National Philanthropy Day 2016 – Building a Culture of Philanthropy

Millennials blur the line between work and life and truly appreciate a culture of philanthropy
Millennials blur the line between work and life and truly appreciate a culture of philanthropy

Corporate philanthropy has changed dramatically over the past decade. First and foremost, millennials have entered the workforce in droves, and they play a major part in company influence. While Generation X and Baby Boomers tend to make a clear delineation between work and life, millennials maintain fluidity in all aspects of their lives and expect far more out of their employers. Therefore, employee engagement has become paramount to the success of today’s companies, and one of the best ways to foster employee engagement is through a culture of philanthropy.

Building a culture of philanthropy requires a concerted effort from senior management and human resources. Gone are the days of holding an annual food drive at Thanksgiving or toy drive during the holiday season. Today, year-round involvement in charitable ventures and the community is almost expected, through both volunteerism and financial commitment. National Philanthropy Day, which falls on November 15, is an exemplary time for corporations to truly examine their philanthropic culture – or lack thereof.

Where to Start?

Creating an authentic culture of philanthropy requires three key ingredients. First and foremost, leadership involvement is essential. Employees, particularly millennials, know when an employer is fully committed and when they are just going through the motions. A true culture of philanthropy requires both buy-in and participation from leadership.

Second, workplace giving programs and volunteerism should be an integral part of a company’s corporate identity – which again comes down to support from leadership. Because culture always trickles down from the top, involvement from leadership is an absolute requirement. While a company can say that giving of money and time are important, senior management’s actual participation in a company’s charitable ventures provides authenticity through leading by example. Without leadership involvement, employee engagement programs will appear superficial and perfunctory and are likely to fail.

Fellow ESOP Gardener's Supply Company created Company Farm to grow and distribute potatoes to local food pantries
Fellow ESOP Gardener’s Supply Company created Company Farm to grow and distribute potatoes to local food pantries

Third, charitable programs must align with both employee interests and corporate goals. For example, Gardener’s Supply Company in Vermont is a retail and online gardening supply company that offers everything from seedstarting supplies and garden furniture to flower supports and garden carts. Like Tata & Howard, they are also 100% employee-owned. In 2013, a group of employees at the Burlington location started Company Farm. Their goal was to grow potatoes to donate to people in need. In the first year alone, employee-farmers grew over 300 pounds of potatoes on a set of thirty 4×6-foot raised beds just off the company’s main parking lot. All of these potatoes were donated to support need in the local community, and Gardener’s Supply plans to increase their output as well as encourage other companies to also turn some of their lawns into farms.

How to Get Involved

A culture of philanthropy is not just for large companies – small-to-mid-size companies are becoming increasingly involved as more and more millennials enter the workforce. While larger companies are able to support a variety of charitable ventures, smaller companies need to be more strategic in their philanthropy. Several ways in which companies of all sizes are fostering an engaged workforce include providing paid time off specifically for volunteerism, 100% company matches on all employee donations to 501(c)3 organizations, and company-sponsored charitable events and initiatives that align with the company’s mission, vision, and values. At the core of a true culture of philanthropy is the encouragement and participation at all levels within an organization to give their time, money, and talent.

T&H employee owners participated in the 17th Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup. The even was organized by a millennial and supported by senior management
T&H employee-owners participated in the 17th Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup. The event was organized by a millennial and supported by senior management.

At Tata & Howard, we are passionate about clean water, so we have forged a partnership with Water For People, a non-profit whose mission is to promote the development of high quality drinking water and sanitation services, accessible to all, and sustained by strong communities, businesses, and governments. Water For People is our charity of choice, and employee-owners are able to donate directly to the organization through payroll deductions, which the company matches 100%. In addition, Tata & Howard employee-owners participate in other charitable events that complement our corporate philosophy, including river clean-ups, cancer research fundraising, food drives, and the Navajo Water Project, to name a few. Supporting charitable organizations and events that have a direct tie to a company and to its employees is key to true employee engagement.

