At a gala ceremony held in Pinelands on 7 September, Old Mutual honoured its most caring employees, presenting awards to staff volunteers whose outstanding dedication to the upliftment of others impacts the communities in which the company operates. Volunteerism is a vital cornerstone of Old Mutual’s commitment to community upliftment. Almost 30% of Old Mutual’s 18 000 employees are actively engaged in its volunteer programme, making it one of the largest corporate volunteer programmes in South Africa.The programme is driven by the Old Mutual Foundation, which has a proud history of empowering people and communities. Apart from volunteerism, the Foundation supports socioeconomic transformation through a strong focus on education, enterprise development, skills capacity building and support for vulnerable members of the community.“Old Mutual’s annual Staff Volunteerism Awards event is an opportunity to celebrate the spirit of giving and recognise the ordinary people in the organisation who do extraordinary things,” says Head of Old Mutual Foundation, Millicent Maroga.“These awards pay tribute to individual staff volunteers, as well as the leaders and managers who help nurture our culture of caring by supporting and encouraging employee participation in community development,” she says. The awards honour employees who have made a powerful impact on the lives of those less fortunate. Old Mutual is made up of great people who truly believe they can make great things happen. “Each year we seem to set higher benchmarks and we are immensely proud of our people’s whole-hearted generosity and sense of responsibility,” she said. Various awards are given on the night and this year, two new Recognition Awards were added to the list, including the Recognition of Volunteerism Excellence, as well as the Recognition of Service through Fundraising for Good. We are proud to announce the deserving recipients. The recipient of the Recognition of Volunteerism Excellence Award was Habitat for Humanity SA. Since 2003, Old Mutual has built 134 homes in partnership with Habitat in the Western Cape, Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal with the help of approximately 8 400 Old Mutual staff volunteers. The Recognition of Service through Fundraising for Good was awarded to Steven Hall who has raised almost R285 000 since 2015 for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital Breatheasy Programme which provides tracheostomy support for children. Without fundraising or financial donations, many organisations simply won’t be able to provide the services that they do. Old Mutual Investment Group was the winner of the Most Extraordinary Business Unit, and Limpopo Province walked away with the Most Extraordinary Provincial Management Board.The awards ceremony recognised excellence in other aspects of volunteerism as well and the winners were: Russel Joubert as Protector of the Vulnerable. Neil Whitaker and Christine Ferreira, the Care and Share Team Award.Friddah Maluleke and Katlego Moeketsi, the Most extraordinary Staff Volunteer Energiser. Glen Molobela, the Most extraordinary Manager supporting Staff Volunteerism.Moosa Raise received the CEO’s Volunteerism Award.Finalists in each category receive prize money to donate to an organisation of their choice. The allocation of the prize money includes platinum at R20 000.00, gold at R10 000.00 and silver at R5000.00. “Our employees’ whole-hearted dedication to helping those in need in South Africa is heart-warming,” says Maroga. “Old Mutual is made up of great individuals who truly make a difference in the lives of others.”The various volunteerism programmes are designed to integrate employees into the social fabric of the local communities in which Old Mutual does business. The three volunteerism programmes are, Staff Community Builder – employees who actively volunteer their time may apply for financial support (ranging from R5 000 to R15 000) for the organisation they support for a three year period. In 2016, 396 projects received over R7.5 million in financial support. In Care and Share, employees may take one day’s ‘social responsibility’ leave to actively help local community projects such as painting children’s homes, planting vegetable gardens, removing alien vegetation, cleaning rivers and recycling, building low-cost houses, spending time with vulnerable youth, including caring for animals in distress. In 2016, 3155 participated in 228 such projects nationwide.At Staff Payroll Giving, staff make voluntary donations from their salary to social causes they care about. Their contributions are matched rand for rand by the Foundation.