Many have noted silver linings in the pandemic and the evolution of Miles with a Mission is an excellent example.
The original mission of our Run-Walk-Volunteer (R-W-V) committee, established in 2016, was to increase Northeast Delta Dental’s presence at signature events sponsored by us. Originally, our company would supplement the registration costs for the events, covering the balance over $10.
However, recognizing the risks of the pandemic in March of 2020, we cancelled all in-person events for the safety of our employees. We quickly switched to hosting virtual events, with the goal of encouraging employee fitness and fostering a much-needed sense of camaraderie. To encourage our team, and continue to support charities, we moved from supplementing registration costs, to offering a $10 per person donation.
Our new approach “Miles with a Mission” pairs personalized participation with philanthropic reward. Employees now have from the 1st to the 15th of each month to complete a 5K virtually – in one or several stretches. And in the winter, it includes not only walking and running but snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Alternatively, they can participate in one of the many races that we sponsor including: 100 Hats for St. Pats, Canterbury Shaker Village XC 5K and the Walk to Cure Arthritis or other races of their choosing
For charitable contribution credit, employees simply submit their 5K time to our committee by the 17th. The charities, voted on and chosen by our employees, include many worthy New England causes, such as: Martha’s Kitchen, VT; Capitol Region Food Program, NH; and Good Shepherd Food Bank, ME.
In 2021, the R-W-V committee was proud to donate $7,210 to charities throughout our coverage area of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. We hope to top this in 2022.
While many might not share my racing obsession (I average a couple a week.), we upped the ante with a top participation competition per department. Needless to say, last-minute laps and good-natured trash-talking ensue in pursuit of the coveted silver cup. The Vermont sales team won in 2021 but many others have vowed to take the trophy in 2022.
I doubt we will ever return to our original mandate of attending races. The silver lining of a remote racing option means increased access to many who might never have participated. And a switch from supplemented registration costs to direct dollars for charities provides a reward more coveted than the silver cup.