Gap Community Corps
Gap Inc.’s co-founders inspired generations of Gap employees with a simple aspiration to do more than sell clothes. Gap’s promise is not only monetary assistance to communities the world over but also a commitment to provide thousands of manpower hours by encouraging its 130,000 employees to volunteer to meet long-term community needs.
The Gap Community Corps has sent volunteers to work with NOAHH every year between 2007 and 2015. In that short period of time, they have worked on 16 different homes in five different neighborhoods. Collectively, their efforts have helped to fund seven homes.
Noel Simpkin and Melina Wyatt, team leaders for Gap Community Corps, describe the volunteer selection process as intensely rigorous. Hundreds of Gap employees the world over submit applications describing their volunteer efforts in their local communities. Only 25 are chosen. According to Melina, “Applicants must demonstrate that their efforts have made a significant impact on their local communities.”
Debbie Edwards, the Executive Sponsor and a Vice President came with the volunteers. She shared that her participation highlights just how important volunteerism is to her company and how deeply embedded it is in the company’s culture.
Debbie said, “It is a transformative experience to be in New Orleans to mark the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina because Gap employee volunteers starting coming here when the city was at its worst, right after the storm hit.”
In return, the Gap volunteers share a unique experience from which they grow their business skills. Volunteers Biba Hunjan from London and Grace Wang from Shanghai talked about how their efforts here help their communication, leadership, team building, and productivity skills. The long days require they work together, creating a sense of fellowship with their fellow volunteers.
For Gap volunteer Cristi Campbell, the volunteer experience was personal. Born, raised and living in New Orleans with the rest of her family in August 2005, they evacuated just hours before Hurricane Katrina dealt the city its devastating punch. Cristi’s family lost everything. While Cristi now lives and works in Athens, she still calls New Orleans “home.”
Gap Community Corps is focused on community outreach. Wherever the employees are located around the world, they are bound together by the Gap promise to help NOAHH, to connect to the New Orleans community, and to fulfill their mission to do more than sell clothes.