Staff Reporters
Jul 17, 2020

Photos: UM holds 'virtual' Impact Day

The company took its annual day of community service online yesterday. See how offices across APAC took part.

IPG Mediabrands agency UM held its third annual global Impact Day yesterday. More than 100 UM offices closed so that employees could volunteer time and resources to philanthropic organisations around the world. More than 2000 employees across APAC participated.

This year, the company pivoted Impact Day into a chiefly virtual experience to ensure employees could be safe while still doing some good in their communities. The event this year focused on three pillars: People, pandemic and planet.

“UM’s annual day of service represents our core values of Care and Community," Kasper Aakerlund, President of UM APAC, said in a release. "This year, these core values feel more poignant and important than ever before. Many, if not all of us across Asia know family, friends, community members or local businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With employee safety top of mind we may not be able to gather to work for our community in the same ways that we have in previous years; but virtually and individually we can absolutely still achieve a connected, collective impact in our shared ambition to strive towards a better world.”

Here, verbatim from UM, is how Asia-Pacific offices took part.

In Australia UM focused on the People pillar by supporting and promoting youth mental health, anti-racism and cultural diversity. For UM’ers the Better World initiative started with education, through ongoing all agency education sessions and sharing of resources. Transitioning to reflection focused on understanding and bias. Then flowing into Impact Day action with a workshop on UM’s roadmap to equality and a commitment to work with the communities around us. Activities included a presentation on diversity in Australia; conversations on BLM and its societal impact on Australia’s Indigenous community, as told by an Indigenous Australian; and a presentation from Batyr, a youth mental health organisation heavily supported by the media industry.

In China UM focused on the Pandemic pillar, with UM volunteers visiting the medical workers and volunteer staff working in Ruijin Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in Shanghai. They delivered them individually packed supplies of summer cooling sets such as mosquito balm, as well as writing personal note cards to show their care and respect for the front line workers fighting against the pandemic.

In Hong Kong UM are focused on Pandemic. With the third and most severe wave of COVID-19 hitting the country, community concerns are paramount. In order to support local business and low-income families, UM Hong Kong have arranged a meal-sharing scheme, and are also running a donation drive to support the ‘Gingko House銀杏館 Love Project 愛心抗疫飯盒’, an organisation that strives to provide more employment opportunities for elders who have critical economical/psychological needs.

In India UM focused on the urgent situation caused by the Pandemic. Working to the theme ‘We Are For Life – Fight Covid-19’, UM India undertook two core initiatives to raise funds for both healthcare workers and under-privileged children. In a donation drive for Dr. Raut's Immunotherapy Foundation, UM raised funds for PPE kits, masks, food and other essential items. To help make online education accessible to less privileged children during COVID-19 (who have been unable to access resources due to non-availability of technology), UM raised funds to support Antarang in providing internet data packs, smart phones, and tablets to help children continue with their education.

In Indonesia UM utilized their Instagram channel @um_jkt to hold a in ‘Live Auction For Action’ raising funds for communities impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Donated goods ranged from home utilities, fashion apparel, kitchen equipment and more to be auctioned through a livestream from UM Indonesia’s official Instagram account. All  funds raised from the auction will be donated to communities badly affected by the pandemic, such as the elderly in Panti Jompo Tresna Werdha Budi Mulia 3. Media partners also supported and promoted the campaign including the Top 5 National TV Stations: ANTV, NET TV, Trans Media, MNC media, EMTEK, and also 12 Top Radio in Indonesia : Hard Rock, I Radio, Traxx, Cosmopolitan, Brava, Jak FM, GEN FM, Kis FM, Most FM, Prambors, Delta, and Mustang FM.

In Japan UM took part in a series of acts of kindness centred on People and Pandemic. These ranged from UM’ers making heartwarming video clips to send to an old age home in Azabu where they had previously spent time for Impact Day. They also gathered messages created by employees, to be posted on https://jp.myhero.live/ a site which gathers and shares messages of encouragement to people in the midst of COVID-19. The UM team also donated food, books, clothes and other items to multiple charities including Free the Children Japan, Charibon, and Foodbank Kansai. And virtual video chats were set-up with children through the NGO YouMeWe in an online event called Global Challenge, where UM employees share their multi-culture experiences.

In the Philippines the education system was caught unprepared by the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers grappling to create content, and the lack of internet connectivity deepens the problem. PUP, a state university with subsidized tuition fees, is experiencing this challenge, making it difficult to continue their summer courses. This Impact Day UM developed an actionable plan to contribute to the learning continuity of PUP’s communications students. More than raising funds for technology and software, the agency aims to empower the communications students with the skills, knowledge, and connections that they need to thrive in today’s new world. From today’s Impact Day sessions with the Student Council President of Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) the team have established a goal and action plan for sponsoring the connectivity of 30 students in PUP for the 10-month duration of this school year.

In Malaysia UM produced and ran a virtual live-streaming charity auction, raising funds and taking pledges for organisations including Global Environment Centre; Malaysian Mental Health Association; Malaysian Red Crescent Society; MERCY Malaysia and The Lost Food Project. UM’ers contributed hard goods and services pledges related to People, Planet and Pandemic such as cooking a meal, buying groceries, cleaning up garbage, and sewing face shield for school children. Staff, vendors and partners took place in the online charity auction live bidding with all proceeds donated to the aforementioned NGO’s.

In Singapore 80 UM volunteers took part in a collective of micro activities that were meaningful to the individuals and beneficial to the community. The Pandemic and Planet activities ranged from supporting foundations that catered to those hardest hit by COVID-19 including Singapore’s elderly population, and migrant worker community, to supporting local business and hawker centres with social media support and awareness, to neighbourhood and waterway clean-ups.

In South Korea UM centred their activities on People and Planet. With UM’ers organizing a collective drive to donate to their freecyclable/unused products to Goodwillstore, a social corporate for disabled people. Goodwillstore also provided all UM South Korea staff with and online Impact Day induction on charity and what they do to help and promote the disabled and save the planet.

In Taiwan UM have focused Planet, by organizing an Impact Day technology recycling drive to collect and donate unused technology to public welfare, including 21 sets of computer screens donated by the office team to Bethany Children’s Home which provide a sanctuary for the underprivileged children and youth of Taiwan.

In Thailand our UM team were focused on prosocial behaviour for the Pandemic pillar. In the face of COVID-19, Thailand is experiencing blood shortages with a 50% decline in blood donations. Our UM Thailand team gave back to the community by donating blood at The Thai Red Cross Society. With the goal of setting a good example and encouraging Thai people to spread the philanthropy; love and care to help create a Better World, all UM’ers complied with COVID-19 precautions and distancing measures as well as showing the power of unity by wearing red Masks and UM T-shirts.

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