3M is one of UWATX’s Top 15 campaigns, meaning they pledge among the most in terms of dollars during their employee giving campaigns out of our more than 400 partners. We also have a dedicated “3M closet” at UWATX offices, which 3M graciously stocks with office supplies for the whole year. We are grateful for the generosity of 3M employees in general and especially to Russell Bridges, Government and Community Affairs Manager at 3M in Austin and one of UWATX’s best advocates.
Russell has served as our 3M campaign contact since 2000. He has hosted special events, promoted our giving societies, identified 3M members as board members, coordinated volunteer activities and served on United Way committees.
This year, 3M held one Day of Giving on June 8 to kick off their campaign in which the corporation pledged to match any employee pledges 2 to 1. Additionally, all employee pledges made in June were matched 1 to 1, and all pledges made through the end of campaign were matched .50 to 1. In just the one Day of Giving, employees pledged $323,463, providing an additional corporate match of $646,926. This means 3M raised almost $1 million for Greater Austin in only one day!
We asked Russell why he has been involved with UWATX for so long and to give us an inside look at what makes the 3M campaign so successful each year.
How long have you been involved with United Way and in what capacities?
Many years ago, I was asked to serve on one of the committee that reviewed prospective UW agencies to recommend funding levels. I did that for several years, then served on the Community Impact Committee (CIC) that received those reviews. Then I was asked to chair the CIC and became a board member. I served on the board from about 1998 to 2007.
What first inspired you to support United Way? Why do you continue to give?
My parents always taught me to give back, so that part is in my DNA. But 3M taught me that United Way is a great way to effectively invest in our community.
What does your role as Government and Community Affairs 3Mgives manager entail, and how does that relate to your relationship with United Way?
I interface with the community and community organizations. I manage our local 3Mgives contributions budget and encourage employee volunteerism. We have a Community Relations Council of 24 3M-ers who help review grant requests and represent 3M in the community.
What are some of the special events you have held for United Way?
We’ve had Leadership Giving Breakfasts, special events for YLS and celebrations at the end of campaigns. This year we had a Celebration of Giving carnival to kick off our campaign and recently we had an executive dunk tank to celebrate our successful campaign.
How do you inspire your employees to give during campaign? What sort of activities do you all do at 3M?
The events mentioned above really help. We conduct our campaign as really 8 mini-campaigns by engaging our division and departments to each manage their group efforts.
What would you tell another business leader to convince them to run an employee campaign at their workplace?
Not only is it beneficial to the community, but it’s great to be able to engage and rally your employees around a great cause outside the workplace.
What types of volunteer activities does 3M undertake?
They mentor students, donate books, stock food pantries, build houses, plant gardens. They can fix, paint, clean and organize just about anything. Nearly half of 3M Austin’s employees are active volunteers.
Can you tell me more about the 3MGives program?
We focus our giving on Education, Community and Environment.
You’ve worked at 3M for many years. What do you like about working at 3M?
I’ve been here 31 years. I love the people at 3M and enjoy the opportunity to have new experiences in my work. And making a difference to others is important to me, whether it be my co-workers or the community.
What do you think makes Austin greater?