Looking Ahead

Because of the changing face of our workforce, building a culture of philanthropy is no longer considered either incidental or superfluous. In fact, the most engaged companies have substantial and clear policies in place that support philanthropic ventures at all levels within their organizations. And the payoff is clear: reduced attrition, greater productivity, higher profits, and also a positive team environment that makes the world a kinder, gentler place.

Care to share? We’d love to hear how your company celebrates National Philanthropy Day and promotes a culture of philanthropy!

World Water Day 2016 — Better Water, Better Jobs

World Water Day falls on March 22 each year, and serves as a time to celebrate all things water. It is also a time to acknowledge water’s pivotal role in our daily lives, to recognize the global population that still lacks access to adequate water supply and sanitation, and to focus on sustainability so that we can protect our world’s most precious resource. While most of us recognize that water is essential to life, many of us don’t realize that water is just as essential to our economy and is responsible for employing half of the world’s workers, or 1.5 billion people. And while half of the world’s workers are directly employed in water-related sectors, a majority of the other half are also reliant upon water for their jobs. The theme for World Water Day 2016 — Better Water, Better Jobs — reflects this reality.

Fetching-water-statisticsFirst, let’s look at some facts:

  • African_girl_fetching_water_with_pitcher663 million people — or 1 in 9 — don’t have access to safe drinking water.
  • The average American uses about 100 gallons of water a day, which is 10 times more water than the average rural resident in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • In Africa and Asia, women and girls walk an average of 3.5 miles a day carrying water that weighs more than 40 pounds, or the equivalent of carrying two cases of soda.
  • Each day people, mostly women and girls, spend 125 million hours collecting water.
  • 66 children die from diarrhea from water-related disease every hour.
  • Globally, one third of all schools lack access to sanitation and drinkable water.
  • 160 million children suffer from malnutrition, which has lifelong impacts on health, education, and economic potential; 50% of this malnutrition is directly linked to lack of clean water and sanitation.

And thankfully, some really good news:

  • 2.6 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water since 1990.
  • 2.1 billion people have gained access to an improved sanitation facility since 1990.
  • Over 90% of the world’s population now has access to an improved water source.
  • Since 2008, more than $27 million federal dollars have been invested in projects to build up water distribution systems in Navajo Nation, which will will allow about 800 homes to benefit from new pipe systems and improve water quality for about 1,000 homes that already have running water.

Quality and availability of water have a direct effect on peoples’ lives, including workers. Yet millions of people who work in water are not recognized or protected by basic labor rights, and do not have an adequate clean water supply. In fact, over 340,000 of the world’s workers die each year from lack of clean water and sanitation. Many of the world’s workers, including farmers and fishermen, depend wholly on water for their livelihoods. Also, women and girls in developing countries are typically responsible for fetching water, often from miles away, which leaves them no time for education or employment. The adequate quantity and quality of water can significantly change workers’ lives and livelihoods, and can even improve societies and economies.

MaxGilliam_survey_private_dam_LitchfieldCounty_CT_1015Water is also an integral part of our jobs here at Tata & Howard. As a water engineering firm, we strive to improve our water supply and to create a safe, sustainable future for generations to come. As we have recently seen in communities like Flint, Michigan and Sebring, Ohio, unsafe water directly affects the health of both residents and the economy. We accept that it is our diligent duty to provide the most efficient and meticulous engineering service to municipalities and water companies to safeguard our nation’s water supply and the health of residents. We work cohesively as a team to foster innovation and to provide a series of checks and balances, while each and every project on which we work is technically reviewed by a senior engineer not associated with the project.

