Regeneron Perspectives

Using data for good

Transformative impact through skills-based volunteering
Potoula Stavropoulos, Senior Director, Social Impact  June 29, 2022

The power of volunteers is immense, and at Regeneron, our people’s commitment to making a positive social impact sets us apart. In my now 10 years here at Regeneron leading our social impact efforts, I have seen firsthand how through our colleagues’ volunteerism, Regeneron’s culture of innovation extends to the communities where we have a presence. Our challenge – and opportunity – is inspiring colleagues in the ways they can take action and harnessing this common purpose to drive meaningful, lasting change in our world.

This social impact can manifest in countless ways – from beautifying a local park to mentoring students. I find it immensely rewarding to use my own skills for good, like when I can apply my nonprofit organizational development and management skills to support the causes I care about. During my time on the YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester Board of Directors, I helped drive long-term planning, which included a strategic shift to make the organization more mission-focused. This helped evolve the YWCA from a service-delivery model to a leader in racial equity and women’s advancement.

When we share our expertise to help strengthen nonprofit organizations tackling a wide array of issues, we create a multiplier effect that enables lasting social impact. In 2017, our volunteer impact survey revealed a shared desire among colleagues to put their skills to use to help others. In response to this data and desire, we launched the Using Data For Good program with the Taproot Foundation to give colleagues the chance to apply their strengths and talents to help improve nonprofit operational capacity, including through project management, scientific data analytics, technological expertise and much more. Regeneron colleagues are teamed up to work closely with their nonprofit partner to identify and address pain points in their data collection systems and processes. Over the course of three months, Regeneron volunteers expand their own skills and leadership experience while helping the nonprofits more efficiently and effectively manage their data and improve delivery on their mission.

Between 2017 and 2021, more than 100 Regeneron volunteers have provided 4,500 hours to help 25 nonprofits identify solutions to data challenges – pro bono services valued at nearly a million dollars. Participating nonprofits span organizations related to health, education, environmental conservation, LGBTQ+ support and women’s entrepreneurship, and they each show overwhelming appreciation for these services. Last year, 100 percent of the nonprofit leaders surveyed indicated that Using Data For Good will improve their organization’s effectiveness.

Luke Robbins, Chief Operating Officer at The Rowan Center, which provides counseling and support to victims and survivors of sexual assault, shared that the organization is now, “able to create a better system to gather data that better aligns with the outcomes we are trying to achieve.”

Limarie Cabrera, Director of Data, Operations & Finance at Westchester Children’s Association, reflected that “this has just been an eye-opening experience for us. Our team is strongly pushing for a process change which is the direct result of our work with the Regeneron team. [They] have been wonderful to work with." 

Aside from the impact seen at the nonprofit organizations, our colleagues also benefit, noting new levels of awareness of social issues, new connections with colleagues and honed leadership and technical skills. Every 2021 Using Data For Good volunteer confirmed that the program enhanced their leadership competencies and made them feel proud to be an employee of Regeneron.

Yogesh Dahitule, Senior Bioanalytical Systems Analyst, said, “the best of the program for me was the experience of managing projects, teams and the sense of accomplishment of improving the work of our nonprofit partners.”

The Using Data For Good skills-based volunteer program exemplifies how our colleagues’ diverse talents, time and leadership can make a difference in the lives of many and help build resilience in our communities. Just as I found meaning through my own board service, I help my colleagues ignite their own philanthropic passion by identifying just the right volunteer opportunities. This is the beauty of Using Data For Good – we’re putting our colleagues’ values, skills and interests to excellent use outside of our labs.

I thank all my Regeneron colleagues for their meaningful contribution to advancing our responsibility commitments and addressing issues where we are well-equipped and eager to make an impact. It’s no wonder that our colleagues’ service has resulted in an annual employee volunteer participation rate consistently above the national benchmark!

Taproot Foundation, a national nonprofit, connects nonprofits and social change organizations with passionate business professionals who share their expertise pro bono. Taproot is creating a world where organizations dedicated to social change have full access—through pro bono service—to the marketing, strategy, HR and IT resources they need to be most effective.

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