Voluntary action is one of the most important values in Citi’s corporate culture, across the globe. This is one of the reasons why the Global Community Day has become such an important event in the Citi calendar. Support for voluntary actions helps to forge close ties among employees, as they work together for a shared objective, while enjoying enhanced personal development and deriving rich satisfaction from involvement in community work.
In Greece our voluntary actions support financial education and environmental protection, offering care for children and the poor and offering Citi employees a chance to demonstrate in practical terms their belief in community action. In 2012 Citi employees in Greece offered a total of 795 hours of voluntary work.
Citi’s Global Community Day
For the seventh year in succession Citi has held a Global Community Day, the biggest event in the bank’s programme of voluntary action worldwide. The decision was taken that in 2012 the Global Community Day should be held to coincide with Citi’s 200th anniversary of its founding, on 16 June 1812. It was felt this would be the best possible way to celebrate this important milestone. In the event, the Community Day was the biggest manifestation of voluntary action in the history of Citi, with 100,000 volunteers in 92 countries taking part in 1,300 community action initiatives.
Here in Greece 14 community action events were organized, involving more than 200 Citi employees, their families and friends. Teams of volunteers gave their time to helping children supported by the Hatzikyriakeio Child Protection Foundation, the Hellenic Society for Disabled Children (ELEPAP) and the Smile of the Child charity. Others were involved in environmental actions run by ANIMA, ARCHELON and the Hydronautes organization, helping to clean up beaches and the sea in Attica and Thessaloniki. We list below details of the 14 actions organized in Athens and Thessaloniki:
- Hatzikyriakeio Foundation: Volunteers gathered 50 sacks full of dried grass, clearing the grounds of the Foundation to reduce the risk of fire.
- Hellenic Society for Disabled Children: In a series of four visits, volunteers sang, painted and played with the children, reading them stories and filling the children’s home with life and love. Another group of volunteers helped prepare the set for the Society’s summer celebrations.
- ARCHELON: Volunteers cleaned out the turtle tanks and painted the viewing stand of the Society for the Protection of the Sea Turtle.
- Smile of the Child, Candy Workshop: Volunteers made up bags of candy to be sold to raise money for the charity’s work.
- ANIMA: In order to support the Society for Protection and Care of Wildlife, volunteers tended the young trees in the garden, helping create a better microclimate, providing cool, shady places for the animals convalescing at the Society’s facilities.
- Cleaning of beaches and sea in Attica and Thessaloniki: Citi employees helped to clean beaches at Lagonisi, Attica, and Epanomi, Thessaloniki. Working alongside the Hydronautes organization, they helped remove refuse from the sea and carry out an inventory, for research purposes, of the litter and scrap recovered.
- Tree-planting: Volunteers planted 200 trees along the shoreline, in cooperation with the ANIMA organization.
Participation in educational programmes
Citi employees volunteer to take part in the Financial Education programmes for primary schools, supporting the instructors from the Hellenic Children’s Museum in presenting classroom activities. Employees are also involved in the programmes run by Junior Achievement Greece:
- Virtual Business – as advisors to teams of young people setting up their own virtual business.
- Job Shadow – as career advisors for secondary school students, sharing their everyday working experiences with the youngsters and explaining their educational background and qualifications, and
- Banks in Action – showing young people how banks work, and explaining the basic banking services, so that they acquire a better understanding of the banking sector and can make better use of banking services when they are grown up.
Food for the poor
Every year two distributions of free food are organized by Citi workers in Greece, and once a year there is a distribution of free clothing. The initiative was launched in 2009, and was originally an annual event; in 2011 a second distribution was organized, and this has now become the established pattern. In the beginning we supported the Homeless Centres in Athens and Thessaloniki, but in the last two years we have been donating the food collected to the food banks in the same cities. The two food banks serve around 30,500 people a week, providing food to 248 institutions and soup kitchens in the two cities.
In 2012 Citi employees donated a total of 4,082 items of food (pasta, rice, milk, pulses, canned foods) and 1,103.5 kilos/litres of oil, sugar and flour. In addition to this, more than 123 bags of clothes were donated to the Praksis organization in Athens and Thessaloniki, and to the Ark of the World society, as a gift from the Citi workforce in solidarity with the poor and homeless.
Voluntary Blood Donation
Now in its 38th year, the Citi Blood Bank has offered vital support to employees and their relatives at times of need. Every year two blood donation days are organized, and in 2012 50 employees donated blood.