Super Service Challenge: A Wonderful Concept for Corporate Philanthropy!
I was recently invited to a reception called the Super Service Challenge through The Salvation Army's involvement with DEFENDER. This outstanding Indianapolis-based company provides a model example of philanthropy for others to follow. It believes in having its employees engage with a variety of charities, providing much needed services to the communities they serve. Employees are encouraged to be philanthropic and are given four days off each year with pay, as long as time off results in volunteerism.
I must admit I did not know what to expect at the reception. What I witnessed was a wonderful concept and tribute to those who believe in helping others.
In 2011, Dave Lindsey, founder of DEFENDER, created the Super Service Challenge. This challenge helped direct company donations to the projects and causes that mattered to his employees in a meaningful way. Lindsey noticed that employees serving together to help others changed the way employees viewed each other and had a positive impact on company morale. As he put it, "DEFENDER transformed from a giving company to a company of givers." In the first year, 80 teams participated to give $200,000 to charity.
In 2012, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees partnered with the Super Service Challenge through the Brees Dream Foundation and agreed to be its national spokesperson. He took the challenge to New Orleans. This growth resulted in 250 teams engaged to give $1 million to a variety of nonprofits. Through his leadership, a local effort became national in scope over time. This resulted in having over 700 companies from 42 states participating.
In 2013, more than 2,200 teams submitted service projects, and $1.6 million was given away to nonprofits. Partnerships were developed with 9/11 Day of Service, A Billion Plus Change, Brees Dream and Points of Light. A variety of national celebrities such as Justin Tuck, Michael Strahan, Clark Kellogg, Katie Couric, Hoda Kotb and Hunter Smith, as well as prominent media including CNN, ESPN, "Today Show," Fox News, The Huffington Post and USA Today promoted this effort.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.