In addition to our daily work, we actively support numerous water organizations, including Water For People, whose goal is to bring a clean, sustainable drinking water supply to everyone forever, and the Navajo Water Project, which works diligently to bring safe, accessible drinking water to the residents of Navajo Nation. It is our belief that safe water is a basic human right, and through our work and our works, we actively sustain that belief.

matT_DAMON_WATEROn World Water Day, we invite you to join the 2016 campaign to get informed, engaged, and take action. There are many ways to get involved. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website to learn about water, or make a donation to a reputable water charity. Water For People, Charity: water, Navajo Water Project, and Matt Damon’s are all water charities with superior ratings. You can also contribute on social media by using the hashtags #WaterIsWork and #WorldWaterDay. Together we can help the people of the world to have an adequate supply of safe drinking water, improving the health of workers, the economy, and our environment.

12 Months of Giving — Keeping the Holiday Spirit Alive Throughout the Year

philanthropyDuring the holiday season, we typically hear about gifts on the 12 days of Christmas, eight days of Chanukkah, or seven days of Kwanza. And in the spirit of the season of gift-giving, many people choose this time of year to donate food to shelters or toys to needy children. We here at Tata & Howard love this time of year and the generosity that is so prevalent, but we are also committed to giving back to the local and global community throughout the year. So this holiday season, we have compiled the 12 Months of Giving — a list of 12 philanthropic events in which we have had the honor of participating in 2015.

  1. waterforpeople_tatahowardCharity of Choice: Water For People
    Most Tata & Howard employee-owners donate to Water For People with every paycheck through automatic payroll deductions, and the company matches 100% of donations made in this way.
  2. Water For People Golf Tournament
    Tata & Howard sponsored the American Water Works Association, Connecticut Section Golf Classic to benefit Water For People this past August. All funds raised by the event were donated to Water For People.
  3. Rally for the Jimmy Fund
    Employee-owners participated in the Rally for the Jimmy Fund in April. The Rally encourages people to wear Red Sox gear on Opening Day at Fenway Park in exchange for a donation to the Jimmy Fund, and has raised over $4 million for cancer research since its inception in 2006.
  4. Special Olympics of Massachusetts (SOMA)
    Some of our philanthropy is through the gift of time. Justine Carroll, P.E., has volunteered for SOMA for over 15 years as a swimming coach with the Belmont, Massachusetts swim team, and each year she has helped 30 to 40 athletes on her team participate in the Special Olympics Summer Games held every June at Harvard University. In addition to her full schedule as a Project Manager and Team Leader at Tata & Howard, her commitment as a coach involves training sessions twice a week in preparation for Special Olympics. Now that’s dedication!
  5. joel_loithersteinRacing for the Jimmy Fund
    Employee-owners supported co-workers Joel Loitherstein, P.E., LSP, and Heidi White as they participated in the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) and Mass Dash for the Jimmy Fund, respectively. PMC is an annual 200-mile, 2-day bike-a-thon that crosses Massachusetts starting in Sturbridge and ending in Provincetown. Mass Dash is a grassroots, 100-mile relay in Massachusetts that starts at Mount Greylock and ends in Amherst. Both races raise funds for cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, with PMC raising over $500 million and Mass Dash raising over $500,000 since their inception.
  6. Camp Sunshine
    Tata & Howard participated in National Flip Flop Day in June. The holiday was started nine years ago in an effort to raise funds to benefit Camp Sunshine, a retreat in Maine for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. Employee-owners wore flip flops to work in exchange for a donation to Camp Sunshine, which was matched 100% by Tata & Howard’s Philanthropy Committee.
  7. The Watershed Fund Annual Fundraiser
    Tata & Howard sponsored the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority (RWA) annual golf tournament to support The Watershed Fund in August. The Watershed Fund recognizes that land use choices are important decisions confronting many towns and individuals across the region, and strives to enhance the environment and improve quality of life by protecting drinking water supplies and threatened watershed lands.
  8. Navajo Nation Monetary Donation
    After learning that people living on American soil lacked access to clean water, Tata & Howard employee-owners, along with a match from the company, donated to Navajo Water Project, a subsidiary of DIGDEEP that works to provide safe, accessible drinking water to Native Americans living in Navajo Nation.
  9. food_donationFood Drive
    In October, employee-owners participated in a month-long food drive to benefit local food banks. Among all offices, Tata & Howard donated over 400 pounds of food.
  10. City of Marlborough
    In December, employee-owners contributed to the Mayor’s Charity Relief Fund of Marlborough, Massachusetts, which helps residents of the city in need of financial assistance at times of crisis or hardship. Tata & Howard’s corporate office is located in Marlborough, and employee-owners were glad to be able to support the local community.
  11. DARE Family Services
    For the holiday season, employee-owners donated handpicked gifts to foster children in Massachusetts through DARE Family Services, a non-profit whose primary mission is to find, train, and support loving homes that will help children become resilient and overcome the trauma of serious abuse and neglect. DARE Family Services has six offices throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut, including its administrative offices in Somerville, Massachusetts.
  12. navajo_water_crisisNavajo Nation Water Cistern Donation
    Tata & Howard again supported the Navajo Water Project by purchasing a 1,200-gallon water cistern, which will provide the necessary water storage for a full running water system in one Navajo American Home. The gift was purchased in honor of Tata & Howard’s clients in lieu of holiday cards.

