Want to feel inspired? Read what motivates Green America’s new member, Mr. Deepak Panjwani, to volunteer and contribute to our mission of a sustainable and just planet.

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Green America has a new member who has put forward a great deal of time and money to our mission. That person is Mr. Deepak Panjwani. We were fortunate enough to catch up with him and ask him a few questions about his previous volunteer work and what he thinks about Green America.

Green America: Can you tell us about Bloomberg’s volunteer program? How does it work?

Deepak Panjwani: Bloomberg’s Volunteer program is where Bloomberg L.P. Employees working for the private company can engage with Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropic initiatives in his own foundation known as Bloomberg Philanthropies {www.bloomberg.org}. Throughout the year, employees are encouraged to volunteer at various events that Bloomberg Philanthropies (which is referred to in the company as BBOB which stands for Best of Bloomberg) promotes. BBOB actively gets involved in local communities where there are employee offices. They connect active employees with the charitable organizations that need volunteers to assist with various events. Bloomberg encourages its employees to volunteer a minimum of 25 hours in a year. Once an employee reaches that 25 hour milestone, BBOB will donate $2,500 to a nonprofit of their choice. This is capped at 50 hours, where Bloomberg will donate $5,000. We are given a vast extensive list of “approved” non-profit organizations located all over the world. Throughout the year, we can also submit suggestions to add new charitable organizations to this approved list. If and when an employee reaches 50 volunteer hours, options are given to split their donation into 2 organizations, both organizations receiving $2,500.

GA: Did you volunteer all of your 25 hours at one non-profit or various non-profits? Which non-profits did you volunteer at?

DP: I volunteered for 50 hours this year and was involved with several different charitable organizations, some that are recognized globally and some that are specifically serving the needs of individuals in my area. To name a few, I volunteered with the Make a Wish Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Eden Autism, Children’s Home Society, National Junior Tennis and Learning, Boys and Girls Club of America, and various local soup kitchens and animal shelters.

GA: What was one of your favorite volunteer experiences?

DP: It is extremely difficult to pick just one. This past December, I had the pleasure of working with a local animal shelter that brought adorable puppies and kittens to Rutgers University. We set up a “De-Stressing” area in a multi-purpose room in one of the student centers where college students could come and play with these adorable creatures in fenced enclosures. This was done for the benefit of the college students in the hopes of being able to relax and ease the heavy stress that exists during final exams while also providing exposure and awareness to these shelters that are looking for new pet owners who would want adopt these amazing animals. Another great experience was through the Make-a-Wish Foundation where I volunteered at one of their headquarters. The organization was having their annual summer BBQ/Picnic where all the families that had had a wish granted in the past year brought their friends and families for a fun themed event. Most of the volunteer staff was Bloomberg employees and the food and gifts were all provided through Bloomberg.

This event was profoundly moving because I was able to see the direct impact Make-a-Wish has on these children and their entire family. The wishes they are able to provide, through a long process of getting to know the children and helping them find their wish, provides them with hope, excitement, and a much needed break from thinking about hospital visits and treatments.

GA: Can you tell us how you first heard about Green America?

DP: I discovered Green America and the work that you do while I was researching the extensive list of approved charitable organizations that Bloomberg provides us. Employees are able to filter the extensive list based on region, causes, and various other criteria. Once I found your organization, I was redirected to your website where I found out a lot more about your mission and what Green America is all about.

GA: When and how did you first become concerned about “green” issues?

DP: Since I was an adolescent, I have always been keen on and aware of the environment. However, until recent years, I was not fully aware or cognizant of how destructive we, the human race, are on such a large scale throughout the world. The way humans currently live is extremely unsustainable. There is far too much excess and waste and far too much inequality in terms of living essentials throughout the world. After watching several documentaries and looking into the issue further, it became abundantly clear that we are taking advantage of resources and biodiversity that is not renewable. If we as 2014-09-06 10.04.36individuals do not do something to change this, we will lose countless, amazing species, plants, and natural remedies that this world has to offer. We simply have to live in harmony with our environment. While this is easier said than done, I believe it is attainable. We are currently burning energy in a way that creates such destruction and harm to our environment. I know there are scientists and other innovative inventors out there that have come up with alternative ways of energy or “free energy.” Unfortunately, this information is being suppressed by those that benefit from nonrenewable energy sources (oil, coal, nuclear, etc.) that we currently depend on. This is unsustainable and counter intuitive when it comes down to the human race being able to Thrive for centuries to come.

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