Listen Learn Care Foundation
The Foundation has evolved from a disaster-relief Foundation to an organization guided by the principles of Listen Learn Care. The Foundation is committed to making a difference with children, families and communities throughout the world.
- Listen to the needs of the community and continually seek out ways to serve children, families, organizations, and society;
- Learn new approaches to developing innovative, collaborative, and sustainable solutions to pressing social, economic, and environmental issues and concerns;
- Care by sharing knowledge and expertise, and by creating, supporting, and implementing a wide range of philanthropic programs and initiatives that make a difference in our world.
The Difference Maker! Movement’s priorities, which form our Caring Agenda, include:
- Equipping children with tools to succeed in school and in life;
- Engaging individuals who desire to make a difference in the world through donations, volunteerism, and information sharing;
- Enhancing the capabilities of nonprofit organizations by providing the expertise, resources, and collaboration they need to increase their capacity while becoming more efficient and effective;
- Partnering with businesses of all sizes to develop and implement philanthropic programs that engage their employees and deliver measurable results; and
- Helping communities prepare for disasters, and recover and rebuild afterwards.
We adhere to moral and ethical principles in all of our decision-making, actions and communication. We seek optimum knowledge to make sound and unimpaired choices. We build trust and confidence through the exercise of integrity.
We acknowledge and assume responsibility for our actions, decisions and policies. We accept our obligation to accurately communicate and explain our choices and their resulting outcomes.
We aspire to exercise originality, creativity, ingenuity, inspiration, and inventiveness in our thought processes.
We highly regard and value diversity in perspectives and opinions. We admire everyone who shares our Vision and Mission.
With a sense of unity and enthusiasm for our shared interests, we greatly appreciate everyone who participates in our journey and contributes to the well being of all by being a Difference Maker!
In 1994, the Foundation, then known as the Office Depot Disaster Relief Foundation, was created in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Andrew, as the company’s South Florida associates and surrounding communities struggled to get their lives and businesses back to normal. Thereafter, between 1994 and 2006, the Foundation continued to assist many other associates throughout the country similarly impacted by natural disasters.
Entering an exciting era
In 2006, it was decided that the then the company’s community relations functions would roll into the Foundation, and it was renamed the Office Depot Foundation to reflect its expanded mission.
At this time, the Foundation adopted a set of strategic priorities to guide its work and demonstrate its commitment to local communities around the world. These priorities were known as the “5 X 5 Program” because it encompassed five key ways for the Foundation to carry out its mission – “Listen Learn Care” – for the next five years.
The Foundation’s priorities focused on helping children succeed in school; enabling nonprofit organizations to become more efficient and effective; assisting people and businesses in preparing for disasters and recovering and rebuilding afterwards; strengthening local communities through grants, product donations and volunteerism; and encouraging community development through entrepreneurship and economic innovation.
During these five years, the Foundation successfully enhanced existing initiatives and conceived, planned, and implemented significant new programs that unquestionably made a positive impact on children, families and communities. Having achieved its objectives through the 5 X 5 Program, the Foundation developed a new set of strategic priorities to guide it for the next five years – The Caring Agenda.
Introducing “The Difference Maker! Movement”
In 2017, the Foundation initiated a very important new program − the Difference Maker! Movement. This program is designed to assist individuals and nonprofit and for-profit businesses to meaningfully contribute to the well-being of our community. The creation of the Difference Maker! Movement is in keeping with the evolution of the impactful, important, and award-winning programs developed by the Foundation over the last 10 years.
Making a Difference
- The Foundation is remarkable as a nonprofit in that it serves children, individuals, charitable organizations, and businesses with the common objective of maximizing their potential to be difference makers.
- While there are numerous nonprofits that benefit children, help individuals support causes they are most passionate about, provide capacity building and resources to charitable organizations, and assist businesses with their philanthropic activities, the Foundation is unusual in that it does all four.
- The Foundation’s comprehensive platform offers potential donors the opportunity to accomplish multiple goals through a single nonprofit.
- The Foundation adheres to the principles of its mission of – Listen Learn Care – in all of its programs and interactions with children, individuals, nonprofit and for-profit businesses. The common threads are that the Foundation assesses needs, researches solutions, and collaborates with partners rather than simply providing short-term aid.
- The Foundation has the expertise needed to “teach organizations how to fish” (rather than just “giving them a fish”) and the hands-on experience required to successfully fish with them.
Mary Wong, President, Listen Learn Care Foundation
Mary Wong was named President of the Office Depot Foundation (now the Listen Learn Care Foundation) in 2006 after serving as Director of Community Relations for Office Depot since 2000. She serves on the boards of the United Nations Women’s Committee and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center, where she co-chairs the Business Disaster Assistance and Recovery Program. She is a former member of the White House Disaster Assistance Recovery and Volunteerism Committee and served on the board of directors of the Epilepsy Foundation of America and Feed the Children.
In 2015, Mary was recognized as Food For The Poor’s Ambassador for the Poor and was honored at a special Back to School Breakfast by the American Association for Caregiving Youth. In December of 2015, she was named Entrepreneur of the Year by South Palm Beach SCORE, and in February 2016, she received the Emerald Award for Global Citizenship from the Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida. Mary was also named the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s 2012 Champion for Drug-Free Kids and was one of America’s Top 20 Women in Philanthropy and Social Innovation, conferred by Michael Chatman, host of #whyigive on Twitter.
An avid gardener and lover of creatures and crafts of all kinds, Mary is always buzzing with ideas to make a difference. She is a dedicated supporter of animal rescue organizations and a devoted dog owner.
In total, Mary was with Office Depot more than 22 years, serving first as a store manager in Minnesota and then as a district manager in Chicago.
Board of Directors
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