we’re vying for the same small population to hire from as advanced manufacturing and construction and it’s only going to get harder for find people. When we think about the business community and its viability down the line, we really need these skilled workers. We need them to keep businesses here and jobs here. Then, on the workforce end, we’re helping people build the careers they want and secure good, stable jobs.”

mel_doing_electrical_.jpg
Mel Janarelli, Master Electrician, completes some electrical work

One key component of the RETC, explains Program Director, Nathan Poland, “is the flexibility it offers participants. This flexibility makes the program possible for anyone, whether they’re juggling kids or other commitments at home.” Most apprenticeship and licensure programs organize class time after a full day’s work in the field, leaving students exhausted and in a less than ideal mentality to learn. Because RETC has a remote component, students are able to complete some classwork within a timeframe that suites their busy schedules. This flexibility has also meant that RETC has been able to continue during the pandemic. Providing an in-house program has certainly allowed ReVision Energy to shift gears and adapt to changes much quicker and easier.

dannycoaddd-fist_pump_1.png

ReVision Project Manager Danny Coad celebrating another completed project

Another important aspect of the program is how it offers cross specialty training that prepares participants to begin their career wherever their interests may lie. “Of course,” says Astrid, “we would love them to continue with ReVision in the renewable energy field, but we’re thrilled for them if they want to join the Navy Yard or Lonza Biologics or any other businesses in New Hampshire. We want them to continue to advance their skills and pursue the careers that they want with this springboard that we’ve provided. We’re just excited to play a part in building a more skilled New Hampshire workforce.”

palacecrew.png
ReVision Solar Installers Chris Pamboukes and Steve Palumbo installing a roof top system

RETC is expanding into other New England states in which ReVision Energy operates and is sure to make a positive impact in the lives of its students and their communities. Revision Energy shows that businesses really can play an integral part in building our workforce of tomorrow and investing in the long term prosperity of our communities. As an ESOP and a B Corp, ReVision Energy is especially attuned to the interconnectedness of the health of our businesses and that of our people. Most recently, their Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) initiative is exploring how to level the playing field to provide more affordable energy options for lower income communities. JEDI centers on the inclusion of women and BIPOC as well as the legislative actions that would help enable greater opportunity for community solar projects.

 

To learn more about ReVision Energy and the RETC, you can contact Astrid at ablanco@revisionenergy.com or Nathan at npoland@revisionenergy.com. You can also connect with them at our Sustainability Slam, which will be held virtually this year on November 12th from 4-6 PM. Visit nhbsr.org/JOT for more information and to submit your own Just One Thing story.

img_6385.jpgWe are all learning new ways to adapt and be flexible around the challenges of COVID-19. We were able to sit down virtually with Eric Soederberg, President and CEO of Sunrise Labs, product development firm, to gain insight into the solutions Sunrise has implemented to continue to meet client and employee needs during these unprecedented times. We hope that you may be able to use some of the tools, approaches and insights Eric shares to help strengthen the resiliency of your own organization.

 

Can you paint a broad picture of the challenges COVID-19 has presented for Sunrise Labs and your response?

I felt it was important to take early action - ahead of any government guidance - and asked everyone that could work from home to do so, over a month ago. Thanks, in part, to the many tools Sunrise has invested in through the years for communication and collaboration, we are able to work quite efficiently from remote locations. 

Many of our clients have been deemed essential businesses given the important work they do in providing lifesaving medical devices. We're proud we've been able to continue progress on their important programs with negligible, if any impact to date.  Our team is now 90%+ working remote and continuing to collaborate with clients. This has also afforded the few team members that do need to be in our facility for access to equipment, etc. the ability to stay fairly isolated with so few of them in our facility. 

 

tony_2020.jpgAre there certain tools or project management efforts you might be able to share that could be helpful to other NHBSR members?

Each department holds frequent video conference calls with their teams, using Google Meet (was Hangout Meet), which solved the need for face to face interaction. We are now using Slack, a tool we routinely use for team communication with clients, as another way for Sunrise team members to keep in touch. We've set up two new channels in Slack. The first is ‘The Water-Cooler, which is where employees can post anything non-business related, like images of their 'coworker pets' or what they did over the weekend with the kids. It’s important for us to still feel connected to each other. The second channel is for business related topics. Then, I send out a “Sunrise Update” twice a week on how the company is doing and thanking people for their amazing efforts.  I meet with my leadership team 3 mornings a week via Meet to check in on how their teams are doing. We still hold our regular monthly company meetings, now instead of having 5% of the company on Meet, we have 100% on Meet. 

