Foundation Giving Network

Citizen Philanthropy in Action: Ruairi English Serving his Community with a Local Nonprofit

Through VMware’s Citizen Philanthropy approach, the collective actions of VMware people have a significant impact in the community. At the core of this approach is our Service Learning program, which provides forty paid hours annually for employees to contribute their time and talents to the community. We intentionally call this program “Service Learning” because we believe that when you serve with a mindset to learn, there is a powerful, two-way exchange of value. Each year, if employees contribute forty hours of Service Learning, they are eligible to recommend a Citizen Philanthropy Investment grant from VMware to a nonprofit of their choice.

This month we checked in with Ruairi English, Critical Account Program Leader based in Cork, Ireland, who has already completed 40 hours of Service Learning this year and was able to direct a grant to a local nonprofit called Irish Search Dogs.

Ruairi English: I joined VMware just over 4 years ago from Dell EMC. As I got more involved with VMware’s Matching Gifts program, I learned I could nominate Irish Search Dogs for eligibility for all VMware Foundation programs, after which I was able to have VMware amplify my personal donations and Service Learning hours.

All 40 of my Service Learning hours this year have supported Irish Search Dogs. I’ve been a dog handler with this nonprofit for almost 9 years. We train our dogs (and handlers) multiple times each week, which allows us to be “deployment” ready and respond when called upon by the Irish Statutory Services (Police, Coast Guard, etc). The organisation was started in the mid-1980s to provide additional resources to our Statutory services to search for missing person(s). The call-outs range from a missing child on a family day out, to Alzheimer’s/Dementia sufferers who have wandered off and gotten lost, to people suffering from mental health issues. Our goal is to bring them back safely, reunite them with their loved ones and get them the care they need or, in the worst case, recover and allow for a proper goodbye.

I believe you get back what you put into life. If I can help, even in a small way, to reunite a loved one with their family, then the training, late nights, and bad weather are all worth it. I was raised to help others when I can and not expect anything in return.

Our culture of service at VMware is evident, as my entire team is incredibly understanding and supportive of my Service Learning with Irish Search Dogs. Given the nature of the services we provide, call-outs can happen any time, day or night. When I am called, my VMware team has always understood and supported me, enabling me to respond as needed, for which I am appreciative. On a personal level, it can be tough, but I am lucky my wife and colleagues support my commitment to this cause. Getting a call to deploy at 2am in the middle of winter is not fun regardless of the outcome, but I get to look myself in the mirror and be happy I did all I could.

You can learn more about the VMware Foundation’s programs here, and read more stories about VMware Citizen Philanthropists’ culture of service here.

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