Two years into the pandemic, Viasat employees are still opening their hearts and wallets to give to others. During the 2021-22 holiday season, Viasat and its employees donated to hundreds of different charities and held fundraisers around the world in many areas including food insecurity, homelessness, youth services, disaster relief, etc.
“Our employees have so much compassion for others, and they are always able to make a difference – even if it’s from home,” said Alyssa Loder, Viasat’s social impact coordinator.
Here are some of the highlights of our giving season, which began in late November with Giving Thursday and continued through the early days of 2022.
Five days of joy
In December, Viasat hosted Five Days of Cheer, a way to virtually share the joy and spirit of the season. During one of the Five Days of Cheer, employees voted for the causes that resonated with them the most, with Viasat donating to the winning organizations. The company donated $5,000 each to Humane Society International and The Hunger Project.
Viasat also donated nearly 900 trees as part of the Five Days of Cheer. Employees simply had to indicate that they wanted the company to donate it on their behalf.
On another of the Five Days of Cheer, Viasat donated a tree in the name of each employee who participated. Thanks to virtual employee registrations, Viasat was able to plant 900 trees with One Tree Planted.
“We wanted to make sure that our employees – even if they work from home – always had the opportunity to get involved and feel involved in Viasat’s charitable giving during the holidays,” said Annie DeMascole, head of donations at Viasat.
This annual campaign is a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate and celebrate generosity.
This year, Viasat employees using the Employee Matching Program raised over $163,000, benefiting 250 different charities during GivingTuesday.
Individual campuses also held their own giving events during the holidays.
At Viasat’s Southern California headquarters, employees donated 253 toys, seven bicycles and cash totaling $11,315 to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve North County San Diego Toys for Totals. This year’s event was held in memory of 19-year Viasat employee Carlo “Mazz” Mazzurra, who had organized the annual fundraiser for the past 13 years. Mazzurra, a US Navy veteran, died in late 2021.
“Carlo would have loved to see the positive impact the Toys for Tots campaign has had on the local community this year,” DeMascole said.
Carlsbad’s legal team also held a fundraiser for the San Diego Food Bank, raising a total of $4,000, which Viasat will match for a total donation of $8,000.
Viasat Arizona supported two organizations: Child Crisis Arizona and Arizona Hope for the Homeless. Employees donated 13 boxes of clothing, toiletries and food to the homeless and 97 gifts to the child welfare agency.
Viasat engineer Jim Paugh, who fostered and then adopted two children through Child Crisis Arizona, named the organization as the recipient of this year’s holiday giving campaign. The children’s names were placed on an angel tree and also emailed to remote employees who requested them.
Child Care Arizona’s Director of Community Relations, Atasha Hill, was surprised by Viasat’s generosity.
“She thought they would get a handful of freebies,” said Peter Orona, a Viasat Arizona administrator who coordinated the campaign. “I told her I was on my way, driving a four-door van that was full in the cabin and the bed, and she laughed. I don’t think she realized how bad it was. was full. When I arrived she was caught off guard and so ecstatic.”
“We are extremely grateful to everyone who has helped make this holiday season special for the children and families of our programs,” said Torrie Taj, CEO of Child Crisis Arizona. “Thanks to the generous support of Viasat and other community members, we were able to provide gifts to 1,600 children.”
Orona is also grateful to his colleagues.
“Given 90% of our employees are working from home, that was less than we normally would, but with the pandemic, it was really great to see how people were still giving. The staff here at Viasat have such a big heart when it comes to stuff like that. Fun to be a part of.
In Atlanta, employees collected coats and donated to the Atlanta Food Bank, raising approximately $1,800, including Viasat matching funds.
“Through the food bank, $20 feeds a family of four, so that money will feed a lot of people,” said Michelle Mosley, who chairs the outreach and culture committee for the campus Black Professional Alliance chapter. “I tried to make it easier with the pandemic. People could just go online and donate money.
“I feel like I was put on this earth to give back and make sure no one feels left out, so I’m grateful to our employees for being able to give something back this season.”
The Dublin and Boston offices also ran holiday drives, adding more than $7,500 to the fundraising total.
And in early January, following the Dec. 30 Marshall Fire, Viasat’s Denver office donated $5,000 to the Boulder County Wildfire Fund, helping provide critical short- and long-term relief to victims of the fire.