Public service activities and volunteerism are a vital part of our corporate culture at Sony, and we actively encourage employees to give back to the communities in which they live by supporting a variety of programs that enhance quality of life and help aid disadvantaged residents and victims of tragedy.
Perhaps no other initiative embodies this spirit more than our annual SomeOne Needs You (the name developed using the letters S, O, N and Y) Global Volunteer Day, our signature volunteer program. Each year, hundreds of Sony employees across the U.S. take part in this global initiative, which encourages staff members to spend a work day participating in a Company-organized volunteer activity in their local communities.
In 2015, for example, Sony employees in New York spent a day at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in the coastal town of Broad Channel, Queens, New York, removing 4,000 lbs. of invasive debris from the shoreline, and prepping and planting nearly 3,000 Spartina alterniflora (sea grass) pods on the marsh island. The Sony team’s efforts will help protect the surrounding community from future potential storm surges, like those of Superstorm Sandy. Additionally, Sony Corporation of America (SCA) partnered with Habitat for Humanity NYC on the one-year anniversary of the storm to help re-build homes that had been destroyed in Staten Island, New York.
In Los Angeles, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) employees have partnered with local organizations such as TreePeople and Heal the Bay to plant trees and native plants and revitalize neighborhood parks, waterways and beaches. Volunteer efforts at SPE are coordinated through ACT, an SPE program aimed at empowering and recognizing employee volunteerism to connect the company to the community and employees to each other. SPE volunteers have assisted the Special Olympics of Southern California, Midnight Mission, Dress for Success, St. Vincent Meals on Wheels, the Downtown Women’s Center, Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and many more worthy organizations.
Sony Electronics (SEL) encourages its employees to provide leadership to non-profit organizations in the form of youth mentoring, Board of Director membership and project coordination. Organizations that have benefited from the work of SEL volunteers include the Affinity Group for Japanese Philanthropy, the Business Policy Review Council, the Commerce & Industry Association of New Jersey, the National Urban Affairs Council and the Joint Center for Political & Economic Studies. SEL volunteers assist with environmental clean-up efforts, and support local food drives and blood drives. Additional organizations supported by SEL volunteers include Jr. Achievement and The Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). Through SEL’s partnership with the BGCA, volunteers have worked with club youth to teach them how to create photographic and digital art, and to share their ideas through the use of technology.
Additionally, SCA and SPE sponsor the annual Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Workplace Mentoring Program, through which local high school students are matched with employee volunteers for a 15-week educational program. The initiative builds strong bonds between the “Bigs” and “Littles” through mentoring, while enabling the “Littles” to learn about workplace etiquette and various careers available in the technology and entertainment industries.
SPE also supports a robust and ever expanding mentoring initiative called Passing the Torch, which engages employees in one-on-one, school-based or workplace mentoring opportunities. Partnerships include: 826LA, Spark Los Angeles, Young Storytellers, Step Up Women’s Network and Film Independent’s Project Involve.
SPE has also activated their employees in the form of Employee Business Resource Groups (EBRG). Organized by fellow employees around a sense of shared interests and experiences, or a common dimension of diversity, these groups provide access to resources, professional development and support systems. The EBRG groups have provided vital insight into the fabric of the company as well as serve as ambassadors in our local communities.
In addition to supporting these various volunteer initiatives and programs, Sony is also quick to provide critical support when it is most needed. Sony Corporation of America (SCA), on behalf of all of the U.S. operating companies, provides annual disaster relief support to the American Red Cross, Save the Children and the International Medical Corps (IMC). Sony is committed to supporting these organizations that provide immediate aid, and to launching and sustaining critical long-term recovery programs in areas affected by disasters.
Through these programs and relief efforts, Sony and its employees are able to utilize their skills to make a significant, positive difference in the lives of others and, ultimately, help them succeed in school, at work and most importantly, in life.