MAKING A BIG IMPACT: THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU VOLUNTEER AS A TEAM
During the 2017 Champions Retreat, more than 500 leaders from certified B Corporations around the world gathered to discuss harnessing the power of business as a force for good through servant leadership, collective action, and interdependence. This was our first time attending the retreat since becoming certified last October. It was also the first time the event was held outside of the U.S, right here in Toronto.
At Ramp, we like to make a difference, especially in our own backyard. That’s why we started a volunteer program to help us enhance the communities in which we live and work, and improve the quality of life for those around us. Every member of the Ramp team can spend up to three days each year volunteering during work hours, and the best part is we get paid to do so!
During the Champions Retreat, a group of local Toronto B Corporations organized activities to put our collective triple bottom line values of social, environmental, and economic justice into practice. We divided our team up to make a bigger impact and we ended up joining three very cool community service tours to #BTheChange in our own neighbourhood.
Here’s how the Ramp team spent the day:
Regent Park revitalization: Ingredients for a Thriving Neighbourhood
Our creative director David, director of client services Doug, and office administrator Lisa participated in the Regent Park revitalization: Ingredients for a Thriving Neighbourhood tour. Regent Park is a neighbourhood that we know well because it’s right where our office is located. During the tour, the group learned about the decades-long partnership between local community stakeholders and this government, which led to dramatic physical, economic and social change in the area. After exploring the community with a fresh perspective, they lent a hand at a local food program’s lunch service and took part in a few hours of food prep, service and clean up.
Green City: Evergreen Brickworks Flourishing Cities
Our account executive and social media strategist Jennifer and art director Sheree did some gardening and grounds maintenance at Evergreen Brickworks, a former quarry transformed into a global showcase for green design and urban sustainability. They did a guided tour, wandered up to the top of the lookout path for a spectacular view of the Toronto skyline and wrapped the day up with a local and sustainable lunch from the onsite restaurant, Cafe Belong. Not a bad way to spend a Tuesday!
Toronto is for Everyone: Building an Inclusive City
Meanwhile, our president Shelley and designer Kelsey spent the day painting Ramps (no pun intended), to help make Toronto more accessible for people of all abilities with the StopGap Foundation. StopGap is a local non-profit working to increase accessibility by building colourful, wooden wheelchair ramps and distributing them to local businesses. They met the organization’s founder, Luke Anderson, P.Eng., to learn about how he started the organization and his plans for national expansion. There was also a lively lunchtime discussion regarding The Gladstone Hotel’s case study for accessibility and inclusion led by Christina Zeidler. She discussed the process that the location went through to become an anti-oppressive environment and how it implemented gender sensitivity training and inclusive, gender-neutral washrooms through its partnership with George Brown College’s Free to Pee initiative.
Image Source: Gladstone Hotel
Participating in the retreat’s community service tours gave us an opportunity to learn more about the history of our beloved city of Toronto, to make a difference, and support some of the great causes that call our city home. We were also able to welcome some of our international friends from the B Corporation community to Canada, all while giving back and having fun!
How To Be The Best For The World
Recently, Ramp was recognized as one of the top B Corporations in the world for our positive impact on our employees. We’re so proud to be among the top 10% of more than 2,100 Certified B Corporations in the Workers category of the B Impact Assessment. The independent assessment run by the nonprofit B Lab measures how we treat our staff through compensation, benefits, training and ownership opportunities as well as our overall work environment including management/worker communication, job flexibility, corporate culture, and worker health and safety practices. We earned our place on the list thanks to policies like this one, regarding community service, work-life balance, and professional development. We truly want to make sure that Ramp is a great place to work for our team and that we have a positive impact on the communities we serve.
If your organization doesn’t have a community service or volunteer program you may want to consider implementing one. It’s a great way to strengthen your team’s collaboration, do some hands-on learning, and build a culture of volunteering into your organization.
We can’t wait for our next volunteer opportunity and more great B Corporation events in the future. Want to share your company’s community service or volunteering policy? We’d love to compare notes so please feel free to drop us a line to discuss.