2018 has been a busy year for us with so many exciting things happening– including the launch of our new charitable foundation, DirectEmployers Serves (DE Serves)! So, why start a new charitable nonprofit with a primary focus to help the homeless? It may seem odd for an organization whose mission is to help federal contractors with their OFCCP compliance needs but the truth is, that’s exactly what we’re doing. Let’s start at the beginning.

DirectEmployers Association is comprised of over 900 Member companies­ from small, regional companies to large, national organizations who all are striving to diversify their hiring efforts. Not only is it a regulatory obligation for those who are government contractors, these companies also know it is a good business decision to hire individuals with disabilities, veterans/military and minorities–and studies show that having a diverse workforce impacts the bottom line favorably. A recent study by Mckinsey & Company states, “Our research finds that companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians.”1

Now, this is the part where our story comes full circle.

Statistics show that there are currently over 550,000 homeless people in the United States–more than 292,000 of whom are children and over 40,000 who are U.S. military veterans. 2 At the same time, homeless shelters are experiencing record occupancy rates across the country, thus forcing many of the nation’s homeless out onto the streets. With only 4.8% of the homeless ever making it out of poverty, it can seem like a lost cause. Furthermore, factors such as lack of access to showers, clean clothes, transportation and a permanent address prevent the less fortunate from obtaining employment, thereby creating a vicious circle of extreme poverty.

Through our A Tiny Act of Kindness initiative, the basic necessities such as showers, clean clothes, transportation and temporary address will be readily available in our tiny home villages, sending the homeless on a path to self-improvement–with a little help from our friends, of course. This is where DE Membership comes into play. By involving our partners who work with veterans, people with disabilities and minorities to provide rehabilitation, skills training, resume building and more, and establishing employment programs with our Member companies, we can all fulfill our goals. In turn, participating Members gain expanded outreach and hiring initiatives that count toward compliance efforts and the satisfaction of lending a helping hand to change someone’s life, for all involved.

Want to learn more about DE Serves? Follow along on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest updates, news and events! Or if you are a Member company of DirectEmployers Association, you can easily round-up your Annual Meeting & Conference registration (DEAM19) fee by $50 and give back to DE Serves AND secure your spot at DEAM19 in the process.



1Hunt, V., Layton, D., Prince, S. (2015, January). Why Diversity Matters. McKinsey & Company. Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/why-diversity-matters

2National Alliance to End Homelessness ((2017, January) State of Homelessness. Retrieved from https://endhomelessness.org/homelessness-in-america/homelessness-statistics/

Kacie Koons
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