Putting AbbVie expertise to work at the heart of local communities
AbbVie’s Week of Possibilities is an opportunity for staff at the company to strengthen their role in local communities
AbbVie has joined forces with Volunteer Ireland in a partnership that ensures that AbbVie’s volunteer efforts align with the needs of their local communities.
How much can you achieve in a week? Employees at AbbVie, a global biopharmaceutical company with a significant presence in Ireland, know the possibilities are endless.
For the past five years, its Week of Possibilities volunteering programme has seen AbbVie staff lend a helping hand to communities around the world. This year is no exception, with more than 9,000 AbbVie employees in more than 50 countries volunteering 37,000 hours to assist local communities.
The Week of Possibilities was founded in 2014 and is funded in part by the AbbVie Foundation, with a focus on projects in north Chicago, Illinois, where the company is based.
In partnership with not-for-profit groups, AbbVie has been working to address community challenges – particularly in education – through charitable giving as well as employee engagement. In the last five years these activities have had an impact on nearly 19 million people around the world.
In Ireland, AbbVie has joined forces with Volunteer Ireland, the national volunteer development agency, in a partnership that ensures that AbbVie’s volunteer efforts align with the needs of their local communities.
Together, they planned and implemented Week of Possibilities projects in three communities in Cork, Sligo and Dublin – all places where AbbVie has a major presence.
The result was that more than 350 employees from AbbVie’s plants and offices in Cork, Dublin and Sligo volunteered almost 1,700 hours to improve and renovate schools in their local communities during the five-day initiative.
Greenhills College, Dublin
Employees from AbbVie’s commercial offices in Citywest, Dublin helped complete an extensive refurbishment of the autism unit at Greenhills College in Dublin.
A significant number of the students enrolled at the boys’ secondary school have autism needs and attend Greenhills College to avail of the school’s autism resource unit. Volunteers worked alongside staff to upgrade the unit’s sensory room, library and kitchen to benefit the students with autism who attend there.
“We would like to thank AbbVie and Volunteer Ireland for choosing Greenhills College for their Week of Possibilities,” says Ann Bray, principal of Greenhills College.
“The work carried out will have a huge impact on the whole school community. Our students will now have a long awaited relaxation space and state-of-the-art library facilities in surroundings which will encourage improved literacy and numeracy. Without the support of AbbVie we would never have achieved this goal so soon.”
St Aloysius College, Cork
In Cork, employees from AbbVie’s manufacturing plant helped upgrade facilities at nearby St Aloysius College in Carrigtwohill. Their volunteer work included cleaning and painting the school gym, painting and resurfacing the school gardens and redecorating a dedicated common room and project space which is used by the school’s transition year students.
“We feel so fortunate to have had AbbVie visit us as part of their Week of Possibilities project. The addition of an Innovation Space will be fantastic for our students, somewhere St Al’s girls can come together and collaborate to work on projects such as the Young Scientist Competition and Young Social Innovators. We see this as a space within which we can bring together science, technology and creativity, a part of our school that allows our students not to be confined by a curriculum but only by the limits of their imagination,” says Seán Twomey, Principal of St Aloysius College.
“In addition, when I heard they were willing to help re-paint and renovate our gym I thought we had won the good luck lottery, it hasn’t been given a facelift in over 30 years! The students won’t recognise it when they return. Renovating schools is almost as important as building new ones and Glenmary Gym has a proud history which AbbVie is helping bring back to life.”
St Edward’s National School, Sligo
In Sligo, AbbVie employees from the company’s medical devices centre in Ballytivnan, and from its pharmaceutical plant on the Manorhamilton Road, contributed more than 1,000 hours to help refurbish St Edward’s National School in Ballytivnan. Their volunteer efforts included a complete redecoration of the interior and exterior of the building and landscaping of the grounds.
AbbVie’s volunteering activities reflect its ongoing commitment to science education and mean that students and teachers will have stimulating and fit-for-purpose facilities when they return from their summer break.
“We were thrilled when we heard that AbbVie had decided to refurbish St Edward’s NS during their Week of Possibilities initiative,” says Jean McGowan, principal of St Edwards’s National School. “Their employees’ hard work reflects the vibrancy, enthusiasm and energy of pupils and staff. We are not in a position to do this by ourselves as the resources are not available to us. We are so grateful to our wonderful neighbours, AbbVie, who are contributing so much to this community.”
In all, AbbVie employs more than 600 people at five manufacturing and commercial sites across Ireland, with a mission to improve treatments across four primary therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, virology and neuroscience.
“Week of Possibilities demonstrates our sincere commitment to giving back to our communities and people in need,” says Todd Manning, AbbVie’s general manager.
“These volunteer opportunities are critically important to who we are as a company and the fabric of our culture. As a company, we are also committed to leveraging our expertise in the field of science and business practices to help transform education in the communities in which we work, and our work this week reflects this ambition.”
AbbVie’s Week of Possibilities initiative was judged the leading corporate responsibility project at the Pharma Industry Awards in 2016 and has received commendations at the Irish Healthcare Awards and Chambers Corporate Social Responsibility Awards.
Volunteering by employees has also contributed to the company being named as Ireland’s number one large workplace by the Great Place to Work Institute early this year.
Says Columba McGarvey, site director at AbbVie’s Ballytivnan plant: “The Week of Possibilities initiative is a great example of how non-profit organisations and the private sector can work together to make a positive difference. It is incredibly satisfying to see our employees embrace this project so passionately, reflecting AbbVie’s culture of giving back to our communities.”