The economic news is constant. The 24×7 news cycle bombards us all with information about the economy; $700 billion bailout, 1.2M U.S. jobs trimmed in 2008; Chinese Government pledges $586B stimulus; trillions lost in global financial markets and much more. We are so inundated with these numbers we become numb to their meaning. The numbers are numbing, but the impact is real, it’s painful, it’s hurting people we care about, but first we must translate the numbers into impacts we can understand. This week Intel proudly announced a significant accomplishment. Our employees in more than 40 countries across the globe contributed more than one million hours of community service in 2008. But like all the numbers and news we are pummeled with each day I’m so afraid the true impact of this achievement will arrive on dead ears, ears numb from too many numbers.Let me try to break it down for you by describing what impacts this big number has had. Indulge me while I make it personal and perhaps touch on a community you care about. Intel turned 40 this year, most of us celebrate our 40th milestone with black balloons and rude greeting cards….Intel decided to rededicate itself to service to the community. 40 years of service capped off by the audacious commitment to give back 1 million hours around the globe – uncharted ground, nearly double the amount of hours employees contributed in 2007, but ground we knew our employees would figure out how to maneuver and maneuver they did. From painstakingly teaching calculus to math phobic teenagers at a local high school to helping scientists track endangered turtles and tigers, our employees seized the opportunity and found a way to put their personal passions to work – all the while knowing Intel would back their labor with company support and dollars. Yes, we matched employee time with actual cash to the organizations where our employees chose to volunteer. From schools, to food banks, to shelters, to tiger preserves to local Boys and Girls Clubs more than 5,500 NGOs (organizations as diverse as our employee’s interests) will benefit from Intel’s 40th birthday, benefit both from employee time, expertise and from a check. Let me repeat: one million hours and eight million dollars in matching grants to local schools and many worthy organizations. Do the numbers begin to have any meaning? In my role at Intel I have the privilege of working with a global team of professionals who manage Intel’s community outreach and I had the opportunity to volunteer with six Intel communities this year along with my personal volunteer passions. With my colleagues, we contributed art to a children’s hospital in Oregon, packed care packages for homeless men in California, cleaned an ancient orchard in Ireland, painted a school in Malaysia, built a garden with needy children in Argentina, and created digital text books in India. In my home state of Arizona I was able to work with and raise money for educational groups, public television and the Valley of the Sun United Way. Does one million hours mean anything to you? Have you ever spent an hour with a fidgety teenager reviewing homework?? I hope some of the beneficiaries will take the time to share the impact this commitment has had on their organization – your words and the description of the impact can help us all understand the meaning of the number, this number – one million.
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