People magazine today named Rackspace to its “Companies That Care” list, which highlights “the top U.S. companies caring for their communities, their employees and the world.”
Rackspace ranked 25 in this second annual list, which People compiled with Great Place to Work, a workplace analytics and consulting company, based on surveys representing more than 4.5 million employees at 1,000 companies across the country. Employees rate how their companies treat them on a day-to-day basis, plus offer personal stories about the difference their workplaces have made in their lives and communities.
“We’re deeply honored to have earned a spot on this list,” said Rackspace CEO Joe Eazor, “and all the credit goes to our incredible Rackers, who have embedded volunteerism deep into Rackspace’s unique culture. In the year I’ve spent here, I have been moved time and again by our employees’ commitment to make the world around them a better place. They really take ‘Rack Gives Back’ to heart.”
Rack Gives Back is Rackspace’s employee-led volunteer organization. It began with the very creation of the company 20 years ago, as early Rackers sought to do some good in their San Antonio community.
Today, Rack Gives Back serves as a global resource, serving the neighborhoods where we live, work and play, connecting Rackers with opportunities to share their time and talent to others, whether through mentoring in nearby schools, food drives or rebuilding after natural disasters. In 2017, Rackers devoted 27,411 volunteer hours through Rack Gives Back (Rackers may use their company-sponsored volunteer time off on any passion or cause of their choosing, not only through Rack Gives Back).
Rackers around the United States donated more than 950 hours last year to feed 2,300 families through our annual holiday food drive. It’s the biggest Thanksgiving food drive in San Antonio:
“To volunteer is to be a part of something bigger than yourself and make a positive impact on the people and community around you,” said Megan Jungman, senior corporate counsel and a member of the Rack Gives Back board. “You cannot measure the power of paying it forward.”
Jungman is part of a 30-person legal team at Rackspace who together volunteered 400 hours last year, including the creation of a diaper drive after Hurricane Harvey that brought more than 11,000 diapers to the Texas Diaper Bank and grateful families across the region.
In 2016, Rackspace’s Week of Volunteering went global; last year’s theme was Families Helping Families, and Rackers volunteered more than 1,000 hours in that week alone. We also deepened our commitment to Hour of Code in the schools surrounding Rackspace headquarters.
Mentioned in the People honor, and related to Rack Gives Back, is the Rackspace Foundation, a separate nonprofit formed in 2009, under the leadership of then-Rackspace chairman and CEO Graham Weston, and which is now completely funded by Rackers through payroll deductions. Last year, Rackers donated more than $680,000 to the Foundation, which offers holistic support for students in the “Magnificent Seven” schools adopted by the foundation in the immediate neighborhood around Rackspace headquarters in San Antonio.
“Nine years and more than $4 million dollars invested later, we continue to provide out-of-school time and enrichment programs for our ‘Magnificent Seven’ schools,” said Rackspace Director of Community Affairs Cara Nichols. “Almost 10,000 kids have had access to these programs, and we see the results through our students’ success.”
Not all of Rackers’ efforts are outwardly directed. Support for colleagues is always swift and encompassing. Rackers have helped rebuild colleagues’ homes, found organ donors and raised money for the kinds of life emergencies that could hit any one of us. They’ve rallied around those who have lost children, had a spouse fall ill or been injured themselves.
Rackers also spend their time and talents to create the kind of workplace that allows them to bring their whole selves to their jobs every day. Many do so through Racker Resource Groups, employee-led groups that provide members with opportunities to grow their networks, be mentored, supported, and practice leadership.
That includes RackParents, whose advocacy helped lead to the launch of Rackspace’s Healthy Families program. Two years later, Rackspace was named a best workplace for parents. Similar advocacy by other Racker Resource Groups has led the company to be named a top workplace for LGBTQ equality and for veterans, Hispanic women and millennials.
Laura Sue D’Annunzio, Rackspace’s recently appointed chief people officer, says Rackspace’s culture of giving is one of the deepest and most genuine she’s seen in her career. She was just six weeks into her tenure when the company was named to Forbes’ Best Midsize Employer list.
“Rackers truly are fanatical in everything they do,” she said, “and that includes giving back to their communities and taking care of one another. I am grateful to be part of such an organization, and will work to protect this culture as we continue to grow and plan for the future.”