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Groupon Grassroots tells the tale of like-minded individuals coming together to make something big happen. This is where you can check out featured projects, posts from our community partners, recommended books that inspire, and other tales that illustrate the power of our collective action to improve the communities we share.

Happy Arbor Day! A Chat with Groupon Green Committee Chair, Danny A.

Posted in Campaign Update, Featured Post on April 25th, 2014 by | No comments.

Fax PicQ: Please describe your job at Groupon, your involvement in the Green Committee, and how long you have been a member.

A: I am actually an Inside sales representative on the Providence, Rhode Island market. I have been a committee member since basically the first day I started in September of the previous year (which makes my tenure about 8 months). As of about 3 weeks ago, my title is co-chair of the Green Committee. I am also a trained Employee Volunteer Program member.

Q:  What is the mission of the Green Committee at Groupon?

A: The Green Committee is dedicated to enhancing the company’s culture, operations, partnerships, and long-term goals by adopting forward-thinking, environmentally aware practices. What this basically means is innovation in the sustainability field focused primarily on environmental practices.

Q:  Looking back, what are the Green Committee’s biggest accomplishments?

A: Most were rolled out before my time in the committee started, but to name a few:

Compost1)     Coffee Ground’s composting:

For this project we looked at our Keurig’s and said, “What can we do to make this more environmentally friendly and financially successful for the company?” Our solution was to get good coffee that could be distributed in the cafeterias. By doing this we were able to compost the coffee grounds, while not having the additional waste of the K-cups. This is a big win for the Green Committee as the Keurig’s have disappeared, but the coffee machines stand strong. The result was we were able to save money because the pots of coffee held more liquid while using less material and we didn’t have to buy as many K-cups.

2)     Recycling project:

In our office cafeteria, we were able to distinguish the different types of bins by using different colored bags for each garbage can. The recycling can is green, composting food and compostable containers and silverware are yellow, and trash is the traditional black bags. In terms of reducing the waste that Groupon creates, this has been a tremendous success.

3) Formation of the Sustainability Committee (my favorite):

I actually got to sit in on a meeting where we had a good smattering of important people from all throughout the company. The conversation was about what our company is doing and how can we make it better. We looked at things like the printers, the drink distribution, and the energy usage, and quite frankly it was overwhelming. There were a lot of areas where we can save the company money, while just making minor adjustments that won’t throw off the employees day to day life. This committee is very new so we do not have much to report in the form of projects yet. Arbor day is actually one of the first projects we are doing in collaboration with our office building.

Arbor Day White BoardQ: How is the Green Committee celebrating Arbor Day?

A: We really tried to pull out all of the stops for Arbor Day as it is one of our first projects that are in correlation with the sustainability committee. We created flyers with nostalgic literary references like the Lorax, the Giving Tree, and Avatar (that were posted on recycled paper) urging employees to 1) print double-sided, 2) use re-usable mugs instead of paper cups, 3) use hand dryers in the bathroom instead of paper towels.

Our primary focus was double-sided printing. We consume a ton of paper each year and wanted to draw peoples attention to that, with shock and awe if you will. So we picked iconic places around the Groupon office to put up bundles of paper structures. The goal was to show employees how many bundles of paper we go through per day (14 reams of paper). We also engaged our full Green Committee and some of our members in drawing on the whiteboards throughout the office to promote Arbor Day. This was a great way to get our full team involved while really spreading the word throughout the office.

Q: Why is it important for a group like the Green Committee to exist in the workplace?

A: I personally believe it is very easy to overlook issues like the ones the Green Committee handle. Unless the people who really care about those types of issues take action no one will. It is important for people who have passions outside of work to be able to incorporate said passions at work. People are truly most productive when they are doing things they love, so why not create those opportunities at the place where you spend most of your day 5 days a week? I think, especially for bigger corporations, it is easy to get wrapped up in going through the motions on a day to day. This gets employees to, if nothing else, become more educated on issues that they may not have had any idea existed. I know that personally I have had several people come up to me today and ask what Arbor Day is.

Q: How have employees responded to green initiatives around the office?

A: I would say the best ways to describe it would be, “this is a marathon, not a sprint”. It is pretty hard to get everyone to go out of his or her way to change his or her practices everyday. So by taking smaller steps and making smaller changes I think eventually we will have pretty good engagement. It’s a matter of education and people don’t learn overnight. It’s a matter of changing things that are normally more convenient, which is a hard sell but we are more than up to the task. So far we have had raving reviews about the coffee. I think general consensus is that people like it, though the new machines are all the buzz because they are new. Recycling has been getting better and better and with the new implementation of the Sustainability Committee I am enthusiastic and excited to see the changes that we have coming for everyone in the future.

Groupon Wins a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Business Award

Posted in Featured Post on April 23rd, 2014 by | No comments.

