On Saturday, the skies across most of the U.S. were as blue as the tees worn by Comcast Cares Day volunteers.
The turnout was amazing. My previous post projected 50,000 volunteers - but the last official registration update had us at over 58,000 from coast to coast!
In the current tough economy, community organizations need all the help they can get. Comcast employees, spouses, and lots of their kids teamed up with community partners to get things done… contributing nearly 350,000 person-hours to build stronger neighborhoods.
In the Philadelphia area alone, we had seven projects underway, mostly at public schools and rec centers. I spent the day at Hunting Park in North Philadelphia. There were projects scattered all over this huge park, and I was one of a dozen volunteers who scraped down and painted a big wooden picnic pavilion. At the morning kick-off, one of the event sponsors, the Fairmount Park Conservancy, honored Comcast’s 89-year-old founder, Ralph Roberts, with a park bench and a tree to thank Comcast for (as the executive director put it) "putting down roots in Philadelphia." (She was referring to our LEED Gold-certified headquarters that opened in Center City last year). "Thank you, and I plan to be around another 10 or 15 years to watch it grow," Ralph said with a big smile.
As happens every year, we’re hearing some really touching stories from the field. There was the 6-foot-4 executive director of a Boys and Girls Club in Massachusetts who teared up when all the volunteers presented him with a grant to the Club. There was a young woman, a Comcast Leaders and Achievers scholarship recipient who attends Community College of Denver, who told our volunteers at Denver Health how grateful lower-income moms are for the well-provisioned baby bags they receive. (She got one when she had her baby last year, and our volunteers spent Saturday stuffing 400 more).
This was the first year that Comcast Cares Day had a big social media presence. There are already 48 pages of tweets since Saturday (search Twitter for "#ccday") offering a play-by-play on Comcast Cares Day as it unfolded. There are over 500 photos from Philadelphia, New Jersey, Atlanta, and several projects in Colorado and Oregon on Flikr. Our Seattle team also set up a cool page combining streaming video and tweets.
We’ll be pulling together the stories of Comcast Cares Day from across America in the coming weeks, but for now we just want to thank every single one of those 58,000 volunteers – every employee, family member, friend, and community partner — who gave up a spectacular Saturday to help make their city or town a better place.