Blackbaud Newsroom

Associate-Centered CSR: Teaming Up with the Turning Leaf Project

Blackbaud believes the world will be a better place when good takes over. You don’t have to look much farther than our 40,000+ customers to know that we live and breathe social good each and every day.  But it doesn’t stop with our customers. We don’t just power the ecosystem of good with our technology, we fully participate in it through our corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies and programs.

Each year, Blackbaud’s CSR team works with our in-house design team, Agency 545, to create our “Blackbaud Cares” t-shirts. These t-shirts are worn by our colleagues when they’re volunteering on behalf of the company, volunteering on their own, or just out and about. These shirts embody our value of We Give Back and are very popular with our employees.

So what makes this year’s shirt different? Our partner on the project.

The Turning Leaf Project, a nonprofit organization based in Charleston, SC, serves men recently released from prison through its classroom boot camp and screen printing business. The organization works closely with these men to help them complete probation and stay out of prison. Most men, after finishing the boot camp, are placed into temporary employment with one of Turning Leaf’s government work partners. They are eventually hired permanently by these government agencies.

However, sometimes participants need additional support and training before joining the workforce. These men are hired to work in Turning Leaf Project’s screen printing shop. Men who complete their temporary job in the screen printing shop are then transitioned into employment with the government jobs sites or within the private sector.

After seeing Turning Leaf Project’s executive director, Amy Barch, present at last year’s Fast Pitch competition hosted by Social Venture Partners (“SVP”) Charleston, our CSR team explored working with Turning Leaf Project on the 2018 annual Blackbaud Cares t-shirts. In early April, Turning Leaf Project began production on the shirts.

“Our screen printing shop gives a second chance to men returning home from prison. Blackbaud took a big chance allowing us to print such a large order because they understand what we’re doing has a huge impact on our community,” said Barch. “Because of Blackbaud’s order, we’ve been able to run our shop at full capacity and hire three additional men who otherwise would not have employment. We’re finally beginning to cover the shop’s monthly expenses, and that’s largely because of Blackbaud’s order.”

In the end, sourcing this year’s t-shirts through Turning Leaf Project shows how Blackbaud approaches our CSR initiatives. Evan Bullock, a Charleston-based Blackbaud employee colleague, said: “I had the pleasure of meeting one of the development folks from Turning Leaf Project at a weekly running club I participate in, and when she heard where I work she was so excited to tell me about this and so grateful for the business. I have a family member who benefitted so much from a similar organization in another state, so I love what these folks are doing.”

One hundred percent of the proceeds from Turning Leaf Project’s screen printing business funds job training. By partnering with Turning Leaf Project, Blackbaud is ethically sourcing these t-shirts and working with an organization that provides opportunities to members of our community.