Medical device development is a highly regulated industry, and project documentation continues to be a key component of our quality management system. We have been using a robust set of cloud based project management tools for years, including Huddle and JIRA.  This made moving to remote work much easier than it otherwise might have been.  

 

nick_with_baby_sylvi_maria.jpgHow is Sunrise Labs addressing the Health and Wellbeing of employees during this difficult time?

We are also responding to the unique health and wellbeing challenges that Covid-19 presents.  Many of our families are struggling with the stay-at-home situation.  This is not unique to Sunrise.  Kids are home from school and back from college, daycare facilities are either shut down or not deemed safe, grandparents that may have helped with child care have to stay isolated, spouses and older children are furloughed or lost their jobs, and the list goes on.  Sunrise is being very flexible on when work can be done and on providing leave options where necessary that preserve benefits and provide a pay check, though not always full-pay.  To help deal with the stress we offered a conference and a webinar that present tools, practices, and tips to maintain our mental health throughout this crisis and beyond.

Some of our regular health/wellness initiatives have also continued, although the onsite yoga has moved to Meet, and chair massages have been on hold. We have kept our after-hours meditation group going virtually as well as our bi-weekly 'lunch & learn' nutrition class.  The Green Team's first newsletter went out recently to educate and encourage people to continue composting and instructions on how to build a simple 'keyhole' garden.

From a marketing standpoint, all the events that we were planning on have either gone virtual or were postponed to September. September is going to be a very busy month!  Instead of speaking engagements, we've been doing podcasts and webinars to share thought leadership with our audience.

 

Thank you, Eric, for taking the time to talk about some of Sunrise Lab’s efforts and initiatives. We are looking forward to getting to the other end of this and are so appreciative of how members like you are so willing to share your experiences and knowledge!

Photo Credits: Sunrise Labs

Picture 1: Eric Soederberg, President and CEO of Sunrise Labs

Picture 2: Tony, Work From Home Mascot, on Slack

Picture 3: Nick Lesniewski-Laas, Director of Electrical Engineering of Sunrise Labs, on Zoom with his newborn daughter Sylvi Maria

By: Lisa Drake, Director of Sustainability Innovation at Stonyfield and NHBSR Board Co-chair

0_0.pngNHBSR’s Advocacy Committee is ramping up our efforts in 2020 and we invite all businesses to join us.

Starting in 2017, our committee first took on the issue of clean energy. Partnering up with non-profit partners engaged in this topic, including CERES, Clean Energy NH, the Nature Conservancy and others – we supported our members in finding opportunities to share their clean energy stories and be a business voice in support of clean energy. Most notably, we authored the NH Clean Energy Principles that now has over 120 businesses as signatories and has been shared with legislators, the Governor and others to show business support for clean energy policy in New Hampshire. If your business hasn’t yet become a signatory, you can do so here.

More recently, we’ve been exploring other issues which impact businesses, our workforce and the well-being of our state and its residents. Rising to the top is the critical housing shortage. With availability and affordability challenges, housing issues can impact businesses’ ability to hire and people’s access to good paying jobs, childcare, healthcare and more. As communities often struggle with how to balance housing needs with development, land use and zoning issues, the business perspective can help broaden the conversation. More to come on this topic.

Additionally, the climate crisis is bringing new issues into the State House such as how to set our state on a path toward climate neutrality and how agriculture can be part of the solution to climate change.

We hope you and your businesses are interested in getting informed and engaged in these topics. Our committee will be regular contributors to the NHBSR newsletter with educational information and ways to get involved, so stay tuned!

By: Colleen Vien, Sustainability Director of Timberland and NHBSR Board Member

cv_headshot.png

Did you know that voter turnout in the U.S. is one of the lowest in the developed world?  Shocking!!!  Voting is the lifeblood of a democracy. It’s a hard-won right, a weighty responsibility and an incredible privilege that too often goes unclaimed in America. The more people who feel empowered to use their voice, the stronger this country will be.  One of the most common reasons people give for not voting is that they’re too busy with the demands of work and life.   Workers shouldn’t have to choose between earning a paycheck and voting. 

  • To address this barrier and increase voter participation, a diverse coalition of companies came together in the summer of 2018 to launch Time to Vote.  Timberland was one of those companies.  The companies signing on made a commitment to ensure their employees had a work schedule that allowed them time to vote in that year's midterm elections.  In 2018, more than half of U.S. eligible voters cast a ballot, the highest turnout rate for a midterm election in four decades, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  Today, we are reigniting the efforts of Time to Vote, building on our past results and working to engage even more employers in the lead-up to the 2020 elections.

