Another year has come and gone and it’s a great time to reflect on the growth we’ve done over the course of this latest circuit around the sun. At BDP Quadrangle, 2021 was the year we recalibrated and evolved our approach to giving back to community. We have a long history of fundraising through many rewarding and fun studio events. We’ve held an annual United Way Week for over 20 years, raising upwards of $60,000 for the organization annually, and we have also proudly supported the Daily Bread Food Bank while indulging in friendly competition through Canstruction for over a decade. We also participate in events like Ride for Heart which helps fund heart and stroke research, sponsor organizations close to our heart such as StopGap, and have showcased our studio’s creative talent with art auctions while benefitting youth at the margins by donating proceeds to SKETCH Working Arts.
We have grown a lot as an organization. In 2012 we were a studio of 60 employees. By 2015, we had 130 studio members, and in less than five years that number had exceeded 200. In 2021, we saw an opportunity to rethink our strategy for community impact in a way that reflects our size and the overwhelming appetite for giving back that our people display year after year. We established for the first time a comprehensive Community Impact Framework to set philanthropic goals that reflect our shared values, identify ways to maximize studio member engagement in a hybrid work setting, and outline methods to track results and report on measurable impacts. It's important for organizations to reflect and recalibrate their community impact initiatives for myriad reasons. Not only is it the right thing to do - and fulfilling and fun - but more and more we are seeing a company's success measured not just in profit, but in social value as well.
We recently chatted with members of our dedicated Community Impact Team about the banner year we just had. Here’s what they have to share about the experience.
Q: What prompted a more formalized approach to giving back?
A: It was a mix of the ever-changing dynamics of our growing studio, and a clear evolution of social needs also driving this change.
Q: How was the new approach decided upon?
A: We established a Community Impact Team of like-minded individuals – in particular, those of our studio who have played a big role in the past in organizing fundraisers and community events. We also sent out a couple of studio-wide surveys seeking feedback on our current initiatives and new organizations and causes to support. Informed by what we heard from our staff in the surveys, we developed a four-pronged approach to community impact which focuses our efforts on areas that we care deeply about: Education, Environment, Social Issues, and Health and Wellness.
Q: What is different now?
A: Our approach to giving is no longer concentrated around specific events, but rather is more holistically about giving all year round. We support more organizations and have a greater overall impact on the causes that our studio members have told us they want to support.
We also introduced One Day For All, where every employee is given one paid day to volunteer and in return we ask that each employee match that one day with a day on their own time for maximum impact.
BDP Quadrangle studio members on a Habitat for Humanity building site.
Q: What are some ways staff can give back to community year-round?
A: Our tentpole event is Community Impact Week which is held in the fall and has many events, activities and opportunities to participate - raffle, bake sale, competitions and games, you name it. However, we’ve now empowered our studio members to give back outside of this set timeframe by launching an online volunteering platform. There are dozens of volunteering opportunities with partner organizations listed that staff can sign up for, sorted by individual or team activities and covering topics like mental health, the environment and biodiversity, food insecurity, and youth mentoring and education. They can also choose between in-person or virtual opportunities.
Studio members had fun painting ramps at the StopGap workshop before they were delivered to help local businesses become more accessible.
Q: What can a new staff member expect when it comes to giving back to community?
Fun! We receive consistent feedback that our community impact events and our approach to giving is one of the things our studio members love most about being part of BDP Quadrangle. We enjoy putting our pens down and building connections across the studio with each other, but it is all up to you to determine your level of participation. We make sure to include various types of activities as well as various timing to cater to studio members' varying needs – we’ve got daytime and evening activities, we’ve got team games for the social butterflies, and solo gigs if that’s your jam. It’s all up to each individual studio member to participate as much and however they prefer.
Additionally, it is also important to note that individual studio member fundraising is backed up by firm-wide donations.
We look forward to continuing to walk the talk during 2022 and beyond!