Kim, as a project manager for corporate volunteering, you are looking at how Porsche can make social contributions. Why is social commitment so important to Porsche and what role do employees play in this?
Kim-Lea Dongus: Social commitment is an integral part of Porsche's corporate culture. We see ourselves as an active partner to society. Above all, this means that we want to empower and support people in improving their own living conditions. We want to live up to our social responsibility and use part of our economic success for the benefit of society. Porsche does this, for example, in the form of financial support for numerous national and international funding projects. In addition, it is particularly important to us that this approach comes directly from within the company and that our own employees live this responsibility as well. That's why we want to give Porsche employees the opportunity to volunteer in a wide variety of projects. To this end, we launched the "Porsche hilft" initiative in 2020.
What exactly is "Porsche hilft" and what does the project mean to you personally?
Kim-Lea Dongus: "Porsche hilft" – which translates into English as “Porsche helps” – places employees who would like to volunteer with social organizations and institutions. The offers are diverse and range from environmental campaigns to assignments at local food distribution organizations to tutoring sessions for disadvantaged students. In other words, "Porsche hilft" enables our employees to volunteer on behalf of Porsche and create social and ecological added value. In addition to these valuable contributions, the employees themselves can also benefit from it: they look beyond their own horizons, get to know new perspectives and are given the opportunity to take on social responsibility. At the same time, they gain experience and new skills, while being able to work for a more sustainable, livable future. This is also my personal motivation. For me, the dream of working for Porsche and doing good for society and the environment on behalf of the company has come true. I would like to motivate as many colleagues as possible to do this, because I am convinced that it is more fun together and that we can achieve even more.
In the anniversary year “75 years of Porsche sports cars", you have expanded your offer for employees to become active on a voluntary basis. How were Porsche employees able to get involved here?
Kim-Lea Dongus: As part of our anniversary volunteering campaign, we are focusing on team spirit – true to the motto: Doing good together. On seven weekends from October to December, we offered charitable activities for our teams: planting trees with "Trinkwasserwald e.V." or distributing food to those in need with "Supp_Optimal". A total of about 750 employees were involved during this time. In addition to active support on site, our employees were also able to provide financial support to the organizations via our internal channels with just a few clicks. In this way, everyone was able to contribute with the commitment that was right for them: either through active help or through financial support.
You were on site yourself on many weekends to plant trees together with the association "Trinkwasserwald e.V." and other colleagues. Why was this so important to you?
Kim-Lea Dongus: For quite a time now, we have been working together with the non-profit environmental protection association "Trinkwasserwald e.V.". The association promotes appropriate development of forests throughout Germany in order to ensure more high-quality drinking water and biodiversity in the long term. We have helped to convert forest areas with monocultures into so-called "drinking water forests". By the end of 2023, a total of around 55 hectares of mixed deciduous forest is aimed to be created in the Stuttgart and Leipzig regions to produce high-quality ground and drinking water. And I can say that working together in the forest strengthens the team spirit among our colleagues enormously. Together, we were able to contribute to the climate and local biodiversity, and I really enjoyed it.
In addition to that, you also support local food distributions of the organization "Supp_Optimal". What is it all about?
Kim-Lea Dongus: "Supp_Optimal" coordinates the preparation and distribution of food and hot meals to homeless or low-income people in Stuttgart to permanently improve the quality of life in the city. The special thing about “Supp_Optimal” is their motto: Food for everyone. Every person who passes by receives a hot meal. The positive and open atmosphere, as well as the appreciation that was shown to my colleagues and me by the people, touched me personally. In addition, it makes you realize how privileged we live. I go home with a lot of gratitude after such actions. This makes it even more important and heart-warming for me to be able to give something back. Actions like these can therefore have a positive impact in several ways: not only do we support those who need help, but we also inspire others to get involved socially and raise awareness of the difficult life circumstances that some people face.
Regardless of special occasions such as 75 years of Porsche sports cars, there are other offers for employees to get involved. Would you like to tell us a little bit about it?
Kim-Lea Dongus: We regularly participate in global campaigns such as World Cleanup Day – a great example of how we can also involve our international colleagues as part of "Porsche hilft". On this day, employees from numerous locations collect garbage. In 2023, some colleagues even went underwater, and unfortunately had great success. One project, however, particularly means a lot to me: Thanks to the very positive response from our employees, our Christmas campaign will be back again in 2023, with which we have already been able to make many children's eyes light up over the past three years. We have the opportunity to make a Christmas wish come true for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. And that’s how it works: Together with two local organizations, we collect Christmas wishes. The children's wishes are then listed on the "Porsche hilft" platform and our colleagues can fulfil these wishes individually. We then personally hand over the privided and lovingly wrapped gifts to the organizations.
Let's stay with wishes: Do you have a wish for the future in terms of "Porsche hilft"?
Kim-Lea Dongus: We have already been able to reach many employees with "Porsche hilft" – and yet I would like to continue to overcome possible hurdles for volunteering. I want to show our colleagues that we can find the right commitment for everyone. They don't need any previous knowledge, no project idea, just the initiative to get in touch with us. To this end, an even stronger and long-term integration of "Porsche hilft" into our day-to-day business could help us. For example, we offer team events with social commitment to interested departments through "Porsche hilft". I am firmly convinced that together with our employees, we can make important contributions to the environment and society.
In the interview series "Perspectives on Sustainability", Porsche employees talk about their specialist subject areas. The interview with Kim-Lea Dongus is part 9 of the series.