In just a few short weeks, more than 100,000 Comcast NBCUniversal volunteers will gather to help improve communities around the world on Comcast Cares Day, arguably our company’s strongest, most vibrant tradition. A year ago, I spent my very first Comcast Cares Day working side-by-side with my colleagues helping to brighten and equip a courtyard and outdoor play space for P.S. 149 in Harlem. We wanted to create a welcoming, yet functional space that was especially designed for the many deserving students and future leaders that grace the P.S. 149 campus every day. This opportunity was one of over 900 projects staffed by Comcast NBCUniversal employees, friends and family to celebrate our commitment to volunteerism.

While employee volunteer programs create projects that help meet the needs of our longstanding community partners, research overwhelmingly tells us that they are also a smart investment for companies to drive employee engagement and retention, and in turn, business performance. Last year, 63 percent of CEOs in a CECP study said their employees were the greatest beneficiaries of increasing societal investments. In the last few years, the focus on creating, implementing and managing impactful employee volunteer programs has intensified for businesses large and small as employee demand has increased.

As millennials become a larger part of the workforce, it is important to note their overwhelming interest in volunteering, and their desire to seek careers at companies whose causes they support.  Of course, we also know that volunteering together helps employees build connections and leadership skills, whether they are millennials, Gen Xers or Baby Boomers.

Here at Comcast NBCUniversal, supporting employee volunteerism is a core value. As we enter our 16th anniversary of Comcast Cares Day, we are reminded that giving back where our employees live and work was important to our founder, Ralph Roberts, and he made sure that commitment to community rang true throughout Comcast. It’s simply who we are. I have been moved by the many stories I have heard from people and communities that our incredible volunteers have helped through their projects, as well as from employees about what volunteerism means to them.

For one employee, Mike Anthony, Comcast Cares Day brought to life just how many people in need there are where he lives in West Palm Beach. Participating in his third Comcast Cares Day, Mike joined his Comcast Spotlight team in packaging and labeling food to ship to homeless shelters in this South Florida community. "I didn’t realize what it took behind the scenes to bring food to the people who really need it," he said. "It was a humbling experience."

Mike also said experiences like the one he had at the Palm Beach Food Bank and being able to give back side by side with his colleagues are what keep him coming back to volunteer each Comcast Cares Day since he joined the company four years ago. The relationships he and his co-workers have built with the community have inspired their team to help a local women’s shelter year-round, extending their impact beyond just one day. "Not only does it make our team stronger, it makes our community stronger," he said. "It’s really what we’re here for, isn’t it?"

So this Saturday, April 22, I encourage you to follow Mike’s lead and to remember why we are here. Find out how you can join a team to make our communities stronger. Whether you are interested in mentoring future leaders, beautifying a school, offering tech support or pursuing the cause you’re most passionate about in your community, there are many ways for you to get involved. Bring your family and friends and make change happen.