Philanthropy in a Pandemic: Volunteering Amid the Virus

April 27, 2021

Volunteerism has taken on a decidedly different feel over the past 14 months. Although the pandemic pushed people away from the office and suspended the type of in-person assistance popular at Mizuho, the desire to help remained strong. This is in line with the Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2020 that found nearly three-fourths of respondents said the pandemic has made them more sympathetic toward others’ needs and that they intend to take actions to have a positive impact on their communities.

Normally, hands-on volunteering is the kind of contribution that resonates with a lot of Mizuho’s staff. It builds camaraderie, provides an immediate, tangible benefit to those served, and fulfills the desire of many to work at a firm that does well by doing good. COVID-19 forced us to find new avenues of opportunity appealing to Mizuho’s growing community of volunteers and in support of our focus areas of community wellness, workforce development, and career exploration for underserved youth. 

Our marquee annual event Global Mizuho Volunteer Day (MVD) 2020 had a distinctly different feel across the world and in the Americas, as we added virtual projects, often conducted while working from home, and expanded collaborations with NGO and other partners. While we look forward to returning to the live events that brought a collective presence to our annual effort, it is likely that the virtual dimension will remain another element to our outreach.

MVD 2020 took place in fifteen countries and territories, with more than 1,730 volunteers participating. Activities were wide ranging in their response to community needs, including outreach to vulnerable seniors and children, support for first responders and essential workers, food and other donation drives, environmental clean ups, and financial education.

In the Americas, employees delivered services virtually benefitting longtime partners and new relationships including Habitat for Humanity, the Japanese School of Dallas, Meals on Wheels, One Tree Planted, America On Tech, Genesys Works NYC, Cardz for Kidz, Zooinverse, Hospital Sao Paulo, and the Toronto Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club. In addition, MVD community partners in the U.S. received grant support from the Mizuho USA Foundation. 

This past year has shown that disruption can be positive, exposing new approaches to outreach. While vaccination will eventually help restore a vital part of Mizuho’s engagement in local communities, it is likely that the virtual component, appealing to many volunteers, will serve to boost our numbers even further going forward.

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