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Our Communities

Making a positive impact in people's lives is in our DNA—both in and out of the office. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic stretching into a second year, employees donated over 1,200 volunteer hours in support of the communities where we live, work, and operate. Through employee-led volunteer initiatives and direct charitable contributions, Abt advanced all five of our Mission Impact Goals this year, emphasizing Equity and Inclusion and Economic Security to help catalyze a just and equitable economic recovery from the pandemic.

Total Giving FY22

Giving Our Time

We support our staff’s volunteering efforts through dedicated floating holidays and paid leave hoursguaranteed through company policy and encouraged by leadership across our teams.

Through our Employee Volunteer Policy, employees from Abt Australia and Britain are offered two days of paid leave to engage in volunteer activities. And Abt U.S. staff are encouraged to take advantage of a newly introduced Social Impact Floating Holiday, which employees may use anytime during the fiscal year to support a cause or contribute to their community in a way that is meaningful to them. Activities have ranged from cleaning up a park on Earth Day and working phones to fight voter suppression, to connecting neighbors to resources after a natural disaster, serving meals at a homeless shelter, and reading to school children. Through these activities, our staff live Abt’s mission far beyond the walls of our offices.

One inspiring example of how staff have used their time is through the Volunteer Taskforce in our Brisbane, Australia Head Office. In November, the taskforce provided services at the 25th annual Homeless Connect event, which offers vulnerable members of the Brisbane community vital services and supplies such as haircuts, immunizations, clothing, non-perishable food, and personal care items. The event drew over 660 guests and 300 volunteers.

Pro Bono Work

Our Emerging Impact pro bono program gives staff the opportunity to serve a mission-aligned non-profit while gaining professional development skills. In the program’s third year, Abt staff partnered with Our House, an organization that provides programs to enrich the lives of children and families experiencing homelessness and resources needed to end the cycle of homelessness and poverty. Throughout the year, Abt staff worked to evaluate existing projects and services, co-creating recommendations for improved service delivery. One such recommendation will streamline the sheltering process and reduce barriers to shelter entry by conducting entry screenings in-house rather than with a third party, cutting the wait times for families. Another recommendation will incorporate evidence-based practices—such as motivational interviewing for case management staff—to support clients to remain motivated and focused on achieving their goals while in shelter. The aim of this work was to build and strengthen the organizational capacity of Our House to provide better-quality services and create a sustainable alumni program that helps clients stay in permanent housing.

Humanitarian Aid & Disaster Relief

As conflict and natural disasters ravage our communities around the world, Abt staff continue to meet these urgent needs and answer calls for assistance. To amplify our staff’s donations, Abt makes an initial contribution of seed funds, then matches employee donations to an organization responding to crises on the ground.

Through our employees’ response to the fires in Colorado and the destructive floods in Timor-Leste—where our staff live and work—we contributed over $23,000 in relief efforts. In support of the humanitarian crises in Afghanistan and Haiti, where Abt has a long history of implementing health and governance programs, we contributed over $10,000 in aid. And as war engulfed Ukraine and displaced millions of people, the Abt community raised more than $47,000 for organizations assisting with relief efforts on the ground. Our collective response reflects why so many of us come to Abt: to act on the pressing need to improve the quality of people’s lives.

In March 2021, Timor-Leste had just entered a State of Emergency, with a national lockdown due to a major COVID-19 outbreak. Not a month later, Southeast Asia experienced devastating flash flooding and landslides, impacting 86 of our staff on the Government of Australia-funded Partnership for Human Development (PHD) program in Timor-Leste. While most PHD staff experienced water damage in their homes, four were severely affected, losing everything—their homes and all their possessions—to the floods.
In the face of this adversity, the PHD team remained resilient, drawing on each other for strength and hope. Abt opened the office for staff to safely come out of lockdown, seek refuge, and gain access to drinking water and electricity, as many lacked access to such essentials for several days after the floods.
The week of the floods, and shortly after, Abt mobilized a significant response to help those affected, with an on-the-ground task force forming to ensure resources and supplies got to those in need. Employees held bake sales and a movie fundraiser and donated money, furniture, vacation days, and so much more. In total, Abt raised nearly AUD $26,000 to cover immediate needs—clothing, personal items, etc.—with the remaining funds going directly to those impacted by the floods to rebuild their homes and recover lost possessions. The efforts of our staff to support each other in this time of need were exceptional—and represent what Abt is all about.

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