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Image of Ferdinand Morales volunteering

Ferdinand Morales joined Maximus in July 1999 after learning about the company through volunteering at a local nonprofit. After 24 years at Maximus, Ferdinand reflects on his time with the company and the impact giving back to his community has made in his life.

How did you first hear about the Foundation, and what drew you to get involved?

I was always aware of the Foundation. It launched around the time I joined Maximus. After becoming involved in Foundation work, I wanted to know how to expand my role and deepen the impact. When I joined the DE&I council, I came at a time of transition within the Foundation between Dr. John Boyer and Dr. Arvenita Washington Cherry. After connecting with Dr. Cherry, I learned of a few available board positions and joined the US Foundation board. Subsequently, I was later made aware of the UK Foundation and am now a member of their Board of Trustees.

Image of Ferdinand Morales

With all your experiences with the Foundation and giving back, what’s been your favorite memory or moment of impact?

Oh wow, there have been so many. One of the moments that most impacted me was with our local partner and Foundation grantee partner, Junior Achievement (JA), in Albany, NY. JA invited our New York State of Health Project (NYSOH) team to a celebration to highlight our team's impact on the organization over the years. They showed a video featuring various events we supported that genuinely moved me. This compilation of our work reminded me of how impactful the gift of time can be for a nonprofit or the community.

What’s a community engagement tradition that came out of your team, and why is it meaningful to you and your colleagues?

In 2017, the NYSOH team created the Community Partnerships Program after asking “What else can we do to support our community?” The goal was to build goodwill within our NYSOH team and support our larger community by coordinating opportunities that make a positive impact. We not only volunteer where we have our clients and do business, but more importantly, we give back to anyone in our community who needs help.

It started as an informal group with only a few participating, growing into hundreds of NYSOH team members participating year after year. In 2022, more than 950 NYSOH staff participated in the program, supporting more than 40 community initiatives, and serving more than 20 nonprofit partners. While I'm incredibly proud of those numbers, the stories shared by the staff about the impact of giving back are what has truly impacted me.

For many employees, at one point in their lives, they had to utilize services from local nonprofits during a time of need. I would hear stories such as “At one time, I stayed at this Ronald McDonald house because I needed shelter” or “I brought my child to this nonprofit that supports children with autism as I was a parent who desperately needed help.” What’s beautiful is that the Community Partnerships Program continues to grow through our employees sharing their past experiences. I would call the Community Partnership program more of a movement than a program.

If you could leave us with one final thought to share with others, what would it be?

What drives me to do this work is to break down the barrier of difference and the gift of time. We’re not all in a place to give financially, but your time, whether painting a classroom or working with students, can provide so much for someone, and we get so much in return by helping.

I love that I get to work with people who look to break down the barriers of difference that exist to separate us as people. In my ideal world, we’re all working toward breaking down barriers to create equal opportunity for everyone to thrive.

Giving back to the communities we serve

The Maximus Foundation is one of the ways Maximus employees are doing something greater together. Established by the Maximus Board of Directors in 2000, the Maximus Foundation is an independent, employee-led, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Employee donors pool their charitable contributions together through the Foundation, double their impact on the grantmaking program through Maximus’ dollar-for-dollar matching pledge, and make their voices heard by nominating and voting for future grantee partners. Though the Foundation focuses its giving strategy on grantmaking, it also helps coordinate corporate-wide humanitarian efforts and empowers employees to donate their time and skills to nonprofits. Their inspired giving and volunteerism help accelerate the missions of nonprofits on the front lines of the communities we serve. Learn more at maximus.com/foundation.