Time to Vote is a nonpartisan effort that demonstrates the power of what the business community can achieve when it works to address one of the most significant issues of our time. Together, we can have an even greater impact.

time_to_vote_stacked_purple.png

Time to Vote Charter Statement:

Time to Vote is a business-led initiative that ensures employees across America don't have to choose between voting and earning a paycheck. It is:

  • Not consumer facing (this is a business-to-business initiative)
  • Nonpartisan 
  • Unaffiliated with any one specific NGO or other independent party
  • Non-prescriptive (no “one approach fits all”)
  • Not policy driven, but meant to shift the culture
  • Business-led
  • Non-issue specific

The only commitment asked is for CEO’s to commit that they will make the time for employees to vote – how you do that is up to your organization.  This can include providing voting information to employees; access to early voting or vote-by-mail options; declaring voting days as “no-meetings days”; and/or offering paid time off on Election Day – from a full day to a few hours, or a flex day.  There is no “one approach fits all” here.  We recognize that employers have their own restrictions and company guidelines that may dictate how they implement Time to Vote. Participants have the flexibility to implement the initiative as they best see fit for their employees – the key is making the time for employees, communicating it broadly, and encouraging them to take the Time to Vote!  

Time to Vote is for companies that want to contribute to the culture shift needed to increase voter participation in our country’s elections.   I call on all NHBSR member companies to consider joining this important movement.  Currently there are 400+ companies that have signed on to this commitment.  Our goal is to have more than 1,000 companies commit to Time to Vote. To learn more and sign up, visit www.maketimetovote.org.

You can also join the Time to Vote Webinar on February 6 to learn more and find out how to get involved.

Innovative students and community members are front and center at University of New Hampshire's Social Venture Innovation Challenge (SVIC), which asks participants to imagine creative new business solutions to our most pressing environmental and social challenges. Since 2013, the SVIC has equipped UNH students and community members alike with a wealth of knowledge, resources and mentorship to make their business ideas a reality.

NHBSR supports these emerging leaders by providing a one year membership allowing them to connect with our programming and you!

 

Please welcome 2019’s SVIC Winners to the NHBSR network...

-click pictures to play linked videos-

 

Community Track   Student Track    

vice.png

First Place: V’ice Haiti empowers Haitians to make and sell affordable vitaminized products as self-employed micro-franchisees. This model addresses two critical social issues in Haiti: unemployment and vitamin deficiency. V’ice, in its first year, has provided over 80,000 vitamin enriched V’ice shaved ice cones. Furthermore, the social venture has employed 10 manufacturing employees, 3 micro-franchisee managers and 2 micro-franchisees. V’ice is now looking to scale up to 40 hubs throughout Haiti, which is estimated to provide jobs to over 50 Haitian youth and mothers.

 

“It is crucial that we continue to build, grow and foster a community of people who are all working towards a greater cause! So much of our ability to help and empower others comes from having a strong support group of socially minded businesses and organizations. We are leading the change that we want to see in the world, and the best ideas always come from the synergy of many people's creativity coming together!” – Haley Burns, Social Ventures Investment Administrator, V’ice Haiti at Social Ventures Foundation

kikori.png

First Place: Kikori is an easy-to-use app that helps educators improve their students' social, emotional and academic outcomes. The app offers teachers an experiential activity platform that is aligned with curriculum, training and impact measurement tools. With Kikori as a tool at their fingertips, teachers can transform their classrooms to help ensure student succeed across the board.

 

“Within every asset of Kikori, we believe that we are stronger together.  As this is the approach we live by, we can only dream of what types of opportunities there are if we are able to connect with a network of New Hampshire socially minded businesses and organizations through NHBSR.”Kendra Bostick and Bryn Lottig, Co-Founders, Kikori

toychest.png

Second Place: Community Toy Chest offers toy rental membership, community play spaces and enriching STEAM activities. This alternative model to traditional toy consumption decreases resource use and landfill waste, while creating kid-friendly spaces for families to connect in and enjoy. Community Toy Chest ultimately encourages the growth of ecologically-minded children who recognize the importance of sharing and caring for the earth.

 

“We are excited to join NHBSR so we can learn what other New Hampshire businesses are doing in the area of sustainability, as well as share our own knowledge.  We are excited to be part of a motivated and like-minded group with similar sustainability goals.” – Jessica Forrest and Hannah MacBride, Co-Founders, Community Toy Chest

screen_shot_2020-01-14_at_9.18.47_am.png

Second Place: Ambrosia Fabrics is developing nontoxic performance fabric made from some of the most sustainable fibers on the planet: hemp and bamboo. These fibers both come from carbon-absorbing plants that do not need chemically-intensive treatments to be suitable for upholstery. Use of these natural materials helps combat poor indoor air quality in homes and uses less resources with significantly lower carbon emmissions than traditional textile production.

