Dwecksters Doing Good: The Gift of Giving Back Through Community Service
As we approach the holiday season, we at Dweck Properties proudly mark another successful year of our Dwecksters Doing Good initiative. Since its inception, Dwecksters Doing Good has remained an integral part of our company culture, aligning with our core values to Do What Matters and Take Care. We are thrilled to share that the initiative has successfully contributed 160 hours of community service throughout 2023.
Conceived with the goal of fostering a spirit of giving back within our employee base, Dwecksters Doing Good empowers our Dweck team members to make a positive impact on the communities they serve. We allocate eight hours of paid time off annually for each team member to actively participate, and provide pre-coordinated and pre-approved volunteer opportunities each month.
In 2023, our team members volunteered with over a dozen organizations supporting a wide variety of causes. The full list of organizations reflects the breadth of our impact, from addressing homelessness to supporting breast cancer awareness to growing and harvesting fresh produce affordably. We are constantly seeking new opportunities and partnerships to achieve our overarching goal of building a connected and supportive community.
Our 2023 company-sponsored partnerships include:
January | D.A.S.H – District Alliance for Safe Housing
District Alliance for Safe Housing (D.A.S.H) is an innovator in providing access to safe housing and services to survivors of domestic violence and their families as they rebuild their lives on their own terms here in Washington, D.C. Our volunteers helped organize D.A.S.H’s storage space where household items are kept and retrieved when a new resident joins the D.A.S.H community. When the organization project was complete, we took a tour of the grounds and were able to see the incredible values, philosophy, vision, and goals of D.A.S.H hard at work throughout their different spaces, including their beautifully renovated homes. It was a privilege to serve our greater community!
February | A Wider Circle
A Wider Circle is an organization near and dear to our hearts because, as we know well, an apartment (or house) is not a home without basic furnishings for residents to call their own. As a local non-profit organization, A Wider Circle works to provide beds, dressers, tables, chairs, dishes, pots, pans, and other large and small home goods to families transitioning out of shelters, escaping domestic violence, or otherwise living without their basic needs. Our volunteers helped sort and organize donations to get ready to deliver to clients.
March | Habitat for Humanity ReStore
We lived out our Take Care value in March by partnering with Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. Our team assisted with sorting donations and stocking showrooms at their Alexandria location. The ReStore is a discount home improvement store and donation center where Habitat for Humanity diverts items from landfills through donations while supporting local families to build a stronger foundation for their future through affordable homeownership opportunities.
April | Anacostia Watershed Society
Our team of volunteers helped the Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) with a Wetland Restoration Workday in the wetlands by Kingman Island in Washington, D.C.! During this workday, we planted native wetland plants such as bulrush and arrow arum, in an area that was previously covered by the invasive phragmites plant. AWS is restoring the Anacostia River’s wetlands to their natural role as filters for pollution and sediment and habitat for a variety of wildlife. Their goal is to restore the Anacostia River to a swimmable and fishable river by 2025 and beyond and restoring our wetlands, once 2,500 acres, now less than 150 acres, is an important piece to achieving a clean and safe Anacostia River for all living in its watershed and for future generations.
May | N Street Village
N Street Village supports nearly 2,000 women experiencing homelessness in Washington, D.C. Their mission is focused on helping women regain a sense of stability, direction, self-sufficiency, courage, and healing – accomplished through their broad spectrum of mental and physical health services, counseling, employment support and advocacy in an atmosphere of respect and dignity. Our volunteers sorted hundreds of donated clothing items for women in their communities.
June | Food & Friends
Food and Friends is the only community-based organization in the D.C. region providing home-delivered, medically tailored meals and medical nutrition therapy to our neighbors living with cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other serious illnesses. Our volunteers worked in their food prep and packaging program, packing 100 fresh fruit bags and labeling over 300 grocery bags for their daily grocery deliveries.
