For Hasbro President John Frascotti, the company’s annual Global Day of Joy is his favorite of the year.
“I think that’s true for so many of our employees,” he said.
He’s referencing the company-wide day of service in December, which strives to bring, well, joy to children and their families across the globe. The Hasbro HQ in Pawtucket becomes a North Pole workshop and command center, and Hasbro teams from Ireland to Australia and everywhere in between participate in acts of kindness throughout the day.
The program is in its fifth year, and typically involves 93 percent of Hasbro’s global employee force stepping in for duty. Usually it’s just illness or holiday travel that keeps the other seven percent from participating, Frascotti said.
In Rhode Island alone, an estimated 1,500 employees participate in “Mission Kindness” scavenger hunts throughout the community, paint murals, or wrap and deliver Christmas gifts to every elementary student in the Pawtucket, Providence and Central Falls school districts — more than 17,000 students. In all, Hasbro donates 1.5 million of its toys to 250 children-focused organizations across the globe, with a price tag of more than $14 million. This year’s Day of Joy was on Dec. 14.
While the holidays and the 2017 event have come and gone, it is ultimately season-specific programming that speaks to the heart of what the organization is about, Frascotti said. “Hasbro has always been a very philanthropic company, from the days that our founder founded this company and up to the current day,” he continued. “An important part of being a citizen of the world is giving back and improving people’s situation. The purpose of our company [is to] make the world a better place for children and their families.”
“It’s really one day, but it’s emblematic of an organization that takes philanthropy and community services really seriously.”
Each year, the event has grown bigger and included more programming, Frascotti added, all geared toward positively impacting communities.
And impact they do. “When you give a kid a toy — even if it’s a simple toy — a lot of these children have a strong reaction,” he said. “Not a lot of people in their lives are doing this for them.”
He told a story of how one year, Hasbro employees camped out at a gas station and offered to pay for people’s fuel. When dialoguing with a potential recipient, they discovered he was a minister of a nearby church for 50 folks whom he said “were not going to have much of a Christmas.” The team got the church’s address and donated toys and games to attendees’ families. “Acts of kindness go a long way for people,” Frascotti said. “It’s really one day, but it’s emblematic of an organization that takes philanthropy and community services really seriously.”
It’s not the only time of the year that Hasbro is focused on service. It has a company volunteer program called Team Hasbro, which allows employees to take four paid hours of time off a month to serve with children-benefitting organizations.
And earlier this year, the company launched a new initiative called “Be Fearless Be Kind,” a program that encourages elementary kids to embrace empathy. “Being where we are in the world this year, I can’t think of anything more important than developing those competencies,” he said.
Hasbro’s work has garnered the company recognition, earning the No. 1 spot on Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens list, as well as a spot on the Civic 50’s Most Community Minded Companies, its fifth consecutive appearance in the ranking.
While the recogniztion is nice, “that’s not the reason we do it,” Frascotti said. “We think about our purpose, the nature of our products and experiences. We really are about making the world better by bringing fun and laughter.”
And ultimately, Global Day of Joy and Hasbro’s other service initiatives serves as a sort of role model. “Global Day of Joy is not only a great experience for our employees, [but it also] sets a great example for children,” Frascotti said.
Tune in tomorrow for our feature on the behind-the-scenes technology that makes Global Day of Joy possible.