 

“I look forward to joining NHBSR and connecting with like-minded individuals and businesses who are focused on sustainability and improving the environment we live in; I look forward to connecting and helping out in any way I can!"Chris Hollis, Founder, Ambrosia Fabrics

wildcats.png

Third Place: Wildcats Willing addresses food security in New Hampshire. This social venture was designed with UNH Dining to repurpose edible and unused food. Currently, food unused from UNH Dining is composted. Wildcats Willing, however, would be able to safely deliver this food to a local non-profit organization that serves the hungry. By implementing Wildcats Unwilling, this local nonprofit could serve an estimated 400 extra meals a day. Moreover, Wildcats Willing would provide a successful food system model for all types of institutions that serve high quantities of food throughout the day.

 

“NHBSR provides us the opportunity to expand our own interests concerning social change via business models and initiatives. We hope to find connections and potentially collaborate on our existing idea or work with organizations on new projects and ideas. A community of socially minded businesses and organizations will support our goals and ambitions of implementing Wildcats Willing. Connecting with the network at NHBSR will hopefully provide the both of us with professional connections to work with for years to come.”John DeAngelis and Brennan Williams, Co-Founders, Wildcats Willing: A UNH Food Re-Purposing Initiative

screen_shot_2020-01-14_at_9.22.52_am.png

Third Place: New Hampshire Toy Library Network increases equity, decreases waste, fosters fun and provides opportunities for recent graduates within the state. The spark for this social venture came from UNH students noticing the steep costs of adapted toys for children and how even conventional toys could be cost prohibitive. Student-run NH Toy Libraries would provide greater access to toys and helpful services to both libraries and families, while giving college students a chance to network in the Granite State by running and managing the Toy Libraries.

 

It would be amazing to learn from NHBSR members and see so much of the inspiring work people in the Granite State are doing. We are honored to have been given this opportunity.” – Marisa Rafal, Founder, New Hampshire Toy Library Network

 

 

 

 

FEATURING:  Anne Richardson, Principal + Media Director at Richardson Media Group

(Photo Credits: Raya on Assignment)

a_richardson_-_roa_3425-2.jpg

Richardson Media Group is a strategic media planning and buying agency with expertise in content development, lead fulfillment, and search engine optimization (SEO). Based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the agency works with a wide variety of clients, particularly those in the education, technology, and professional services sectors. 

 Anne Richardson founded Richardson Media Group in 2014 after planning and buying media at full-service advertising agencies from Portland, Maine, to Boston, Massachusetts. Over the past five years, her firm has expanded its list of service offerings and added to its marketing staff to match the growing needs of a diverse client roster. 

Today, Anne is joined at Richardson Media Group by three colleagues. Erica Holthausen oversees business operations along with content development, lead fulfillment, and SEO. Brenda Brooks deftly handles project management and Marco Mottola serves as the agency’s digital media buying specialist.

Together, the team has a proven track record of developing, executing, and optimizing multi-layered paid media campaigns that are shaped by client goals, informed by user engagement, and driven by campaign data and website analytics. Client objectives are met with targeted lead fulfillment, smart content development, and robust SEO. 

And they don’t do it alone.

Richardson Media Group is by nature a collaborative agency. “We’re energized by and benefit from partnering with creative agencies, including graphic designers, branding companies and web developers,” says Anne. “Managing an effective advertising campaign requires strong communication skills and reciprocal sharing of ideas. The very best projects allow us to create long-lasting partnerships with others in our industry.”

Anne sees NHBSR as fitting right into her agency’s values and is excited to connect with other companies committed to raising their consciousness around social responsibility and sustainability. “As a small firm, we are aware of the little things we can do on a daily basis to be more socially responsible,” says Anne. “It’s one of the reasons we choose to operate within a community, like Portsmouth, one that is walkable, near the ocean and offers an easy commute. It’s also why we have sought to house our business in historic buildings that have been adapted for reuse.”

Anne recognizes that there will always be more work to do and hopes to share her personal journey towards sustainability and social responsibility with NHBSR in a future blog post. 

Stay tuned!

Learn more about Richardson Media Group at www.richardsonmediagroup.com. You can also email Anne at anne@richardsonmediagroup.com or call (603) 373-8866.

Pages