During the Shelter-in-place orders, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the notion of Ocean Tomo Outside has taken on new meaning. While Ocean Tomo’s active support for community programs, across the US and globally, continues, our recent focus is directed to helping those most in need among our immediate office city communities. Examples of our contributions over the last several months include both financial and volunteer support during this unprecedented time of need.
Ocean Tomo matched employee contributions to local food relief organizations in Chicago, Houston, and San Francisco. Donations were directed to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Northern Illinois Food Bank, Kids’ Meals of Houston and the Alameda County Community Food Bank
Molly Keelan, Senior Director Client Services, Chicago Office
Through the Chicago Women in IP (ChiWIP), an organization I co-founded, we support My Block, My Hood, My City and their mission to, among other things, provide opportunities to underprivileged youth and to educate them on STEM, entrepreneurism, and more. ChiWIP stands in solidarity with our Black members, colleagues, friends, loved ones, and neighbors in the movement for justice and change to eradicate systemic, institutionalized racism. As an organization dedicated to the promotion and success of all women in a field dominated by men, ChiWIP recognizes that Black women face even higher hurdles to success and advancement than their white peers. Silence is not an option for our organization, and we commit to doing our part to overcome this deeply rooted injustice.
Christopher Bruce, Associate, Transaction Advisory Practice, Chicago Office
In January, I registered to become a Sighted Volunteer on the Be My Eyes platform. Be My Eyes connects blind and low-vision users with a network of sighted volunteers, leveraging video conferencing to solve everyday tasks. Since joining, I have helped users coordinate colors for outfits, read food or medication labels, and find mislaid items. Volunteering requires only one or two minutes every few weeks when I get a call, but it is highly rewarding any time I can help.
Cate Elsten, Managing Director, Expert Testimony Practice, San Francisco Office
My HUGE volunteer activity is not directly related to the pandemic, but we’ve struggled to keep things going. In 2018 I founded a US charity, Semper Fidelis Domus US (d/b/a Always Loyal Dog Rescue), to partner with German and UK volunteers to rescue and rehome Romanian street dogs. We started real operations in August 2019 when we received our IRS charity status approval letter. Since that time, we have rehomed over 90 dogs from the desperately overcrowded Semper Fidelis Domus shelter near Bucharest. Navigating the various EU pandemic regulations to keep getting dogs to other countries has been a challenge. Starting a charity has been an educational experience that has made me appreciate all the more the charities we support here in the States. I’m currently struggling to figure out how to set up a website to start broadscale fundraising.
I also started serving on the board of Wonderdog Rescue here in San Francisco just before the SIP orders began. Wonderdog is a terrific organization that takes dogs – often older or medically challenged dogs – from “kill” shelters near the Bay Area, places them with foster families, and finds them homes.
Kristi Stathis, Chief Marketing Officer, Chicago Office
As Chairman of the Children’s Research Fund, a non-profit dedicated to funding innovative pediatric medical research in the lab, in the hospital, and in the community, I had the opportunity to help facilitate the donation of more than 1750 baby meals distributed to 110 Chicagoland families in May and June. The gift was made possible by a Children’s Research Fund donor, the Founder of Lil Gourmet, Shibani Baluja.
Since its inception, Ocean Tomo Outside has supported organizations focused on:
- Improving diversity within the IP community through the AIPLA
- Providing STEM education to elementary and middle school students through the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame
- Introducing inventorship to elementary school-aged girls through the Girl Scout IP Patch
- Providing sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities through Special Olympics
- Facilitating technology transfer for the betterment of mankind through the Invent for Humanity Empowering female entrepreneurs to create sustainable enterprises in some of the most remote communities in rural Africa through our Women’s Leadership Group partnership with Solar Sister
- Among others
Everyone at Ocean Tomo is part of a fundraising match program seeking to encourage community and charitable efforts by our employees to support individual work/life balance further.