Groupon’s Chicago office has been recognized by the League of American Bicyclists with a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Business award. The League acknowledges businesses for their efforts to encourage a more bicycle-friendly atmosphere for employees, guests and communities. Here is an excerpt from the article announcing the awards:

Groupon, based in Chicago, Ill., prides itself on encouraging riders to commute to work on bike year-round.

“At Groupon, we’re proud of our active cycling community and work to support this alternative method of transportation among our employees,” said Jason Child, chief financial officer and executive sponsor of Groupon’s Green Committee. ”Groupon has always been among the top participants in Chicago’s Bike Commuter Challenge, but Groupon cyclists are a dedicated group all year round. We’re honored to be recognized as a Bronze-Level Bicycle Friendly Business and hope to continue to grow our Groupon biking community.”

Groupon’s internal bicycling club, Bicycollective, works to make biking easy, safe, and accessible for Groupon employees. Currently, it is raising money to purchase and install two complete bike repair stations outside the Chicago office by June 13, the start of Bike to Work Week in Chicago.

In late 2013, Groupon also received a Business Leadership Award from Active Transportation for our work on Bike to Work Week and a fundraising campaign to install more bike lanes in Chicago in memory of a fallen employee.

 

Successful Expansion of One Groupon, One Meal Campaign

Posted in Featured Post on April 11th, 2014 by | No comments.

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Experts say if something works the first time, you should do it six more times. We couldn’t agree more.

Following success in New York last fall with partner organization City Harvest, we reintroduced the One Groupon, One Meal campaign—this time in five new markets, in addition to New York. The campaign ran from March 19-April 1, 2014, and resulted more than 200,000 meals donated to help people experiencing hunger.

Just as in the first run of the campaign, Groupon donated a meal for every food and drink Groupon purchased in each participating market. Proceeds from the campaign are going to support a major food bank in each local market, including:

  • New York’s City Harvest
  • DC’s Central Kitchen
  • Atlanta’s Community Food Bank
  • Greater Chicago Food Depository
  • Phoenix’s St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance
  • San Francisco-Marin Food Bank

In addition to receiving proceeds from the OGOM campaign, each food bank was also featured in a Groupon Grassroots campaign for those who wished to give directly or make a donation in addition to their food and drink contribution.

“We’re proud to partner with six amazing hunger organizations across the country for the two week-long One Groupon, One Meal campaign, aiming to fund tens of thousands of meals,” said Kyle Klatt, Program Manager, Groupon Grassroots and Cause Marketing at Groupon. “Groupon Grassroots is committed to help build and support the communities around our thousands of local merchants.”

Click here to read about the launch of our One Groupon, One Meal campaign in back in October, 2013.

An Update from Cure Violence

Posted in Project Impact Update on December 31st, 2013 by | No comments.

The following post is a project update from Anna Holcombe, Campaign Organizer, and the Cure Violence Grassroots campaign that raised $4,008 to help Violence Interrupters curb neighborhood violence around the country by detecting and mediating potentially lethal conflicts.

National – The Groupon Grassroots community recently came together in a big way to advance the mission of Cure Violence. A critical part of the organization’s success in stopping killings and potentially lethal shootings in urban neighborhoods is due to the comprehensive training received by our Violence Interrupters and Outreach Workers.

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An Update from Save-A-Suit

Posted in Project Impact Update on December 31st, 2013 by | No comments.

The following post is a project update from Nick Gauna, Campaign Organizer, and the Save-A-Suit Grassroots campaigns that raised $690 in Los Angeles, $500 in New York, $852 in Chicago, and $510 in Fairfield County to provide business suits for male and female college graduates and veterans who need professional attire for job interviews.

Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Fairfield County – Groupon Grassroots had an amazing team to work with. Thanks to three previous Groupon campaigns, we were able to ship suits to veterans in need in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Fairfield County. This would not have been possible without Groupon’s help. At the time, we had a waiting list of several unemployed veterans in these areas.

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An Update from HOBY California

Posted in Project Impact Update on December 31st, 2013 by | No comments.

The following post is a project update from Nick Gauna, Campaign Organizer, and the HOBY California Grassroots campaign that raised $930 to send youth from low-income schools to a leadership seminar where they’ll learn problem-solving and other skills.

Los Angeles – HOBY California’s mission is to inspire and develop our local community of youth and volunteers to lead a life dedicated to leadership, service, and innovation. Our vision is to motivate and empower individuals to make a positive difference within our society through effective and compassionate leadership. We achieve this through annual leadership seminars for high-school sophomores.

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Making the Donation That’s Right for You

Posted in Featured Post on December 19th, 2013 by | No comments.

