A successful Silicon Valley veteran, Rachael Chambers has faced her own challenges over the years, but when she heard a homeless teen sheltering at a Covenant House share her story of struggle in 2016 something deep inside her clicked.
“My view of the world was so completely changed on that day. I knew we had to look out for these kids,” recalled Chambers, a 17-year veteran of Cisco, a leading information technology company.
Chambers went on to take the lead on Cisco’s involvement in Covenant House International’s Sleep Out program, events in which supporters spend a night outdoors to raise money for services for homeless and runaway youth. From a group of 43 employees raising $116,000 in 2016, Chambers has helped inspire hundreds of colleagues to participate, executive leadership to embrace the effort and the Cisco team to raise nearly eight millions dollars since then.
For years of incredible work, Rachael Chambers was honored today with the Cash, Sweat & Tears Award, the highest honor for volunteer leadership awarded by the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum and sponsored by Blackbaud, the world’s leading cloud software company powering social good.
“It is because of the dedication of hardworking employee volunteers like Rachael Chambers that corporate teams are major contributors to peer-to-peer fundraising,” said David Hessekiel, president of the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum. “We are so proud to shine the Cash, Sweat & Tears spotlight on Rachael for her tireless efforts to rally colleagues from support staff to C-suite executives.”
"Rachael’s leadership has been instrumental in the growth of this grassroots movement; as a 6-time Sleeper and team captain as well as a company leader, she has been the force centering the Cisco and Covenant House partnership around all that is possible for young people overcoming homelessness,” said Kevin Ryan, President & CEO of Covenant House International.
“Rachael’s passion and commitment to Covenant House has made Cisco’s relationship with Covenant House not just a partnership, but a movement,” says Fran Katsoudas, Chief People, Policy & Purpose Officer at Cisco. “Rachael truly embodies Cisco’s mission to create a more inclusive future for all and inspires her colleagues daily to join her in this important work.”
Chambers’ inspiring efforts have helped make Cisco Covenant House’s largest global Sleep Out team and a tremendous partner in many ways during the pandemic, remarked the charity’s Colleen Veldt who nominated Chambers for the award. For example, a 2020 donation from the Cisco Foundation (that Chambers facilitated) was crucial in maintaining operations. A contribution of Cisco’s Webex technology powered virtual Sleep Outs. And in 2021, in spite of tremendous COVID-19 challenges, 581 Cisco participants across 40 states and 19 countries raised almost $2 million, a testimony to Chambers’ “optimistic determination,” said Veldt.
In addition to sponsoring the award, Blackbaud made a contribution to Covenant House International in Chambers’ honor. “We love working with the Peer-to-Peer Professioal Forum to select the recipient of this award,” said Mark Davis, Vice President of Product Management at Blackbaud, who oversees the Blackbaud TeamRaiser® solution. “The great work Rachael is doing serves to reinforce our own mission to help power social good through technology, and we’re thrilled to make a donation to Covenant House in Rachael’s name.”
Each year since 2009, the Cash Sweat & Tears award has been given to an extraordinary volunteer for going above and beyond to conduct peer-to-peer fundraising for charity.
In peer-to-peer fundraising, a nonprofit’s supporters reach out to their friends, family and colleagues for donations often in connection with an activity such as a walk or ride. Collectively, these campaigns raise billions for nonprofits across North America.
To learn more, visit www.peertopeerforum.com
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