As 2015 comes to a close, we at Tata & Howard are thankful that we have been fortunate enough to have the ability to support a variety of charitable organizations throughout the year. In 2016, we look forward to participating in additional philanthropic activities both as a company and as individuals, and to continue to do our part to improve the environment — and world — in which we live. Happy Holidays!

National Philanthropy Day 2015

NPD logoIn 1986, United States President Ronald Reagan designated November 15 as National Philanthropy Day, a day which celebrates giving, volunteering, and charitable works, and the impact that philanthropy makes on our society. National Philanthropy Day celebrates philanthropy, which etymologically translates to “love of humanity,” each November 15 in an effort to turn the word into action and to recognize the change that word has brought to our local and global communities.

National Philanthropy Day is now overseen by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, who entreat people to follow the five Ps of giving in order to make the most impact:

  1. Passionate. With literally thousands of charities and causes from which to choose, it is critical to support a select few about which you are passionate. The more passionate you are about a cause, the more likely you are to fully invest in it, including not just money, but time.
  1. Proactive. Once you’ve determined which type of cause you would like to support, proactively find a charity dedicated to the cause.
  1. Prepare. Do your research. Not all charities are created equal, and you want to be sure that the charity you are supporting is fiscally responsible and well managed. Both Charity Navigator and Charity Watch are excellent resources for investigating all aspects of charity ratings.
  1. Plan. Create a plan of giving action so that you hold yourself to a certain dollar and time amount. Charities typically receive most of their donations in the last quarter of the year, while struggling in the spring and summer. Find out what makes the most sense for the charity you have chosen to support and put a specific plan in place — and stick to it.
  1. Powerful. Now that you are ready and committed to give, ensure that your donation is powerful; meaning give the most you can, in both time and money.

water_for_peopleAt Tata & Howard, we are passionate about improving the environment in which we live through our work — and works. As a corporation, we have followed the five Ps of giving and have partnered with select charities in an effort to support them fully. Water For People has been Tata & Howard’s charity of choice since 2005, with employee-owners donating directly from their paychecks and the company matching 100% of every dollar donated. In addition, Tata & Howard sponsors the CTAWWA Water for People Golf Tournament in the fall. Water For People strives to provide safe, sustainable drinking water for everyone, forever. According to Water for People, they exist for one purpose, and it’s as simple as their name: they want all people to have safe, continuous water, and when they do, their job will be done.

navajo water project
Tata & Howard employee-owners helped support the Navajo Water Project

This past year, Tata & Howard selected another key charity to support after learning of the plight of the Navajo on American soil. This year, Tata & Howard donated $2,235 to Navajo Water Project, a subsidiary of DIGDEEP that works to provide safe, accessible drinking water to Native Americans living in Navajo Nation. While there are dozens of water charities supporting developing countries, Navajo Water Project is the only water charity that serves people living in the United States.

