Principal Volunteer Network

40 Years of the Principal Volunteer Network Doing Good

Formed in 1972, The Principal Volunteer Network is the oldest corporate volunteer program in Iowa. The program facilitates thousands of hours of employee volunteerism each year, with much of that work done on employees’ own time.

Committed to promoting volunteerism throughout the company, the network is made up of employees from the Principal Financial Group® who actively seek to contribute and improve quality of life in their communities.

The dedication of The Principal® to employee volunteerism is so well-known that it’s a factor in some people’s decisions to work for the company. Julie Kent, an application analyst for The Principal, says, “I’ve always been really passionate about giving back. One of reasons I decided to work at The Principal is because they have such a huge footprint in our community. The company does a lot of good here, and as an employee, I can be part of that.”

Making it Easy to Volunteer

Principal Volunteer Network is Iowa's oldest corporate volunteer program. It coordinates employee volunteer events throughout the year, and employees of The Principal respond enthusiastically.

To encourage employee volunteerism, The Principal offers a benefit called Volunteer Time Off (VTO). Through VTO, employees can use eight hours of paid work time per year to volunteer in the community for nonprofit organizations, such as schools or places of worship.

The benefit gives employees the chance to use their skills to help others in need. In 2012, approximately 4,000 employees logged almost 26,000 hours of VTO.

“My daughter's school has a ‘No Child Left Inside’ day each spring,” says Curtis Sanders, a senior compliance in our El Dorado Hills, Calif., office “There are 20-30 learning stations around the school grounds that teach something about nature—everything from astrology to zoology. Parents volunteer to work the learning sites and provide demonstrations to the classes.

“One year,” Sanders continues, “I taught the students how to create worm composting bins. Another year I helped students learn to identify various animal tracks and know what to do if they came across these animals on a hike. It’s fun to work with the kids and see their excitement at learning new things.”

Other ways employees regularly use their VTO include:

  • Habitat for Humanity. Nearly 180 employees participated in two Habitat for Humanity projects in 2012: Rock the Block, which helps low-income residents with needed home repairs, safety enhancements, accessibility improvements and beautification; and a home build, creating a new home for a family in need.
  • Des Moines Days of Action. In 2012, 450 employees in central Iowa participated in this program to meet the evolving needs of the community and company workforce. The program features approximately 20 projects that allow volunteers to help out at various times throughout the year in a number of causes, including those relating to children, the elderly, the homeless, the environment and animals. The projects are selected each year by the all-employee Days of Action committee, with input from employees of The Principal.

The Principal Volunteer Network strives to offer a diverse set of volunteer opportunities. Employees can identify volunteer opportunities in their community by visiting the volunteer section of the intranet. They can also opt to have volunteer information sent directly to their e-mail.


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