UM takes a day off to pursue philanthropy under ‘Global Impact Day’ initiative

Media agency UM voluntarily shut 80 offices for a day, to give employees time to volunteer with philanthropic organisations and causes.

Offices across the region participated in the initiative which saw them working with several institutions and non governmental organisations on causes ranging from feeding the underprivileged to cleaning up beaches and rugby stadiums.

The announcement:

UM, the global marketing and media agency network of IPG Mediabrands, today announced the launch of its second annual Global Impact Day. More than 80 UM offices worldwide closed their doors for the day as employees volunteered at philanthropic organisations around the world. Originally launched in 2016 under UM’s corporate social responsibility initiative, Better World, the agency’s annual day of service represents its core values of Care and Community. 

The Better World platform unites the family of UM offices under a single umbrella to inspire each other, share best practices, and create connections across borders that lead to a Better World. Over a span of 36 hours and six continents, 5,000 UM volunteers will gather within their respective communities to restore parks, walk rescue dogs, paint orphanage walls, plant urban gardens, collect litter, visit the elderly, feed the homeless, donate school supplies and more. 

“Impact Day is one of my favorite days of the year, and I am proud to be part of a global family that is committed to sharing our time, energy and love with communities in need around the world”, said Daryl Lee, Global CEO, UM. “From preparing adults to re-enter the workforce to restoring schools, facilities and parks, the inspiring projects we undertake are a critical part of how we collectively build a better tomorrow, today.” 

Kasper Aakerlund, President UM APAC commented, “The collective force and sheer power of goodwill that is felt from our UM teams across the Asia-Pacific region when they unite to focus on helping create a better world each Impact Day never ceases to blow me away.” 

He continues, “This Impact Day I joined our team in China, cleaning the shoreline to help mitigate the detrimental effect to the environment and local wildlife. As the stories and photos of local initiatives poured in across Asia I felt incredibly proud to be a part of this incredible network of people striving to reach out and make a difference where it matters most in their communities.” 

UM employees will participate in more than 70 projects across the globe this Impact Day, across the Asia Pacific region more than 2000+ UM’ers volunteered their time to work for and with their local communities. Their activities included:

In Australia UM partnered with the Wesley Mission for a second year running to deliver ‘Christmas in July’. Eight groups of UM’ers were deployed across various locations to volunteer their time and spirit to bringing smiles to those less fortunate. The clients Wesley Mission covers are aged care, disability and homelessness.

In China UM partnered with the Rendu Ocean NPO Development Centre and Ocean Conservancy Program to organize an ‘International Coastal Cleanup’ which saw the UM teams working across the Shanghai coast collecting and disposing of trash.

In Hong Kong UM partnered with Food Angel, a food rescue and food assistance program launched by Bo Charity Foundation with the mission of “Waste Not, Hunger Not, With Love”. The program rescues edible surplus food from different sectors of the food industry that would otherwise be disposed of as waste. Following strict safety protocols, the rescued food items were then prepped and prepared by UM’ers as nutritious hot meals and redistributed to serve the underprivileged communities in Hong Kong.

In India UM adopted Knowledge Sharing as their over-arching theme for Impact Day. They focused their efforts on educating underprivileged men and women cleanliness, sanitation and hygiene. Teams of UM’ers visited 28 Government run and independent women shelters across Mumbai, Delhi & Bengaluru. In Mumbai, they also collaborated with a renowned NGO called Salaam Mumbai, and in addition to this visited 21 schools on Impact Day to talk to the students, provide insight into how ads are made via the Media Academy, and counsel on what to study if they eventually choose advertising or marketing as a profession.

In Indonesia UM organised a special volunteer project to an elderly facility/nursing home ‘Elderly Social Institution Tresna Budi Mulia’ in Jakarta. In this home more than 70% of the residents are homeless elderly who have been rescued by local government social services from the road in Jakarta. UM Indonesia organized for the 10 finalist of KDI (Kontes Dangdut Indonesia – a popular dangdut talent search program in MNCTV) to perform and entertain the elderly residents through a selection of nostalgic and hit songs. The UM team spent a full day interacting and caring for residents in the home, delivering motivational conversation and gifts which were prepared by the whole UM Indonesia team.

In Japan UM planned and delivered an Afterschool Club with organised activities ranging from craft, cooking classes, indoor and outdoor sports, and even yoga and meditation for the children in their community. All of the sessions were carried out by UMers themselves, and the full day culminated with the UM volunteers cleaning up a rugby field stadium.

In the Philippines UM visited the Headstart Learning Center, which is situated in a densely populated community by the garbage dump-site of Payatas Quezon City. They held a “visioning” art workshop with the Youth Artists of Headstart, facilitated by the Professor of Fine Arts of the University of the Philippines, Mr. Amos Manlangit. The workshop allowed the children to express their vision for a better future and a better world. Taking inspiration from their art pieces, UM arranged a fund-raising exhibition with the children’s artwork and profiles displayed at Centuria Medical in Makati City. The fund raising-goal is be able to convert the empty field at Headstart Learning Center into a soccer field by the end of this year, and provide them with all the materials to play the sport.

In Malaysia UM worked in conjunction with the Global Environment Centre on The River of Life (ROL) Public Outreach Programme, a seven-year project to transform the Klang River into a vibrant and liveable waterfront with high economic value. The program aims at fostering meaningful partnerships and improve attitudes and behaviors to reduce pollution. At 8am, over 100 UM volunteers spent the day at Kampung Kasipillay, cleaning the riverside and the surrounding walking trek that is used daily by the local community. To beautify the area and to create awareness of the ROL project, a unique design was devised by the Ensemble team (a UM Studio’s company), and a large wall mural was painted using paints sponsored by client Nippon Paint to give the space a complete makeover.

In Singapore over 100 UM volunteers spent the day at the Ang Mo Kio Community Centre having collected donations to source and package food ration hampers for the underprivileged elderly. Residents in this part of Ang Mo Kio are aged, often living in one-room rental flats, and surviving on government aided public assistance schemes. UM Singapore invited the 100 residents to a lunch buffet followed by an afternoon of interaction, games and activities.

In South Korea UM visited the Chongeum Rehabilitation Center for hearing impared/disabled people, where they undertook volunteer education to best understand how to communicate and provide help, followed by a program of providing assistance and support.

In Taiwan UM worked with an NGO to host a “Give Your Love to Africa” initiative, collecting and donating shoes, school bags, and clothes to children in need in Africa. A ceremony was conducted to commemorate the day of being able to give back and work towards a #UMBetterWorld.

In Thailand UM planned a ‘Go-Green’ Mangrove planting activity at Bang Krachao, a man-made island formed by a bend in the Chao Phraya River. The traditionally agricultural island due to its green spaces and geographical shape, has been referred to as the “green lung” in the heart of bustling Bangkok. 

UM employees across the globe will be sharing their Impact Day experience on social media using hashtags #UMBetterWorld and #UMImpactDay.


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