NetApp
NetApp
Best Companies rank: 6
Name: Lisa Love
Title: Market Development Manager
Years with the company: 4

NetApp employee Lisa Love was sitting in church when the congregation was asked to pray for a mission trip to build an orphanage. Church didn't have to be the only way to get involved in charity work, Love thought, especially when her job offered paid time off to volunteer. Many people at NetApp volunteer in their children's schools or tutor kids how to read and write, says Love. But she discovered that there's room at the company to do projects with a global reach.

Last year, she started talking to two of her colleagues about international philanthropy. The team, which calls itself "Imagine educating everyone," wanted to apply NetApp's commitment to sustainable development to a community in Kenya.

The group developed a model called "Adopt a Village" from international charity Free the Children. And last year, five NetApp employees traveled to a small village called Eor Ewuaso in Kenya to work with people there to build a school, a medical clinic, and a well. The goal is for the community to become self-sustaining within five years of the first investment.

The first school in Eor Ewuaso should be finished this coming April. Love's group plans to work in four villages, and they've reached already raised $30,000 -- 70% of their fundraising goal -- through NetApp employees, friends and family. Once the group reaches its target, it will have enough money to provide an education, water, sanitation, and healthcare to about 500 kids in Kenya, Love says.

To go to Kenya, Love and her fellow adventurers needed to add vacation time to their five days of paid volunteer time off. Still, she says the company has been supportive beyond that particular perk. In fact, now that the project has grown, the group has invited VMWare, one of the company's partners, to participate.

"By doing this initiative, I'm getting a little, mini second career," Love says. I've always been interested in nonprofit work, but to get to do that from a position in corporate America is really awesome."


By Shelley DuBois, writer-reporter @FortuneMagazine - Last updated January 20 2012: 6:55 AM ET
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