How #my5days at Hallmark is Renewing, Inspiring, and Giving Back
“It was such joy to walk in with a certain set of expectations and walk away accomplishing far more than I even imagined.”
This reaction from a designer at Hallmark Cards, Inc. underlines the spirit of a recent initiative that supports the creative culture at the company that has taken a new turn in 2018.
Just two years ago, Hallmark created a program that would lead to new ways of thinking, personal inspiration, and growth for more than 800 members of its creative community. Now, it has grown to benefit nonprofit organizations in its local community.
Hallmark’s #my5days program offers five work days per year for creative employees to renew, explore, learn, and think differently about the world and work around them. The company—which has grown into a portfolio of six businesses that includes Hallmark Greetings, Hallmark Retail, Hallmark Home & Gifts, Crayola, Crown Media Family Networks, and Crown Center Redevelopment Corp—believes creative renewal and external inspiration are critical to gaining new perspectives and finding new ways to connect with its consumers.
Since its inception, #my5days has inspired more than 3,000 posts on Instagram, generated 100 internal workshops, and highlighted the experience of more than 500 members through gallery shows.
It has also spurred product ideas such as a woodcarving workshop producing items later featured in a barware product collection, photography applied to sympathy and Mother’s Day cards, and sketches generating a new illustration asset collection.
But equally important, #my5days has led to the program’s latest evolution of collaborating with nonprofits. To that end, during the past two years Hallmark’s program has benefitted Band of Angels, a nonprofit in Kansas City, Missouri, created by a family owned music store and the local FOX affiliate.
Inspired by the organization’s mission of collecting and providing free musical instruments to children in need so they can join band and orchestra programs, in addition to helping them attend summer music camps, Hallmark created a #my5days workshop to assist the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year, Art that Blows.
Artists take broken down and beyond-repair instruments and create musical works of art that are auctioned at Art that Blows to support the musical education of underprivileged children.
“A lot of times you have to sit and study the piece or brainstorm with someone else,” said Senior Artist Matt Kesler when describing the instrument transformation process. “You start to see something else evolve that you wouldn’t have seen before.”
In 2018, Art that Blows raised $25,000 for the cause and to date, Band of Angels has given away more than 1,000 instruments to disadvantaged youth to help continue their musical dreams.
Energized by its work with Band of Angels, Hallmark extended the reach of its #my5days program this summer to support additional nonprofit organizations. Some work has already been completed and some still to come, such as:
Designing and painting an elementary school mural inspired by students’ writing for Longfellow Elementary School.
- Generating themes, designs for promotional materials, and messaging for Wayside Waifs and Heart of America Shakespeare Festival.
- Working with mothers of Kansas City homicide victims at Mothers in Charge and creating a fabric art memorial from the clothing of the victims that will become part of a traveling memorial to their loved ones.
- Painting inspiring messages and artwork on wooden panels as part of the Urban Canvas Project that will be placed on the windows and doors of abandoned homes in high-traffic areas of Kansas City. The paintings are intended to help secure homes while serving as a visible, artistic demonstration to the community that care has been put in to these houses to encourage people to purchase and rehab the homes.
With #my5days, Hallmark has created a more connected and engaged creative community, as they focus on a continual development of the arts. By utilizing talents on behalf of nonprofits, now Hallmark is finding creative new ways of investing in and giving back to its hometown community like never before.