NetSuite Gives Back at First Step for Families

Last week, 150 members of the NetSuite product team came to our headquarters in San Mateo, Calif., from offices around the world to participate in an annual team-building week. After a week of innovative idea-sharing and friendly competition, the group spent its final day participating in a SuiteImpact Team volunteer event at the First Step for Families Shelter in San Mateo. Employees stepped away from their traditional day-to-day work of developing the NetSuite platform and devoted their determination and passion to complete a series of renovation projects for the shelter.

First Step for Families is part of the InnVision Shelter Network, providing immediate shelter and services for families from the moment they become homeless. Families can stay at the full-service shelter for up to 60 days, until they find permanent housing or move on to one of Shelter Network’s transitional housing programs or another residential program. It was our privilege to join their hard-working, dedicated staff for the day’s event.

As we unloaded at the shelter, it was clear just how much passion the group had for giving back—everyone was eager to get started on their projects and we could see the opportunity to make a big difference right in front of us. Ten teams spent the day repainting interior rooms for shelter residents, weeding and replanting community vegetable and butterfly gardens, sprucing up and repainting exterior fences, and sorting food, clothing and toy donations. Meanwhile, other employees taught technical skills and worked on resumes with clients, cooked a BBQ lunch for residents and hungry volunteers, and painted a beautiful series of murals to adorn the walls of the on-site preschool.

Last, but certainly not least, one group of super volunteers tackled a landscaping problem that the shelter had been hoping to fix for over five years. Over 30 NetSuite employees attacked the project with determination, clearing a large area of thick brush, weeding the area and laying down mulch. The shelter will replant the area with plants that are easier to maintain, less dangerous and require less water, allowing the shelter to cut back on its water bill and redirect those funds to other programs.

The day went by in a flash—with sweaty, cheerful employees giving the project their all. As the day continued, volunteers found new projects to tackle, including cleaning and fixing the outdoor toys and bicycles used by the many children living at the shelter. One final push after lunch, and we had completed the entire list of tasks—something that the shelter employees said would have taken them quite some time to do on their own.

It was a great pleasure and honor to spend the day at First Step for Families, and we’d like to give a huge thanks to HandsOn Bay Area, a volunteer coordination group that helped coordinate our event. We were thrilled to contribute in our own way to the fantastic work that the InnVision Shelter Network takes on each day.

If you have volunteer opportunities that you’d like the SuiteImpact Teams to tackle, let us know at

—Erin Dieterich,

Helping Nonprofits and Social Enterprises Succeed