Volunteerism in service to racial equity

Volunteerism in service to racial equity

The opportunity: In July of 2020, two Medtronic employees and “Community Impact Champions” collaborated with the Medtronic Foundation to host a volunteer orientation for the University of Minnesota Libraries’ Mapping Prejudice project. What began as a small event during Project 6—Medtronic's annual month-long kickoff to volunteerism—would grow into an ongoing education and volunteerism effort in service of racial equity.

Based in the John Borchert Map Library at the University of Minnesota and founded in 2016, the Mapping Prejudice project is working to create the first-ever comprehensive visualization of racial covenants for an American city. Volunteers play a crucial role in advancing this work, transcribing deeds through the project’s Zooinverse platform and educating their own communities about the impact of racial covenants across the Twin Cities.

Record-setting engagement: On Medtronic’s global Day of Action for Racial Equity Progress, hundreds of Medtronic employees chose to volunteer with Mapping Prejudice, setting a single-day record of more than 5,200 deed transcriptions through the project’s Zooinverse platform: the highest recorded day of data transcriptions in the project’s history. And their engagement didn’t stop there. Over the course of the next nine months, Medtronic employees would go on to host four more events at Medtronic in collaboration with Mapping Prejudice staff: from webinars to virtual volunteer orientations to days of service.

Cumulatively, more than 600 Medtronic employees have logged over 1,300 volunteer hours, with participation from 11 countries and 28 states within the United States. Medtronic volunteerism made it possible for Mapping Prejudice to qualify for—and ultimately to receive—a special grant opportunity from the Medtronic Foundation’s Spotlight Pilot Program. Through their volunteerism, Medtronic employees are advancing the company’s commitment to education, equity, access, and justice: shaping a broader reckoning with the legacies of racist housing policies, and leveraging an understanding of the past to address the inequities of the present.

Lasting impact: "By co-leading this volunteer initiative, Jessica Schmidt and I learned a great deal about the extreme and long-term damage caused by systemic injustices like racial covenants. We’ve been thrilled by the level of engagement of our Medtronic volunteers and are grateful to the Mapping Prejudice team members who presented and shared their knowledge with us, making the experience incredibly impactful for all. We are confident that through this work, it has not only helped Mapping Prejudice achieve the goal of more completed transcriptions, but has also driven many of our volunteers to take further action and advocate for racial equity in other ways."

—Beth Price, Medtronic employee and volunteer co-coordinator

Get started

Contact us if you are a corporate or foundation representative and would like more information about matching your priorities and interests with opportunities and resources at the University.

Gabrielle Bunten-Spoth
Corporate Relations Associate
[email protected]