It may sound cliché but one person can truly make a difference. This was the case for the partnership between JDRF and Calpine Corporation, America’s largest generator of electricity from natural gas and geothermal resources. An employee with a child diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes approached the leadership team at Calpine about JDRF. Given that the mission of JDRF was so near and dear to his heart, he felt strongly about his company getting involved. His request would result in six years of Calpine supporting JDRF with no signs of slowing down.
Enter Norma Dunn, the Vice President of Corporate Communications for Calpine. While she herself did not have a direct connection to type 1, she recognized immediately that the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes (now One Walk) was a perfect fit for their corporate philanthropy goals which include a focus on employees’ health.
“Providing meaningful support to our local communities is part of Calpine’s mission, and several of our local employees have family members affected by Type 1 diabetes. We also look for opportunities to promote health and wellness for our employees, and the JDRF One Walk is a great way to promote an active lifestyle” said Norma.
In 2012, Norma agreed to serve as the Corporate Chair for the Walk. This high profile position is integral to the success of the event because it directly impacts corporate sponsorships and corporate team fundraising. In that year, Calpine would raise an impressive $35,000. Since that time, Calpine would go on to raise over $180,000 through their participation in the Walk and the Chevron Houston Run for a Reason program. What is most striking about Calpine’s participation in the walk is how much fun they have on Walk day. If you have ever been to the event at NRG Park, you can spot the Calpine tent a mile away. Their employees take great pride in colorfully decorating their space with balloons, serving breakfast to their employees and making the morning a fun celebration of all their efforts to fight type 1 diabetes.
Calpine continues to support JDRF and has incredible response from their employees each year because giving back is just a part of their corporate DNA. According to Norma,
“with any community activity, it is important to give as many employees as possible a chance to participate. When we field a team that involves a sport or physical activity – running, walking or cycling – the event must always include a charitable component. It is so important to keep employees engaged and it is as important to help our communities at the same time.
You can always spot a Calpine employee on Walk Day wearing their signature lightning bolt head bands