On International Down Syndrome Day last March, our close-knit team in Madrid volunteered with a local organization called Down Madrid. Down Madrid’s mission is to defend the right to life and dignity of people with Down syndrome and to improve their quality of life overall.
As part of BlackRock, we are committed to building a more diverse and inclusive environment – not just within our firm but also within the communities in which we live all around the globe.
We participated in a “gymkhana,” connecting with the foundation’s members through several activities such as sports, a memory card game and the foundation’s version of a popular TV game show in Spain known as Pasapalabra (similar to The Alphabet Game in the UK). To show our support, the whole team wore mismatched socks as part of the #LotsofSocks campaign, which aims to raise global awareness of Down syndrome.
When we had lunch that day, we noticed the food had been prepared by the foundation’s employees with intellectual disabilities. They took the time to explain all the dishes, and it was apparent how much thought and care had gone into each one. At the end of the meal, they surprised everyone on our team whose birthday had already passed with a special carrot cake.
Since then, the foundation has become our cake vendor for every birthday we have in the office. We especially love when the bakers and other staff members from the foundation personally deliver our cakes and join us in singing “Happy Birthday!” Now our team celebrations are even sweeter. Some of their members have even helped us decorate plants for colleagues’ return to the office.
“Our goal is not only to spend time volunteering with Down Madrid but also to help the members of the foundation integrate into society by partnering with them as our vendor for aspects of our BlackRock culture,” said Aitor Jauregui, MD and Country Manager for Iberia (Spain, Portugal and Andorra).
We recently participated in a race led by Down Madrid, where more than 3,500 runners showed up to run a 2.5K, 5K or 10K, all in an effort to support those with intellectual disabilities. Not only were we part of a fantastic event that allowed us to connect with people who have intellectual disabilities, but we also raised more than $700 for the cause via Benevity, BlackRock’s Matching Rewards platform that donates $25 for each hour of volunteering.
Aligned with BlackRock’s culture, we are committed to creating change in society and making a positive impact on people’s lives. We’re excited to continue building this long-term relationship with Down Madrid and help support their goals. And we’re happy that includes eating more birthday cake.