Seedlings Planting Joy. Growing Hope. All while having a bit of fun.

Corporate Engagement

FGT Backpack Build

Interview with Amelia

To understand Amelia's passion for development, one acronym is essential: CSR. CSR refers to "Corporate Social Responsibility," which used to be understood as an individual, internal practice based on a company's own ethical standards. Now, the practice of social responsibility has taken on a slightly different nature; companies' CSR strategies can be a way of proclaiming to both their employees and the public what their values are. There is obvious room for discourse on the pros and cons of the growing importance of CSR to individual companies, but in order to have those discussions, one needs to know why the focus is shifting to socially-responsible enterprise. "Millenials want to work for companies they agree with ethically," Amelia observes, "They want transparency about where the money they earn the company goes."

So how can companies be upfront about their social responsibility?

That’s where non-profits like Family Giving Tree come in. “We’re small, grassroots, direct,” and we specifically offer programs that help companies bring their employees together to support marginalized Bay Area community members. Through our backpack builds and gift wrapping parties, we offer the opportunity for employees to share in their giving within a corporate environment, and to raise awareness of the severe level of need in the Bay.

Volunteers at work: setting up for backpack Build

But how is your money making a difference?

"There was a news special about 'The Jungle,' and in one of the shots, you could see a child wearing one of our backpacks," Amelia recalls. (The Jungle was a homeless encampment along Coyote Creek in Downtown San Jose, once holding as many as 300 residents.) "Large tech companies are right next to that area. That backpack might have come from a build that one of those corporations hosted." The backpacks and gifts FGT receives are delivered to the people here who need them most.

And what’s one of the best ways you can help?

“See if your company matches donations or volunteer hours. Seriously, it’s one of the most effective ways to contribute.” In addition to multiplying the impact of your gift of time or money, matching lets your company know what values their employees have. At the end of the day, corporations are made up of people, and your voice should be important to your employers!

½ of our dedicated Boba Bringer Team is on vacation in Alaska for the next two weeks, so we’re taking time to shine the spotlight on another very important sugar staple at FGT. Celeste Delamore, this week’s staff feature, is a veritable confectionary wizard. Generally, there are two ways to realize that Celeste has made some incredible baked goods:

Boba Review: Teaspoon

While both members of our official boba team were out of office this Thursday, this past Tuesday was National Boba Day, and we couldn’t pass up the excuse to partake in our favorite beverage.

Ordering Experience: 5/5 bubbles Between our small order of 3 drinks and Teaspoon’s simplistic and clear menu design, we had no problem getting our order promptly and perfectly. While shaved ice perhaps isn’t a traditional part of our weekly boba adventures, Teaspoon’s ornamental, tea-flavored “snow” is definitely on our list for future weeks.

Taste Factor: 5/5 bubbles Liza’s favorite mango popping boba was satisfying as usual, Lauren’s taro was complemented well by the honey boba pearls, and Lynn’s Thai milk tea was exactly as sweet as requested. The ability to reduce the amount of ice meant there was more room for tea, and we all took advantage of that.

Convenience: 5/5 bubbles A quick 8-minute walk away from our office, Teaspoon is easily accessible… and therefore perpetually tempting. Visiting the tea shop made for a nice lunchtime jaunt, especially in the wonderful sun we’ve been having lately.

Overall: 5/5 Bubbles The tea was made quickly, accurately, and deliciously. We’re excited to try their artisanal “specialty snows” and report back to you as the Bay Area temperatures continue to climb!

Staff Feature

Amelia Johnson: Opera Singer, Martial Artist, and Fundraiser

Though she hasn't taken on learning circus arts (yet), Amelia Johnson is basically a professional juggler. Amidst working full time for FGT's development team, earning her MBA at Santa Clara University, and weekly training in Krav Maga and Salsa dancing, Amelia is busy--to put it lightly.

She's used to the grind, however, having received her BA from San Jose State in Vocal Performance. You'll find voice majors in the studio warming up at 6:30 AM, in preparation for their first class at 7 AM, and with 11 classes per semester, the day doesn't slow down from there. Constantly memorizing music of different styles, stepping into different performative roles, and creatively collaborating with other musicians taught Amelia skills that she's taken with her into her graduate program and work at FGT.

There's a level of self-awareness that comes from not only stepping into a new perspective as a performer, but from genuinely understanding a song and the performer’s relation to that perspective. That awareness of context is key, according to Amelia. It's about clarity of message; both what one is saying/singing, and how it's being received.

In development, just like on the stage, it's important to think critically about the needs and contexts of both agencies and donors, both can be met in symbiotic ways.


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