At Willis, Over $400,000 Streams in for Haiti
Relief via the Web
Global Employees Linked by a Cause and an Online App
March 30, 2010 06:17 PM Eastern Daylight Time
NEW YORK--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Haiti is a place where Willis Group Holdings plc (NYSE:WSH),
the global insurance broker, does little or no business. Among its 17,000 employees worldwide, only one was
known to come from Haiti. Still, it didn’t deter the company’s Associates from responding generously when the
January 12 earthquake devastated the island nation. All it took was an urgent appeal from the CEO and an online
tool to allow instant, easy giving across every time zone. And it didn’t hurt that Willis was ready to match the
individual response, dollar for dollar.
When the Willis Cause for Haiti Campaign concluded on March 1 after a five-week run, a total of $207,628.73 had
been collected, the equivalent of a $12 donation from each person employed by the company around the world. In
fact, 2,075 employees participated, making their donations at all hours via a special web site the company set up to
handle the extraordinary response. Adding in the company’s match, the total rises to roughly $407,000, or $81,400
per week to a list of several dozen charities with “boots on the ground” engaged in real time assistance to Haiti.
It started with a phone call. On January 14, Willis Chairman and CEO, Joe Plumeri, was in London watching two
days of news coverage from Haiti. He called the company’s director of human resources, Susan Gunn, and pledged
corporate assistance. But Plumeri also wanted employees eager to help to have a means to act on their instincts.
Over the weekend, the special web site was set up, and on the afternoon of January 19, Plumeri emailed everyone at
Willis to say the site was live.
“The response started on the West Coast, where it was late morning, and made its way West around the world. As
people got to work the next day, they read, clicked and gave,” said Plumeri. “Our global presence is predo