Generosity takes on many forms in Vault’s culture, from employees making time to collaborate and offer each other advice during their daily work to the 16 hours of volunteer leave each employee is given annually. Vault’s Volunteer Committee also proposes and coordinates different initiatives the firm will support throughout the year with time, talent, and treasure. Over the last few months, the Volunteer Committee has been working on plans for holiday giving.
Jess Roper, Senior Manager in Outsourced Accounting Services, is the Chair of the Volunteer Committee. Five other Vaulters serve on the committee with her, where they are responsible for researching causes aligning with the team’s values and goals for giving.
“We have the advantage of working with a lot of nonprofits, so we have a lot of knowledge of nonprofits and how to choose one that best fits us,” says Roper. “We felt passionate about finding a local nonprofit that supports local needs.”
Over the past two years, Vault has partnered with Comfort Cases, a Maryland-based nonprofit that provides essential items for children entering foster care. When children need to be removed from their homes and placed into foster care, many are unable to bring any personal belongings with them. With Comfort Cases, first responders are able to provide clean pajamas, stuffed animals, toiletries, books, backpacks, and other personal items for the child to keep. Comfort Cases was founded by Rob Scheer, who grew up in foster care and has made it his mission to provide children entering the foster system items that make each child’s transition a little easier. The organization has impacted more than 110,000 children in the foster care system.
Vault’s endeavors for Comfort Cases include team financial contributions, which the firm matches to buy items for donation. Together, the staff has worked to fill backpacks with these essential and comfort items and transported them to Comfort Cases. Vault has donated nearly 200 filled backpacks each year for the last two years.
Vault has also supported Wreaths Across America, which remembers fallen U.S. veterans and honors those who served with wreaths. One of Vault’s clients donates the trucks that transport the wreaths each year and supporting both veterans and not-for-profit clients is a priority for Vault. In past years, Vault has participated in placing the wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery in December and wreath removal and clean up in January.
In past years, Vault staff volunteers together on a fall day at local organizations such as the DC Foodbank. With the office’s move to Tysons, getting involved in their new community will be an area of focus for the future. In 2020, Vault will be supporting both Comfort Cases and Wreaths Across America again, though the logistics of their contributions may be different than in years past due to COVID-19 safety restrictions.
With many Vaulters working from home and following social distancing guidelines, the volunteer committee has also encouraged Vaulters to give of their time and talents remotely this year. The committee has provided research and Lunch & Learns on the best platforms to connect with remote and local volunteer opportunities, such as Idealist, Catch a Fire, and AARP. A few team members have already taken advantage of virtual opportunities to give back, such as reading to children in local schools or helping them with math homework.
As Roper explains, “Even if we can’t get to every single cause we care about as a firm, we encourage staff to take the time themselves to help those organizations.”
Vaulters support many different initiatives they care about through their volunteer leave. While some people choose to use their research or accounting skillsets, many choose something that is totally outside their professional work.
“There’s always a need for our skills and it’s great to be able to help people with that, but at the end of the day, sometimes you need to do something completely different, and we see a mix of both,” says Roper. From Scout Leaders to supporting Emergency Hotlines, Vaulters take on a broad range of volunteer responsibilities when giving back to their community.
Contributing to making an impact is an important part of Vault’s culture. Some giving efforts are even contest-based, which inspires many Vaulters who are naturally competitive. Every year, CEO Jamie Saylor sets up a challenge of walking or running a certain number of miles in a month, and he will donate to the cause of the winner’s choice. It is all part of a culture focused on generosity and a desire to grow individually while having an impact on the lives of others. Jess Roper is proud of Vault’s charitable work. “From our CEO on down, there’s a lot of passion there. People at Vault are generous with their time and as much money as they can be.”