Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King’s Legacy Through ServiceJanuary 2021
Topics: Community Impact, Inclusion
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that service was powerful. The act of serving others not only makes a community better, it also brings together people of different backgrounds, ages, and skillsets for a common good. It forges understanding and helps break down barriers.
On January 18, 2021, thousands will honor King’s legacy by participating in a national Day of Service, volunteering in their communities in ways large and small. And this year, the MLK holiday falls within the same week as the presidential transition, a day that celebrates civic engagement through voting and activism.
At MITRE, we take our mission—solving problems for a safer world—to heart. This means we're both mission-driven and community-driven. We serve the communities where we live and work, inspire and engage the next generation of scientists, engineers, and innovators, and support our veterans.
From trying to help close the gap in STEM for underserved communities, to shipping thousands of care packages to deployed troops over the past 10+ years, to fighting polio in Africa, and making the holidays brighter for families in need, our employees go above and beyond to make a difference.
Because making a difference in the world is so important to us, we make it easier for people to participate in their communities. Our Civic Time benefit offers 40 hours of paid time each year for volunteer activities during the workday.
In 2020, MITRE employees logged more than 26,000 hours of C-Time. Of these hours, over 27% were dedicated to STEM, about 13% to health and human services, and over 9% to education.
“I am impressed and moved by our peoples’ commitment to making their communities a better place to live and work,” says Stephanie Turner, vice president of inclusion, diversity, and social innovation.
“On Martin Luther King Day, I encourage you to take the time to serve, and also to remember a civil rights hero whose accomplishments have continued to inspire generations of people.”
A Year-Round Commitment
For our people, service isn’t something for a single day, of course. In addition to individual volunteers, many take advantage of activities organized by our employee councils throughout the year—ones that draw on both our compassion and our skills.
For example, our Multicultural Employee Resource Group (MERG) organized a school supply drive during the fall to support remote learning at Francis Scott Key Elementary in Arlington, Virginia. The supplies yielded enough for our volunteers to create 361 take-home kits for the students.
You’ll also find MERG members deeply involved with Engineers Without Borders, which enables technical professionals to help communities worldwide meet basic human needs, such as water, energy, and shelter.
Innovative Volunteerism for a “New Normal”
We always celebrate our employees’ and their good work. This year, to recognize the incredible efforts of our people since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we created our "In the Community" series. The collection highlights the many ways employees are lending their time, talent, and heart to help people and communities impacted by coronavirus.
Many of our people serve on the front lines as first responders, EMTs, firefighters, and medical reserve corps volunteers. They're using their skills to help vulnerable populations during this public health crisis. They fostered pets in need, ferried supplies to remote communities, organized food drives, made masks, sent letters to isolated seniors, donated plasma, and much more.
One of our computer scientists even found an innovative way to pull together more than two dozen high school musicians into a final concert before graduation. It’s harder than it sounds (and we guarantee the video will make you tear up)!
Encouraging Year-Round Service
Spending the MLK Day of Service volunteering and making the community—and world—a better place is a great way to kick off the new year. Many of our employees will use the holiday from work to get involved with their favorite charity.
However, we know that our commitment to service must extend throughout the year. Service is an everyday need, especially right now when people and businesses struggle through the gaps caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
MITRE and our employees remain devoted to strengthening the communities in which we work and helping underserved neighbors and populations. We are committed to bringing innovation to challenges where we can make a difference in the public interest.
—by Jennifer Lang