To help strengthen the communities it serves, Christiana Care this year began offering a community service benefit to its caregivers who volunteer at charitable, non-profit organizations.

One caregiver, Raquel Spencer, of the Risk Management team, used the benefit to volunteer at her church to pursue several goals, one being a project that partnered with a New Castle County Book Drive to donate 1,000 children’s books to families with pre-kindergarten children.

“We also visited a nursing home in Wilmington and played games and had a time of singing and reflection on MLK and the work he did,” Spencer said.

“Our church participates in community service activities throughout the year and it is so wonderful that Christiana Care values volunteerism enough to institute that benefit for employees,” she said. “Hopefully it will encourage others to volunteer and not worry too much about using up vacation days to do it.”

“As Delaware’s largest private employer, with a mission to serve our neighbors as partners in their health, Christiana Care continuously looks for new ways to make a positive impact on our community,” said Janice E. Nevin, M.D., MPH, Christiana Care president and chief executive officer. “Our mission statement, The Christiana Care Way, starts with two poignant words, ‘We serve.’”

The benefit kicked off at Christiana Care to coincide with Martin Luther King’s birthday in January.

“As Dr. King said, ‘Everybody can be great – because everybody can serve.’” Dr. Nevin said. “This new benefit enables our caregivers – nearly 12,000 strong – to make a personal impact to achieve health equity and overcome health disparities in our community.”

The new benefit offers full-time, full-time flex and part-time caregivers who have completed 90 days of service up to eight hours of paid time off each year to participate in volunteer activities. These hours are separate and in addition to accrued paid time off hours.

“Guided by our values of Excellence and Love, the Community Service Benefit is consistent with our commitment to anticipate the needs of others and help with compassion and generosity,” said Christopher J. Cowan, M.Ed., FABC, senior vice president of Human Resources. “By serving together and partnering with our neighbors in need, we can make a positive impact in many areas of our community.

“This new benefit also reinforces Christiana Care as a great place to work,” said Cowan.

This year Forbes magazine ranked Christiana Care the No. 1 employer in Delaware in its list of “America’s Best Employers by State.” Christiana Care also was ranked for the first time as a best employer in the Philadelphia region in The Philadelphia Inquirer’s 2019 Top Workplaces survey. In 2018, Christiana Care was recognized as one of the Top Workplaces in Delaware for the 15th consecutive year, in a News Journal survey.

Christiana Care this year also was the first health system in Delaware to announce it is benefiting its workforce by increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, effective February 1.