Back in 1996, 8 companies met as a result of shared company interests and a desire to give back. Two years later in 1998, this small group of companies involved in the Community Connections Program decided to form a “Business Volunteer Network.”

20 years later we have grown from those 8 companies to nearly 40. We’ve formed a strong network and venue to share resources and collaborate. We now have access to year-round volunteer engagements. And, we’ve maintained the important component of providing networking opportunities related to employee volunteer programs.

The BVN 20th Anniversary event celebrated 20 years of making magic in our community through a volunteer project and reception. The volunteer project was sponsored by BVN member Old National Bank and held in partnership with NAMI Dane County & SSM Health. There were over 25 people who made Mental Health Kits, benefiting patients at SSM Health’s Behavioral Health Unit.

The 20th Anniversary reception was hosted at DreamBank and featured a magician! The event highlighted a look towards the future of BVN with a new mission and vision statement. BVN’s mission is to provide education, resources and networks to support workplace volunteer programs. Our vision is a Dane County where every workplace promotes volunteer engagements in the community.

BVN also announced a new addition to our work in the area of volunteer engagement. In 2018, United Way embarked on a strategic visioning process with the goal of representing both the corporate and nonprofit sectors to assess our current volunteerism strategies, measurement methods, the need in our community, and best practices.

One of the key learnings from this year-long process was that more and more companies are focusing on Corporate Social Responsibility and have a desire for more team-building opportunities. Often times however, going offsite becomes a barrier for staff. To meet these requests, United Way is excited to launch onsite volunteer engagements exclusively to our BVN companies this fall! If your company is interested in learning more, please connect with a BVN Executive Committee member or a United Way staff member.