volunteer sarah sorting food

As the leader of Deloitte’s Corporate Citizenship efforts, Sarah Hardin has spent the last few years working to deepen the company’s relationships with nonprofit and community partners here in Los Angeles. It was during that time that she became familiar with the work of United Way, and was moved enough to personally volunteer. We recently sat down with Sarah to learn a little more about what motivates her giving efforts both personally and professionally.

We understand you were introduced to United Way through your work with Deloitte. However, you’re involved with United Way personally, not just professionally. What made you invest your personal time?

I learned about United Way as a new hire during my first workplace giving campaign in 2012. A couple of years later, I transitioned to a role leading our Corporate Citizenship, at which point I became more involved both personally and professionally. I like to invest my time where I know I can make a meaningful impact, and decided to join the Emerging Leaders cabinet

You mention that you’re in Corporate Citizenship. What is that, and why is it important?

Corporate Citizenship is a company’s responsibility, or role, in society. It is important because we all have a responsibility to support the communities in which we live and work. I believe Corporate Citizenship programs should provide a platform to help drive measureable change, inspire actions as leaders, and leverage our business strengths to engage talent and accelerate social change.

Why should employees make time for volunteering?

Both employers and employees might be missing opportunities when it comes to reaping the benefits of volunteering in the workplace. Deloitte’s “2017 Volunteerism Survey” of working Americans found that creating a culture of volunteerism can boost morale, workplace atmosphere and brand perception.

Why does Deloitte stay involved with United Way?

From my perspective, United Way is beyond a giving campaign. They align with our values and are helping our communities solve some of the toughest challenges in education, homelessness, and financial stability.

How can other companies encourage their employees to give back?

Other companies can encourage giving by demonstrating generosity from the top. We need to lead by example and create cultures that enable others to give and volunteer with causes that are meaningful to them.

What does the future of philanthropy in Los Angeles look like?

I think the future is bright! We need to continue to engage our young leaders to be advocates and share their time, talent and treasures with causes that are important to them.

What has been your favorite hour -- your favorite 60 minutes -- working with United Way?

This is an easy one. It was hands down my first HomeWalk. It put homelessness in perspective and helped me see that it could happen to anyone. I was also able to meet someone who had been previously homeless and see the impact that the Housing First model had on her.

At United Way, we like to talk about “Living United.” What does that mean to you personally?

It means we need to work together towards making a collective impact in our community. We have power in numbers and need to target issues from a systems approach.