Community Projects Interview – McDonald’s
This is part two of our two part interview focusing on the impact of community projects. We hope the insights and perspectives here will inspire you and your organization to create your own community legacy or project. This interview focuses on McDonald’s Corporation and Clean the World. Click here to read part one which focuses on IMEX Group and The Shade Tree.
MG: Describe one of your best legacy projects.
Julie Larson, Project Manager, Meetings & Events: One of the most impactful and engaging events that we ever conducted was the Project One hygiene kits that our team put together with Clean the World supplies during CMOR 2013. We purchased toiletry supplies that were placed into a small clear bag, and each kit included the following: shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, disposable razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloth and a note card. This activity was conducted in our conference staff meal room, and over the course of three weeks, we stuffed a total of 1,800 hygiene kits. The kits were then donated to Three Square, a local Las Vegas Food Bank, who used them for the local Las Vegas community in need.
MG: What makes it stand out?
Julie: I think it stood out for a few reasons. First, it was fantastic for networking, as staff members who weren’t previously acquainted got to know each other. Secondly, a friendly, competitive spirit emerged, as staff members began to compete with each other to see who could stuff the most kits. Lastly, it was an opportunity to provide a benefit for two charities at the same time – Clean the World and Three Square.
MG: How did you find the organization you chose?
Julie: We have had a long partnership with Clean the World as the recipient charity of our used hotel soaps and amenities. Also, one of our key missions is to enrich the host communities where we do business, and in order to honor that commitment, Three Square was identified and brought forth by one of our hotel partners.
MG: How was it funded?
Julie: We build a line item into the event budget specifically for philanthropy as part of our sustainability efforts, which underscores our commitment to and prioritization of these initiatives.
MG: How did having the legacy project affect your event?
Julie: Our staff is still talking about how great it felt to give back during the normal course of their workday. I think it provided an additional opportunity, other than just eating and working together, to relax and spend time with other members of the team.
MG: What type of feedback have you received?
Julie: We have received nothing but positive feedback on these initiatives. As a matter of fact, our team is currently in the planning phases for our next large show, and staffers are already beginning to ask about compiling the hygiene kits again.
MG: From your perspective what were the benefits to the recipients?
Julie: The opportunity to personalize the note card that was included in the hygiene kits and write a few words of encouragement helped express a sense of familiarity, and convey a personal message to the recipients.
Clean the World
MG: How did the partnership with the McDonald’s organization come about?
Shawn Seipler, CEO/ Executive Director, Clean the World: Our partnership started in 2009 at a meeting with Peabody in Orlando. The Peabody was considering our program and they wanted to introduce us to one of their clients who was in town for a pre-site meeting. It happened to be Julie Larson from McDonald’s. It was in that initial meeting we learned through Julie’s reaction and excitement about the potential of tapping into the meetings industry. Incidentally, the Peabody was the first hotel that partnered with us.
MG: What were the initial perceived benefits?
Shawn: When we first connected, Julie’s reaction “was a spark that lit the fire with the meeting industry for us”. She helped us realize the influence she and other companies like McDonald’s could have in helping us expand our reach.
MG: What were the actual benefits, if different?
Shawn: There really is tremendous influence with the meeting industry! We gained a much clearer understanding of the importance of the meeting industry in our growth. Our involvement with the industry has led to our Meeting Planner Recycling Program then to our more recent and most popular program, our One Project.
MG: Are there any long term benefits or lasting impacts?
Shawn: Yes, huge! Julie gave us access and immersed us into the meeting industry which has helped us expand. Aligning with groups like McDonald’s who have sustainable initiatives in place has had a “monstrous impact” on our growth.
MG: Would you consider it a successful partnership?
Shawn: Very, tremendously. We’ve been involved with McDonald’s since 2009 and their support and continued commitment in the work we do has helped us get to where we are today.
MG: What would you say to others looking for legacy projects in the communities where they meet?
Shawn: Stay involved in the projects you support. Julie checks in with us in between projects just to see how things are going. Her commitments to stay connected and involved with Clean the World, and use her influence when she can really helps us continue to grow.
“It was truly amazing to be able to do something so simple that was about to create such an immediate and needed impact! It was a very fulfilling experience and I would definitely do it again!”