Most people in Delaware know the name DuPont. Since its founding in 1802, the company has been involved in the community. We interviewed their Global Programs Manager Jan Waldauer for an update on the company’s emphasis on global as well as local community impact.
Thank you for taking time to share your perspective and experience with the LCS community. We would love to learn more about what you do at DuPont, how DuPont supports local communities, and ways DuPont partners with Lutheran Community Services.
What is your title and role at DuPont, and what does it involve? As Global Programs Manager, I wear a number of hats on our Global Community Impact team (a small but mighty team of three!). I manage DuPont’s relationships with 50-ish nonprofit partners here in our HQ community, and help to make funding decisions during our annual, invite-only grantmaking cycle. I oversee the day-to-day execution of our signature partnership with Habitat for Humanity International, which includes construction product donations [from our Performance Building Solutions business] and employee volunteers across the US and Canada. I manage employee giving, including our annual United Way of Delaware campaign and (as needed) disaster relief campaigns with the Red Cross. I help to drive employee volunteerism around the globe, including finding opportunities with nonprofit partners. And finally, I act as a thought partner and resource to our Regional Impact Council members around the globe.
How did you come to that position in the company? A leap of faith and networking! My career began 25+ years ago in marketing communications, then I migrated to employee communications. In 2010, I became involved in my [then] company’s corporate Foundation. That work really spoke to me (sparked a new passion), and I decided to make a career shift into the social impact/CSR [corporate social responsibility] space. In early 2017 I quit my job without having a new one and worked My Plan … educating myself in this space, networking, volunteering, and applying for many roles. DuPont was in the midst of their “journey to three” (merger of DowDuPont, and then the planned split into 3 companies: Dow, DuPont and Corteva Agriscience). DuPont’s Wilmington-based Community Investment team was moving to the Corteva company, so the “new DuPont” had an opening. I applied, interviewed (and networked) and was offered a position in early 2018. Since that start, our team expanded to 3 people … we all enjoy working together and love what we do.
What is most challenging and what is most rewarding about it? Saying no is really challenging … there is so much need in the world and so many great nonprofit organizations doing amazing things, but we have limited resources and need to prioritize. There are lots of rewarding aspects about my job, but I think hearing personal stories of how our partners are making an impact on individual lives, and knowing that our support helped to make that happen, is at the top of the list.
What is DuPont’s overall Community Impact strategy? It’s outcomes based and has three focus areas: Basics to Thrive, STEM Education and Innovations for Good. We provide support for basic needs in the areas of food, water, hygiene, shelter, and safety. We support the promise of a good education for all, specifically in STEM areas to inspire the next generation of a diverse workforce. We leverage DuPont technology and innovation to help solve some of the world’s most challenging problems. Our work is driven by the passion and expertise of our 24,000 employees around the globe who give their time, talent, and treasure – and everything we do is in support of DuPont’s 2030 Sustainability Goals to build thriving communities/improve 100 million lives.
I have seen DuPont volunteers working in our garden (which provides fresh produce and flowers for our food pantry clients), and I know they have helped in the food pantry as well. What other ways does DuPont partner with LCS? We take a holistic approach to our nonprofit partnerships including funding, volunteerism and – when applicable – gift-in-kind donations (products, used equipment/furniture, meeting space, etc). Traditional volunteerism, like working in the garden or food pantry, is probably what most people think of and our employees definitely enjoy this type of activity. But we also look for opportunities for skills-based volunteerism … using professional experience for good. For example, last year one of our Legal employees helped Rob Gurnee to review the LCS Bylaws and Code of Ethics. And right now we’re sourcing an IT employee to offer technical advice. This type of volunteering deepens the connection for the employee, provides a significant cost savings for the nonprofit partner, and ultimately helps people to thrive … a win-win-win!
How does DuPont support its employees in serving in the community? For over 200 years, DuPont has encouraged employee volunteerism! In the past it’s mainly been grass roots and up to each Manager, but we’re currently developing a global volunteer program which will include guidelines, infrastructure, and recognition. We’re also piloting an internal volunteer portal where employees can search and sign up for volunteer opportunities and record their service hours … all of which count towards our 100 million lives goal.
What else would you like our community to know about DuPont? Our company has been HQ’d in Wilmington for over 200 years, and while our footprint and business has changed dramatically our commitment to this community, and to helping people to thrive, has remained firm.
What would you like to see at LCS in the future? Continued success with providing essential needs for Delawareans, and a ramping up of the new Delaware Food Farmacy program if pilot results yield a sustainable and scalable solution for families. And of course, more DuPont volunteers!
We are grateful for the support we receive from DuPont. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of their approach and that we have received general support funds as well as volunteers working on a range of activities. The skills-based volunteerism for legal and IT support has been particularly impactful for LCS. It’s also nice to be able to share our organization’s vision and outcomes during annual partner meetings with Jan and the Community Impact Team. They truly understand the context of the work and have a broad perspective based on their wide scope of nonprofit relationships.
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