Each Thanksgiving season, Tata & Howard employee-owners participate in a food drive for the Worcester County Food Bank (WCFB). WCFB is central Massachusetts’ leading anti-hunger organization distributing over five million pounds of donated food and grocery product in partnership with food donors, financial supporters, and volunteers. This year, Tata & Howard employee-owners collected and donated over 400 pounds of food for WCFB during the month of October.

dare_family_servicesEvery December, Tata & Howard partners with Dare Family Services to provide personalized gifts to disadvantaged children. Employee-owners choose wish ornaments from a giving tree and purchase the gifts for which the children ask. All unclaimed wishes are purchased by Tata & Howard’s Philanthropy Committee — a robust, in-house committee that raises and distributes funds to charities — ensuring that every child receives his or her requested gifts. Dare Family Services’ primary mission is to find, train, and support loving homes that will help children become resilient and overcome the trauma of serious abuse and neglect. Every child is given a life, education, and a road to normal adulthood.

In addition to Tata & Howard’s partner charities, employee-owners support their own chosen charities, often with support from the company’s Philanthropy Committee. Employee-owners have supported such worthy causes as Special Olympics of Massachusetts (SOMA), Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Camp Sunshine, and Livestrong. And Tata & Howard employee-owners don’t just write checks — they also donate significant amounts of time, like coaching SOMA, running for the Jimmy Fund, competing in the Tough Mudder Challenge to support Wounded Warrior Project, riding in the PanMass Challenge, training dogs for NEADS/Dogs for Deaf, and skiing for hear ME now.

hands_holding_globeNational Philanthropy Day is a grassroots movement to increase public awareness of the importance of philanthropy, and to provide information on giving and volunteering so that people can practice efficient philanthropy. It is also the ideal day to reassess charitable giving, from both a corporate and individual level. As John Rockefeller stated, “Think of giving not only as a duty but as a privilege.” At Tata & Howard, we feel truly privileged to be able to support our corporate and individual causes, and believe that each and every act of charity has significant impact that helps to make the world a better place. Happy National Philanthropy Day!

Tata & Howard Sponsors CTAWWA Golf Tournament to Benefit Water for People

Tata & Howard Sponsors CTAWWA Golf Tournament to Benefit Water for People

Funds raised at the tournament will support efforts to bring safe, clean drinking water to people in developing nations

The 2014 CTAWWA Golf Classic to benefit Water For People was well attended
The 2014 CTAWWA Golf Classic to benefit Water For People was well attended

MERIDEN, CT, August 18, 2015 – Tata & Howard is pleased to sponsor the American Water Works Association, Connecticut Section Golf Classic to be held on September 15, 2015 at the Tunxis Plantation Golf Course and Banquet Facilities in Farmington, CT. Funds raised at the tournament benefit Water for People, a nonprofit improving the quality of life in developing nations by supporting the development of locally sustainable drinking water resources, sanitation facilities, and hygiene education programs.

“Tata & Howard is privileged to sponsor the Golf Classic to benefit Water For People,” stated Stephen K. Rupar, P.E., Vice President and Manager of Tata & Howard’s Meriden, CT office, and Chair of the Connecticut Water Works Association. “We fully support Water For People’s mission to provide a safe and sustainable water supply on a global level.”

Water For People is Tata & Howard’s charity of choice. Employee-owners donate directly from their paychecks and the company matches 100% of every dollar donated in this way. Water For People is also the AWWA designated charity of choice, and is endorsed by the Water Environment Federation, the Water Quality Association, the National Association of Water Companies, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies.

“There’s a reason that Water For People is the charity of choice for so many organizations involved in the water environment,” noted Salvatore Longo, P.E., Vice President and Manager of Tata & Howard’s Waterbury, CT office. “Their vision to bring clean water to everyone, forever is something that directly reflects on our work — and something in which we all fully believe.”

