Associations share a building and commitment to community.
When five associations dedicated to improving health are located in the same 10-story office building, it’s inevitable that staff members would share more than daily elevator rides.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), which owns an office building at 655 K Street in Washington, DC, attracted four other association tenants: the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, the American Dental Education Association, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and the Physician Assistant Education Association.
Being vertical neighbors with like-minded organizations affords the associations opportunities for cross-collaboration, including departments working on business projects together.
The proximity also enhances AAMC’s longstanding commitment to the local community. When, for instance, AAMC hosted a dinner for 11th- and 12th-grade students to talk about pursuing health careers, it had no problem finding nursing, dental, and physician assistant professionals to speak.
But it’s the association’s signature volunteer event each spring that best exemplifies the power of togetherness: 655 K Street Cares Day, when employees team up to help at local nonprofits.
“It’s an incredible collaboration in which nearly 200 staff from all of the associations engage in meaningful volunteer service projects,” says Clarence Fluker, AAMC’s director of community engagement. In keeping with the associations’ missions, the recipient organizations “are all aligned with determinants of health: food insecurity, health and human services, housing security, and education,” he says. The nonprofits are also selected “based on where there is the most need, and where we can do the most good.”
The event starts with a kickoff gathering the day before, where participants get to know each other. They head out the next day in groups ranging from three to 20 members. Volunteers work at food banks, thrift stores, schools, and other service providers.
Employees “love 655 K Street Cares Day,” says Fluker. “Some want to do it more often. People are proud to work at a place where leadership supports this each and every year.”—Maria Mihalik