Did you know the average person makes 24% of their annual donations between Thanksgiving and New Year’s? (Center on Philanthropy) So, chances are you or your business is considering your year-end giving right now. But choosing where to give your money can be daunting. There are a few simple things you can do though that will dramatically help you as you choose how to donate your money.

1. Ask yourself what you want to invest in

We often forget that philanthropy is in fact investing in something or someone. It’s investing in graduation for an at-risk youth, a shelter for someone with no home, a world free of disease or infused with art. So the first thing you should ask yourself when making a philanthropic gift is, what do you want to invest in? What change in the world do you want to put your money toward?

2. Do some research

Just like you wouldn’t invest in a new business venture without doing some research, you shouldn’t give blindly either. After having chosen what outcomes you want to invest in (i.e. graduation for at-risk youth), spend some time learning what types of programs really work. This can be as simple as spending some time on Google or as involved as working with experts in the field.

3. Find out who’s offering the best program in which to invest 

Just like you wouldn’t go to the grocery store for a computer or Banana Republic for the latest J. K. Rowling novel, you have to make sure you’re going to the right provider for what you want to support. Before making a donation, explore the organization’s website or annual report and look at their programs. Is it offering the kinds of programs and services you learned are effective? What evidence can they provide that their programs are effective at delivering the outcome that you want to see?

4. Employ some due diligence

Check in with organizations like Charity Navigator or GuideStar to make sure that the organization is financially transparent. While many of these rating organizations publish the overhead ratio (how much money is spent on overhead versus programs), even these rating organizations are realizing how little that tells you about a nonprofit. The big thing to look for is whether the organization is fiscally sound.

We hope these tips let you give with more confidence this season!

An Update from Corner Farm Chicago

Posted in Project Impact Update on December 13th, 2013 by | No comments.

The following post is a project update from Anna Holcombe, Campaign Organizer, and the Corner Farm Chicago Grassroots campaign that raised $3,060 to replace aging wood in garden beds, build an irrigation system, and add nutrients to the soil in a Logan Square community garden.

Chicago – Thanks to the generosity of our backers, we were able to completely reorganize and rebuild our space at Altgeld Sawyer Corner Farm. We replaced and repaired aging beds, reconfigured the farm to take advantage of sunlight pattens, and installed better systems to help manage watering the farm. We also purchased soil amendments to improve our growing spaces and introduce more organic material into our beds.
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An Update from Texas Alaskan Malamute Rescue

Posted in Project Impact Update on December 13th, 2013 by | No comments.

The following post is a project update from Nick Gauna, Campaign Organizer, and the Texas Alaskan Malamute Rescue Grassroots campaign that raised $550 to provide one month of boarding for a rescued alaskan malamute, including bathing, grooming, and veterinary care.

Houston – The $10 for TAMR to Help Us Do it Again campaign was successful last August. Adoption fees simply do not cover the high cost of rescue. Our campaign was created on if 50 people can donate $10, then Texas Alaskan Malamute Rescue (TAMR) can provide one month of care for a rescued alaskan malamute.
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An Update from Chilren Sports International

Posted in Project Impact Update on December 13th, 2013 by | No comments.

The following post is a project update from Nick Gauna, Campaign Organizer, and the Children Sports International Grassroots campaign that raised $430 to provide sports training and equipment to underserved youth working with local volunteers to build confidence and physical fitness.

Los Angeles – Plank walks, bear crawls, BOSU squats, you name it—these kids enjoy a challenging workout. Making fitness fun is what Children Sports International provides to underserved communities of Los Angeles.
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An Update from DonorsChoose.org

Posted in Project Impact Update on December 13th, 2013 by | No comments.

The following post is a project update from Nick Gauna, Campaign Organizer, and the DonorsChoose.org Grassroots campaign that raised $152,930 to receive online credit that they use to fund schoolteachers’ projects through DonorsChoose.org.

National – By donating $10 to this Grassroots campaign, 4,965 donors received a $20 online credit to use on DonorsChoose.org, thanks to matching donations from an anonymous donor. Groupon customers then used their online credit on the DonorsChoose.org website to fund a project of their choice.
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An Update from Youth Rally Committee

Posted in Project Impact Update on December 13th, 2013 by | No comments.

The following post is a project update from Nick Gauna, Campaign Organizer, and the Youth Rally Committee Grassroots campaign that raised $1,770 to fund a trip where youth with bowel and bladder disorders can learn about sci-fi and music, and experience medical independence.

Seattle – Last July, 126 children and teens living with various chronic illness and congenital birth defects from all over the United States (and a few more from abroad) gathered together in Seattle, Washington, for a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the 2013 Youth Rally. There, these youth were hosted for five nights at the University of Washington campus by the Youth Rally Committee, Inc., joined by more than 70 volunteer counselors (who live with similar diseases and conditions) and specialty nurses.
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