Time Well Spent: Xerox Employees Fulfill Their Passions Away from the Office

Time Well Spent: Xerox Employees Fulfill Their Passions Away from the Office

Monica Milstead may have never adopted her son had it not been for the Xerox Foundation’s Social Service Leave program. The program, believed to be the oldest of its kind in American business, has given over 500 employees permission to pursue their lives’ passions without sacrificing their income since its inception in 1971.

Fifteen years ago, Milstead took a pause in her fast-track sales career to spend one year working with ARK Services for Abused Children in Orange, Calif. where she helped raise $70,000 for the organization. So moved was Milstead by the 3,000 foster children in her community needing basic support, guidance and love that she became a foster parent at the end of her year’s service and adopted her son two years later.

Today employees continue to take advantage of the Social Leave program which offers a fully-paid leave of absence to employees to work full time on social action projects of their own design and choosing. Underwritten by the Xerox Foundation, the sabbaticals put the expertise and experience of our employees to work in communities all around the country.

In 2008, Rod Forte is one of six employees continuing the tradition to work with Foodlink, a Rochester, N.Y. food bank. Rod will use his management expertise to re-engineer Foodlink’s sorting and distribution process to reduce costs and improve the functionality of its warehouse.

Some 30 years ago, the sentiment expressed by former Xerox CEO C. Peter McColough in a letter announcing the program still rings true today, “Each year we contribute several million dollars to worthwhile institutions and projects. Yet we don’t think that’s enough… so we decided to offer what we can least afford to give – the full-time service of Xerox people.”