For more information on the CTAWWA Golf Classic to benefit Water For People, please visit


Water For People – Making a Substantial and Sustainable Difference

wfpWater. For us, it’s as natural as breathing. When we want a drink, we run our faucet. To wash our dishes, or our clothing, we press a button. We always have access to restrooms, whether in a public facility or a private residence. Clean water and sanitation are rights, not privileges. But for millions of people outside our borders, life is very different:

  • 780 million people worldwide lack access to clean water. That’s 2.5x more people than live in the United States.
  • More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes. That is almost the entire city of Los Angeles. 99% of these deaths occur in developing nations.
  • Every 21 seconds, a child dies from a water-related illness. The majority of illness comes from fecal matter.
  • The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.

Virtually all people in developed nations have access to clean water and sanitation. The areas of the world with the lowest percentage of people having access to clean water and improved sanitation are sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia. And to put those numbers into perspective

  • An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country uses for an entire day.
  • More people have a mobile phone than a toilet.

These are sobering facts indeed.

At Tata & Howard, we firmly believe that every single person on Earth should have access to clean water and improved sanitation. And because of our strong conviction, we have chosen to support Water For People, a charitable organization that works diligently to bring improved water and sanitation facilities to developing countries. Their goal is water for Everyone Forever, and when they say everyone, they mean everyone. Their methodology is precise and comprehensive, and has brought real and lasting results.

everyone foreverHow They Do It:

  • Water For People collaborates with IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, and Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) to target districts in defined geographic regions for an Everyone Forever program.
  • Success is defined as every household, every school, and every public health facility/clinic in those regions having access to improved water and sanitation services.
  • Financial, physical, and operational investments are made by local and national governments, community residents, and other organizations to address current and future challenges of water systems and services. Eventually, target communities won’t need support from an international water agency ever again.
  • Development agencies monitor field results for at least 10 years, but the monitoring capacity and responsibility are firmly embedded within communities and government. Data and results are publicly available to everyone.
  • Everyone Forever programming grows from full coverage at district levels to national level and beyond, freeing countries from water and sanitation aid dependency.
A woman in Mwamongu fetches water from an unimproved source.
A woman in Mwamongu fetches water from an unimproved source.

Water For People, the American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) charity of choice, will have a prominent presence at ACE14, the AWWA’s Annual Conference being held June 8-12 in Boston. They will host a booth, an evening fundraiser, an awards luncheon, and will give a presentation at a professional session. More information on Water For People at ACE14 can be found here.

Tata & Howard gives to Water For People through its workplace giving campaign by encouraging employees to donate through automatic payroll deduction which the company then matches dollar for dollar. We encourage you to learn more about Water For People and to visit their website where you can personally see the profound benefits that have come about as a result of their efforts:

Engineering Week: Tuesday, February 18 – Engineers Save Lives, and You Can, Too

third world waterIt has recently been argued that engineers save more lives than doctors, and for a very clear reason. While doctors treat existing maladies and certainly save countless lives in the process, there is no debate that the greatest contributor to saving lives and preventing needless death and illness is access to clean water and sanitation. In developed countries like the U.S., we don’t give modern plumbing a second thought. Here, grabbing a glass of water from the sink or having working toilets is a right, not a privilege. However, as of this moment, one in six human beings does not have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s 1.1 billion people worldwide. Dirty water is responsible for 80% of all illness and disease and kills more people annually than all forms of violence combined – including war. Therefore, many underdeveloped countries are now looking to bring more engineers to their countries than doctors, maintaining that prevention of illness would be more effective in saving lives than treatment would be. And we here at Tata & Howard couldn’t agree more, which is why we support Water for People, a charitable organization whose mission is to provide clean drinking water and sanitation to all the people of the world. And it is an achievable goal. The U.N. estimates that the $30 billion dollars per year that the U.S. alone spends in bottled water would be enough money to provide worldwide clean water access.

It’s going to take a little time, and a little money, and the dedication of some charitable engineers, but we look forward to a time when clean, safe drinking water is a right – and not a privilege – to all the people who inhabit this earth. For more information on Water For People and how you can help, visit