Five Years of Give Back
Five Years of Genentech Gives Back
Summer in the Bay Area often means cranking up the heat and grabbing an extra layer before leaving the house. But no matter how foggy it gets our South San Francisco campus is always a bright, exciting place to be thanks to Genentech Gives Back Week (GGBW). From the colorful costumes of our Bay to Beakers Children’s Walk, to partnerships with non-profits like Share Your Meal—which supplies thousands of healthy meals to Bay Area food banks—each activity is centered around the spirit of giving back to our communities.
GGBW has been getting bigger and better every year, and the enthusiasm of our employees demonstrates that trend. Heidi Sargent, who works in Sales for Avastin, jokingly lamented, “Why does Genentech Gives Back Week only come once a year?!”
As it turns out, giving back plays a part in the lives of our employees year-round. Or, as Mike Dunn, Senior Market Planning Manager, said: “The culture of people who work here is pervasive and follows us into our activities outside the company.”
A Commitment to Giving
This year for the first time we invited employees to nominate their co-workers who they felt embodied the spirit of giving in their daily lives. The results were overwhelming. Whether looking out for their furry friends, advocating for children, or pushing the limits of body and mind to raise money for those impacted by disease, Genentech employees make giving a part of their lives every day.
Heidi Sargent has been volunteering at a local dog rescue for the past five years, doing everything from cleaning kennels, feeding, walking, and all-around caring for the dogs there. She even takes dogs into her home when they’re injured to give them a nurturing place to heal. One of the best things about GGBW according to her is, “I get to spend time under the banner of Genentech doing work that I care about.”
Looking out for those who don’t have anyone in their corner is also a priority for Clarence Flowers, a Supervisor of Manufacturing Cell Culture in Oceanside. He’s been volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for the past six years, looking out for children that are in the system, but haven’t yet been placed with a family. “Once my children left for college, I was looking for another way to give back.” Giving is rooted deeply in Clarence’s family. “I have ten brothers and sisters, thirty-two nieces and nephews, but volunteering was always a part of our family, no matter how busy we were.”
For Timothy Hassett, a Field Reimbursement Manager for Access Solutions in Rochester, NY, giving back is tied to family as well. After twenty-five years of marriage to his high school sweetheart, his wife Chris lost her battle to colorectal cancer in eight wrenching weeks. His devastation was tempered by a need to help his kids cope as well as support from his community and colleagues at work.
“My son’s crew team wanted to do something for charity. Many boys on the team had dealt with cancer through their loved ones, so it seemed fitting to row in support of the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge.”
The resulting event, called “Row For Hope” was an eight-day, 340 mile trip along the length of the Erie Canal from Buffalo to Albany. According to Tim, “some of the patients from Hope Lodge have been very inspirational for the boys. They’ve drawn parallels between the struggle of this very intense challenge they’ve taken on and the challenges brought on by cancer treatment. I'm humbled to have Genentech support this effort, which is so close to me and my family.”
These stories, and many others that surfaced over the course of Genentech Gives Back Week, make us thankful that we have employees who are as passionate about their communities as they are about their work. We look forward to growing GGBW in years to come and want to thank everyone—on our South San Francisco campus, in the field, and all of our non-profit partners—for joining us in our efforts to give back.