Costco is known to provide good values to its members and as a good place to work for its employees. Costco has also pledged to give back to the communities it serves—and not to build market share, but because it’s the right thing to do.
The entire corporation got behind the fund drive for the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN). Employees encouraged members to buy paper balloons and print their names on them—with all proceeds going to CMN. To promote more balloon purchases, a Seattle employee even wore them while working! And he alone was responsible for $10,000 in donations. Altogether, more than $11.5 million was raised this year through Costco’s employees and members.
Costco launched a company-wide Volunteer Reading Program in 1998. Interested staff are trained to tutor children who need extra help developing better reading skills. They meet weekly with their students, who range from grade school to high school age.
At Costco headquarters outside Seattle, WA, the employee-run Volunteer Center acts as a clearinghouse for identifying local needs, then promoting and tracking volunteer opportunities. The center has registered about 300 Costco employees. Each month, local charities can present their programs to the group, which finds ways to help. From soup kitchens to Toys for Tots; Outdoors for All to Gilda’s Club, volunteers from Costco are giving back in big ways.
The Costco Backpack Program is a nationwide program, started in 1993. Each warehouse identifies a local school to “adopt.” Employees then distribute new backpacks filled with supplies to each student in a chosen grade. Since 2005, more than 225,000 backpacks have been given away each year by Costco in the U.S.
Individual Costco employees also find their own ways to give back, from taking bakery items to the homeless to holding disc golf tournaments to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters. In Alaska, the Anchorage Costco warehouse manager helped the Alaska Air National Guard as they delivered Christmas gifts to needy families in remote villages. And in Maryland a Costco employee helps knit items for infants, soldiers and nursing home residents.
These are just a few of they way Costco and its employees volunteer in their communities, making them better for everyone!