Regeneron’s Day for Doing Good (D4DG) clearly describes what the Tarrytown-based company set out to do with the initiative: give back to the local community through a variety of good deeds. Despite its modest name, though, Day for Doing Good describes a full week’s worth of global events, which ran this year from Oct. 23–29.
Some 3,300 of its employees volunteered for more than 100 non-profit organizations, many located in Westchester County. Projects included recording biology experiments for local elementary school students, connecting vulnerable communities with Covid-19 relief, making cards for deployed military, and learning about antiracism efforts in our community.
As Potoula Stavropoulos, Regeneron’s Director of Corporate Citizenship, told River Journal, “When we set out to create our Day for Doing Good four years ago, it was really to build on our long-term commitment to supporting our local communities and to give our colleagues just one more opportunity during the year to come together to celebrate Regeneron’s ‘doing good by doing well’ commitment.”
Though employees of the pharmaceutical and biotech corporation engaged in a range of activities, Stavropoulos noted, “We can confidently say STEM education is the focus of the week. It is our core focus in terms of Regeneron’s corporate citizenship commitment.”
LAB ON WHEELS
To that end, the company used to hold career panels with hands-on demonstrations for students, including a tour of schools with BioBus, a traveling research-grade laboratory for students to experience. This year, per pandemic safety, a senior director of Regeneron’s neuroscience department led a virtual BioBus project to teach cell biology using microscopes to 5th graders in Ossining.
Virtualizing the BioBus wasn’t the only way Regeneron adapted to Covid challenges. It shifted previous live events of D4DG to virtual and/or remote settings. That meant re-thinking how it would interact with STEM students, and how it could link to local nonprofits.
The results were new projects like Missing Maps, a Covid-19 response effort for the Caribbean that saw volunteers collaborating virtually using satellite data to map previously unmapped areas, thus helping to better identify vulnerable communities. Health workers and humanitarian responders can now use these more reliable maps to carry out testing, treatment, and contact tracing.
The spirit of giving back caught fire beyond Regeneron’s employees. As Ella Campbell, Senior Manager of Corporate Communications, told River Journal, even her family got involved.
When she was working on a project to make and send cards for military deployed overseas, her children—ages 2 and 5—were eager to help. She said, “Normally, they wouldn’t help with things like this, but they could see how excited I was about it.”
Whether it was sending cards to troops overseas or talking to children via Zoom from across town, Regeneron proved the importance of coming together spiritually when people can’t physically.
It’s a lesson many of us could take to heart, even if for one day—or week—of doing good.
Jon Jackson is a writer and editor who hails from Brooklyn.