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Bluebeam Builds: Nurturing Communities, One Volunteer at a Time

On a drizzly late summer day, a 15-member team of London-based Bluebeam colleagues steered two small boats through a narrow canal in the city’s Little Venice neighborhood, scooping up trash on the surface with nets.

It wasn’t the first time the team had stepped away from the usual workday to give back. They’ve spruced up a community garden and troubleshooted tech issues at a community center for older adults and organized a holiday party at an elder care home.

“No matter what, as a Bluebeam team, when you finish the event, people have got a general buzz about them,” said Matt Burke, Senior Talent Manager for Bluebeam in London, who organized the canal cleanup. “They’ve given something back, and they’ve really enjoyed it.”

The morning-long effort was part of the Bluebeam Builds Employee Volunteer Program. Formalized in 2019, the initiative provides opportunities for Bluebeam workers across the globe to make a difference in their communities. As of November 2023, more than 160 Bluebeam employees have volunteered 1225 hours with around 40 organizations and 12,000 individuals served.

“It’s a part of the culture of who Bluebeam is,” said Staci Armao, Bluebeam’s Director of Employee Experience.

‘Quietly Doing Big Things’

A simple mission guides Bluebeam Builds—to “help strengthen our communities by partnering with organizations that enable neighborhoods to build a better quality of life and affect social change.”

Armao spearheads the program along with the Bluebeam Builds committee with employees from across the company. Each member, she said, is passionate about giving back.

The program includes company-sponsored volunteer days like the London canal cleanup and employee-led donation drives and fundraisers. An internal volunteerism page is regularly updated to showcase Bluebeam employees’ impact and suggest organizations where people can volunteer.

Bluebeam also encourages employees to volunteer on their own. Every Bluebeam employee annually receives two paid days of Volunteer Time Off, or VTO, to devote to causes they care about. Employees are taking their VTO days to volunteer in schools, at youth camps and with environmental programs, among other efforts, Armao said.

“I’m finding out about people who are very quietly doing big things that matter, and it’s a pretty big passion for them,” she said. “It’s just really inspiring to see that.”

Making a Difference

Bluebeam Builds volunteer efforts are often focused close to company offices. In London, the canal clean-up took place around the corner from Bluebeam’s office.

Around the holidays, Duane Morris, Senior Enterprise Support Specialist based at Bluebeam’s Pasadena, California, headquarters, looks forward to volunteering with a nonprofit right across the street from the office—Union Station Homeless Services.

Since 2020, Bluebeam workers have provided both food and volunteer labor to Union Station’s Thanksgiving food distribution event, handing out boxes of food to individuals and families. A Pasadena native, Morris has seen the growing need for services like this over the years, and he welcomes the opportunity to support an organization that’s making a big and ongoing impact.

“The folks that are involved in these different organizations that are on the front lines, they’re doing it day to day, and you’re supporting them,” Morris said. “You’re collaborating with folks to make a difference and take on some of these different challenges that exist.”

Building Houses, Building Community

Through company-sponsored programs, Bluebeam employees have also volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club of Pasadena and the Pasadena Educational Foundation. The company supports Project Scientist, a nonprofit that encourages girls to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

Across the country, Bluebeam teams have also built houses for Habitat for Humanity or helped in the nonprofit’s ReStore. Chicago employees have volunteered with the Heartland Alliance, fulfilling wish lists for families in need.

And, in Denver, remote workers who had never met in person, came together to pack meals for Project Angel Heart. “What a great way to get them together around a volunteer event,” said Armao, who organized the Denver volunteer day. Bluebeam Sweden also participated in a team run to bring awareness to the vital need for blood donation, and employees in Brisbane volunteered with OzHarvest, Australia’s leading food rescue organization.

While Bluebeam Builds’ mission is to build a better quality of life and affect social change, a big side benefit is the camaraderie built among co-workers as they volunteer together.

“You get to talk to folks a bit, hear about some of the things they do outside of work, because maybe you don’t necessarily have the time to talk to them while we’re at work,” Morris said. “Especially now, since many employees work remote, it’s actually helpful to see people that you might not see on a regular basis in the office.”

A Win-Win

Going forward, Bluebeam Builds is growing, making an enduring impact in the communities where Bluebeam employees are located, Armao said.

“It’s part of corporate social responsibility, and it does matter to employees,” she said. “Volunteerism is a value for a lot of people. They want to work for a company that shares that value and makes a positive impact in the community.”

Bottom line, Burke said, it’s a win-win for everybody.

“It’s that combination of doing something good, doing it with colleagues as a team and having some fun while you’re doing it,” he said. “We feel great, and the people that we’re supporting feel great for it. And it’s not a chore. It’s something people look forward to. It’s amazing what giving back can do to the soul.”

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