I am a bit ashamed to admit this, but as recently as a year ago, I knew very little about the SHRM Foundation and what their purpose was. At the chapter and state council levels of SHRM, I had participated in “cork pulls”, silent auctions, raffles and other activities to help raise funds for the SHRM Foundation but I didn’t really know what these donations were supporting.
Thankfully, I became much more aware of the SHRM Foundation after attending the SHRM Foundation Luncheon that was held at the 2018 SHRM Annual Conference & Exhibition in Chicago. This was my first SHRM annual conference, so I was trying to take in as much as I could and decided to attend the luncheon to learn more about the foundation.
For those of you that may not be familiar, the SHRM Foundation is a charity organization, 501 (c) (3) affiliate of SHRM. Their mission, as displayed on their web page is as follows:
- Research-based HR solutions for challenging inclusion issues facing employees and potential employees
- Scholarships to educate and develop HR professionals and students to make change happen
- Opportunities for HR professionals to make a difference in their local communities
By attending the luncheon, I learned about current initiatives, helped to celebrate and recognize the fundraising efforts of SHRM local chapters and state councils, and also hear about the success stories, scholarships, and many other ways that the SHRM Foundation helps individual HR professionals and the overall profession through their work. Some of this work includes:
- Veterans, aging workforce and inclusion initiatives
- Various scholarships for undergraduate and graduate work, certifications and conference attendance
- Research awards and innovation grants
In addition to learning about the SHRM Foundation at the luncheon, at SHRM 18, I also had the opportunity to meet fellow SHRM member Cecilia “Cici” Clark. I learned a little about Cici’s journey at the conference and then had to privilege to hear her story when
Cici presented on behalf of the SHRM Foundation at our Wisconsin SHRM State Conference last fall. Me and 1,200 of my Wisconsin HR colleagues were all moved as we heard about Cici’s transition from serving in the U.S. Army as a helicopter mechanic to her role as an HR manager in the civilian world. She credited the SHRM Foundation as being a big part in helping her career growth, having awarded Cici with a scholarship to attend the SHRM Annual Conference & Exhibition.
While I am so happy to know Cici and thank her for her service, her story is just one of many where the SHRM Foundation has played an important role to help students, veterans, and others to reach and exceed their potential in the human resources field. It is hearing stories such as these that encouraged me to become involved as a supporter of the SHRM Foundation and I hope that as you learn more about this important organization, you will consider supporting them as well.
How can you learn more about the SHRM Foundation and offer your support at SHRM 19?
- Visit the SHRM Foundation Booth – The SHRM Foundation will have a booth in the Exhibition Hall (Booth 2035), adjacent to the SHRM booth. Talk to SHRM Foundation Staff and pick up some information to learn more about their work and initiatives including the Veterans at Work Certificate program.
- Attend the SHRM Foundation Brunch at #SHRM19 – Hosted by SHRM President & CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. and SHRM Foundation Executive Director Wendi Safstrom, this is a great way to kick off the conference with an incredible brunch at the Venetian Hotel while networking with members of the SHRM and SHRM Foundation Board of Directors, SHRM’s Executive Team, and others. The fee for this event will help support the SHRM Foundation. If you are interested, register by June 10, 2019 here: INVITATION.
- Participate in the 4th Annual Step Challenge at #SHRM19 – In coordination with Fitbit Health Solutions, the SHRM Foundation is again hosting a fun and competitive event. Ten teams will be competing for bragging rights by having the highest average number of steps during a 24-hour period during the conference, as tracked by their Fitbit or other health tracking device. Registration fees support the SHRM Foundation. If you are interested in joining one of the teams competing for the coveted title of “Step Challenge Champion”, please register here: STEP CHALLENGE (For full disclosure, I am the Step Captain for Team Marchers4HR. While I would love for you to consider joining MY team, I’ll be happy if you join the challenge on any of the ten teams. You can find information about each team captain HERE.)
- Consider a Donation to the SHRM Foundation – Whether you are attending SHRM 19 or not, you can still help the SHRM Foundation with your tax-deductible donation. Donations of any amount are appreciated, but there are also several recognition levels available. For an annual donation of $30 or more, you become a part of Team Empower. For those that want to join an elite level of donors, the Leadership Circle consists of donors that commit to annual donations of at least $1,000 for three years.
I hope that you can find some time to learn more about the SHRM Foundation at SHRM 19. Many of the attendees will likely include scholarship recipients, veterans, donors, and others that have either been assisted by or have contributed to the SHRM Foundation. I’m sure that they would be happy to share their experiences with you. In just one year, I’ve come to learn more about this worthy organization and would be love to share with you why I choose to continue to support the SHRM Foundation and their work on behalf of our profession.