With over 15 years of experience building strategic corporate-nonprofit partnerships, Linda Wilson is excited to bring new partners alongside Holt in our mission to ensure a stable, loving home for every child.
Early last month, entertainment giant Redbox used the DVD release of the movie Instant Family to help drive national awareness of the need to recruit and prepare foster families. A couple weeks ago, Nike hosted a family fair for employees at their campus in Portland — inviting Holt to share information about adoption. As part of their benefits package, Nike now has a first-class adoption reimbursement program for its employees — helping families afford the high cost of adoption, and helping children go home to the loving, permanent families they deserve.
Redbox and Nike are both stellar examples of companies striving to make a difference in the world. But they are not outliers.
Both of these efforts showcase an exciting synergy occurring across the globe between for-profit corporations and nonprofit organizations. It’s a concept called “corporate social responsibility” or “CSR”— and it’s helping nonprofits like Holt achieve their mission by aligning them with companies that share their values and vision for change.
As Linda Wilson, Holt’s newly hired director of corporate social responsibility, explains, “Corporations today are very focused on CSR. They want it to be meaningful, impactful and they want to really understand the measured impact that they’re making by providing a donation or sharing something else in kind.”
Linda spent the last 15-plus years of her career at IBM, building partnerships that brought corporate subject matter expertise, funds, volunteer engagement and employee giving to nonprofits across the U.S. In her new role at Holt, Linda is excited to use her skills and experience on the corporate side of CSR to further Holt’s mission for children and families.
“I believe there are so many incredible opportunities for companies to engage with Holt that are strategic and impactful,” she says.
Whether focusing on Holt’s child nutrition program, orphan care, education, family strengthening, foster care or adoption, Linda believes Holt has a unique story and mission that will resonate with companies — and inspire them to get involved. It’s the same story that inspired her, and that she’s excited to now tell others as she works to build new partnerships for Holt.
“Holt has over 60 years of incredible success — from advocacy work to the number of children and families that have received such incredible support,” she says. “I want to tell that story in a way that companies will be calling my phone off the hook.”
Part of what makes Holt stand out as a potential partner — and what Linda plans to highlight — is an inherent inclusivity and diversity to our programs and staffing. We love, serve and care for all children and families no matter their religion, their race, their ethnicity, culture or gender. We believe all people are equal, and meet people where they are.
As they work to become more socially responsible in how they serve customers and engage with the world, diversity, equity and inclusion have also become growing priorities for companies — both internally, and through their external partnerships.
“Holt has been operating in this space — diversity, equity and inclusion — through those that they serve and the programs that they run for decades,” Linda says. “They serve and work with children and families regardless of their background to help them thrive and have an incredible life. That to me is a story to keep sharing with companies and I believe they will find that very important.”
Another of Holt’s attributes, Linda says, is our incredibly generous and compassionate base of donors, sponsors, families, adoptees and advocates already devoted to advancing the mission of ensuring every child has a stable, loving home.
“Holt has so many donors that are so excited about the organization and so to me, this is also an opportunity to invite them to engage in a new way,” she says. “If they have a matching program at their company, an employee volunteer program, or even a corporate social responsibility team at their company, we would love to know.”
Sometimes, the best gift a company can give is the funding to grow and develop programs. But while grants and donations are vital, corporate partnerships are not always about writing a check, Linda says.
“It’s about sharing skills, solutions and expertise in a meaningful way,” she says. While at IBM, Linda helped bring subject matter experts to area nonprofits to help them develop their strategic plans, set up a technology roadmap and grow leadership skills. As a volunteer, she led fundraising and awareness events, volunteer outreach, advocacy efforts to grow program participation and served on numerous nonprofit boards.
“As a volunteer,” she says, “I was able to really experience the impact a nonprofit was making and how my skills and expertise could contribute collaboratively.”
What a new corporate partnership might look like for Holt truly depends on how a company’s interests align with Holt’s programming.
“It’s about having a conversation with the company to say, you know, ‘Here are some ideas of how we’d love to partner with you and let’s just take that a step further and find out what really is important to you as a company and to your employees,’” she says.
But finding an area of shared interest shouldn’t be difficult.
“Seven out of 10 companies are giving globally and the focus areas that Holt works within are at the top of the list,” Linda says. “That just says to me that the potential here is huge.”
Interested in partnering with Holt? Contact Linda Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (541) 687-2202 ext. 157.