July | The ARC Community Garden
Our Maintenance & Engineering Team spent their volunteer day building urban garden beds at The ARC’s new Nationals Giving Garden in Southeast D.C. They refurbished garden beds for the season, working hard and finishing 7 whole beds. We’re grateful to be able to support The ARC’s mission to encourage healthy nutrition in the community and to utilize green space in a positive way.
August | FONA- Friends of the National Arboretum
#DweckstersDoingGood volunteered with the Friends of the National Arboretum to help prune sunflowers in the Washington Youth Garden. They completed an impressive amount of work, adding trimmings to the on-site compost pile and wearing smiles the whole time.
September | Thrive DC
In September, we partnered up with Thrive DC, a safety net for people experiencing housing instability, food insecurity, and economic crisis. Our volunteer group helped with Thrice DC’s Emergency Food Pantry by distributing groceries and meals-to-go in support of Thrive DC’s goal to support and equip their clients on their journey of achieving greater self-sufficiency. We were thankful for the opportunity to get involved and participate in their belief that with dignity, care, and compassion, all people can thrive.
October | Making Strides Breast Cancer
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, team members volunteered at the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Washington, D.C. This local chapter raises lifesaving funds that support breast cancer patients, survivors, thrivers, and caregivers through every step of the journey. Dweck also raised funds for breast cancer research with an employee Wear Pink Day and with donations made for every move-in during October.
November | Denim for DASH
Our Inaugural Dweck Denim Day for D.A.S.H was a huge success! This year, our team members rocked denim in exchange for a donation to support District Alliance for Safe Housing (D.A.S.H), the non-profit organization that provides safe housing and services to survivors of domestic violence and their families as they rebuild their lives on their own terms.
December | The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign
Ringing true to our mission to Take Care, Dweck volunteers were Bell Ringers for The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign in Woodbridge and Alexandria. The tradition of the Red Kettle Campaign has been widely known worldwide since its inception in 1891. Our volunteers were able to help raise funds for the campaign that will go directly back into the community to meet the needs of local families this holiday season.
Our commitment to community engagement extends beyond company-sponsored events. We encourage our employees to seek out and support causes that align with their personal passions, amplifying the reach of our Dwecksters Doing Good initiative. We also provide opportunities for our residents to give back each month, hosting everything from food drives to Toys for Tots to furniture donations and more in each of our 17 communities. Through ongoing participation in Dwecksters Doing Good, our team members have made a significant difference in the lives of others.
At the heart of our vibrant culture lies a deep commitment to people. Jessica Mayo, Dweck’s Director of Onsite Employee Relations, plays a pivotal role in planning these initiatives, fostering engagement, providing guidance, and building a strong sense of community within our team. Jessica does more than just manage the programs – she empowers our employees and emphasizes that the unique culture at Dweck is a testament to the exceptional individuals who make up this team.
“The thing that makes Dweck special is the people that we have. The culture is not just a company culture, it really goes back to the people. We have a group of amazing people that not only do their jobs really well but are passionate about helping others.”
Reflecting on the diverse community service initiatives organized in 2023, we’re proud to have fostered a collaboration and sense of shared purpose among our team members. Our goal in 2024 is to get as many people involved as possible in Dwecksters Doing Good.
“I really enjoy seeing the communities that are built within Dweck. I love seeing people mingling, talking, and making connections with people they don’t normally see. It’s rewarding to see the fruits of your labor and everything come to fruition,” says Jessica.
Dwecksters have noted the transformative impact that community service has had on each person involved. Team members often find they gain more than expected, and express gratitude for being part of something that is both meaningful and impactful to the community they serve. For those eager to get involved, Jessica encourages overcommunication, sharing information about initiatives and events through various channels. The success of Dweck’s community service endeavors lies not only in the projects undertaken but in the genuine connections forged and the lasting impact on both team members and the communities they serve.
We remain firmly committed to fostering a culture of giving back and look forward to continuing our community engagement efforts in the years to come.