Big Brains, Big Hearts

I love working at Next IT.

I am challenged every day with new and interesting problems, and when I get stuck, I have some of the most talented people in Spokane to turn to for help. But Next IT is more than a bunch of smart people and some pretty amazing technology; we are also passionate about being involved in our local Spokane community. It’s engrained in our corporate culture: we work hard, build amazing solutions for our clients, and give back!

This year, through our extended Next IT family, we had a couple special opportunities arise. In June, we heard about a little girl named Emma who was diagnosed with DIPG, an inoperable brain tumor, so in support of her family and her treatment, we held a pancake breakfast and raised over $200.

Then, in July, the home of Associate Product Manager Aryn Sargent’s mother was burned to the ground when wildfires swept through her neighborhood in Pateros, WA. We held a sandwich-bar luncheon and invited our friends to come eat with us, and were able to raise over $1,800 to help Aryn’s mother rebuild.

Here are some more highlights from this past year.

SNAP (Spokane Neighborhood Action Program)

We hold multiple events throughout the year in support of the SNAP Riverwalk Community. In August, our back-to-school supply drive was a huge success. Along with the backpacks, calculators, and folders donated by employees, we raised over $500 to purchase additional items, and ultimately we provided 145 under-privileged children with school supplies.

And we are sure looking forward to brightening the holidays of our SNAP families, too. Last year, we set the bar pretty high and raised over $1600 for our SNAP holiday gift drive. With this, we bought three full carloads of gifts. To raise money for this year’s drive, we held a pulled-pork luncheon in November, and Product Manager Tim Seegan’s famous smoked pulled pork and homemade BBQ sauce did not disappoint. This year’s drive is in full swing, and with the $464 from the luncheon, it’s shaping up to be one for the books!

Meals on Wheels

Through hot and cold, snow and rain, this year we’ve spent over 180 hours delivering 750 hot meals to homebound seniors, many of whom live just blocks away from our Next IT offices in downtown Spokane. (The smell of sweet-and-sour chicken has permanently permeated my truck seats.)

2nd Harvest Food Bank

Our volunteers don’t quit at the end of the work day. In May, we did a food sort at 2nd Harvest Food Bank after work and had a great time together! Then in October, we handed out around 9,000 pounds of food to around 250 families at one of 2nd Harvest’s mobile food operations.

Habitat for Humanity

Twenty-two people participated in the Habitat for Humanity build in Deer Park this June. That’s over 80 hours of labor! We hung doors, cut and placed flooring, cut and painted trim, and finally answered the age-old question, “How many software engineers does it take to operate a double bevel sliding compound miter saw?” As it turns out, it just takes one.

Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery

2014 was the first year we have partnered with the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, which is a great local charity committed to providing safe and loving care for children of parents who have nowhere else to turn for help. Employees donated raffle gifts, including handmade jewelry, art, and gift baskets. Fred Brown, our “Cowboy CEO,” even kicked in some calf-roping lessons. Once the dust settled from all the raffle fun, we ended up with $671 to donate.

These Geeks Don’t Stop

In addition to the above service, we also:

  • Raised $337 for the Ronald McDonald House by recycling aluminum cans
  • Supported the Girl Scout “Troop to Troop” initiative by buying 70 boxes of Girl Scout cookies, which were sent to military personnel overseas
  • Collected and delivered 31 coats for the Coats4Kids winter coat drive
  • Donated 55 units of blood to the Inland NW Blood Center’s blood drive
  • Raised $266 for the Spokane Guilds’ School through our annual chili cook-off
  • Brightened our office by purchasing daffodils in support of the American Cancer Society

As you can tell, Next IT employees have hearts at least as big as their brains. Shannon Drews, our Director of Human Resources, says, “When I ask employees what their favorite thing is about Next IT, they almost always say the community service program and how generous the employees and company are for those in need. I have to agree with them!”