Sumitomo Rubber North America Employees Volunteer for 2 Charities

Dec. 23, 2019

Employees from Sumitomo Rubber North America Inc. (SRNA) combined team building with social impact at their annual managers’ meetings in early December 2019.

Their efforts helped two charitable causes: San Diego Habitat for Humanity and Clean the World.

Building Communities, Rain or Shine: San Diego Habitat for Humanity

The Playhouse Program of the San Diego Habitat for Humanity (SDHFH) invites corporate partners to achieve three goals through one activity:

  1. Build and decorate a unique playhouse that will be given to children of a local veteran, a current Habitat Homeowner, or other kids in need.
  2. Develop stronger connections among team members by engaging in an impactful and rewarding group experience.
  3. Help fund the construction of future Habitat for Humanity homes by financially supporting the playhouse build.

SRNA’s team of leaders knew three things about the recipients of the playhouse they were set to build on Dec. 4: They were twin girls, 4 years old and loved unicorns.

“Hopefully it makes their Christmas really enjoyable,” said Stuart Gibb, SRNA’s internal audit manager. “We painted it bright pink and put some unicorns inside so…we’re really looking forward to them receiving it.”

A UnitedHealth Group study reveals that 64% of employees who volunteer with work colleagues say the experiences have strengthened those relationships. For a number of SRNA employees, building a playhouse together did just that.

“It’s been a fun activity, working with some of the other SRNA members we don’t typically get to interact with,” Gibb said.

With managers and executives spanning various time zones, coordinating team building exercises isn’t always easy. “Getting our leaders together to accomplish something meaningful and rewarding is really important to us,” said David Colletti, SRNA vice president – OE / technical service / quality assurance. “Building a playhouse alongside this outstanding group of leaders reinforces the culture of our company and our ability to achieve great results like the ones we achieved in 2019. We greatly appreciate Habitat for Humanity for helping us strengthen our team and serve the San Diego community through this powerful activity.”

Lagerstrom said the Playhouse Program helps Habitat for Humanity raise funds in order to continue to build more homes in San Deigo County.  SRNA’s group of leaders accomplished a lot in just four hours. They built an unforgettable Christmas present for two four-year-old girls, strengthened bonds between one another, and helped fund the construction of a future Habitat home for the surrounding community.

Cleanliness is a Team Effort: Clean the World

Just 23 miles north of the playhouse build, another group of SRNA leaders gathered at the Omni La Costa hotel to carry out a service project of their own. Clean the World Foundation knows the most transformative projects serve more than one purpose. Founded in Orlando in 2009, this global organization promotes both proper sanitation and environmental sustainability, saving lives and protecting the planet through one powerful mission. In just eleven years, Clean the World Foundation has served over 10 million people in more than 127 countries around the world

On Dec. 4, a group of 80 SRNA employees played a part in that global impact by building hygiene kits for a local charity in the Carlsbad area. The kits will go to families living below the poverty line that don’t have access to hygiene products. For Clean the World, understanding how to best serve these families is extremely important. That’s why each 8-piece hygiene kit contains all the most frequently requested items from homeless shelters:

  1. Recycled bar of soap
  2. Shampoo
  3. Lotion
  4. Toothbrush
  5. Toothpaste
  6. Razor
  7. Pair of socks

In addition, several volunteers put pen to paper on 1,500 notecards, sharing messages with the individuals and families set to receive the hygiene kits later that day.

The group assembled 1,500 hygiene kits in half an hour. 

“Not only does this activity impact those in need, it also improves our ability to make our company successful,” said Rick Brennan, SRNA vice president of strategic planning.

“One of the ways we’re building our team is by encouraging them to be a group that works together. The best way to do that, we’ve found, is bringing them together to engage in multi-purpose teambuilding activities…activities like this that are fun, meaningful and that help the environment.”

Through partnerships with major hotel chains like Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott, Clean the World finds a use for items that would otherwise be discarded. Hotels throw away 5 million bars of soap every day, and according to Rubicon Global, 80% of items that end up in landfills could’ve been recycled.

By assembling these 1,500 hygiene kits comprised of recycled bars of soap and bottled amenities, SRNA’s leaders not only benefit individuals within the local community, they also prevent unnecessary waste from damaging the environment.

To learn more about San Diego Habitat for Humanity, visit  

To learn more about Clean the World Foundation, visit