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Featured Philanthropy: QTS

For the past few years, the team at Quality Technology Services, or QTS, has been a familiar sight during ChicagoCAC’s Holiday Toy and Back to School Backpack drives. They’re renowned for their good nature, incredible efficiency, and ability to make orderly systems out of chaotic donations and supplies. In addition to offering literal helping hands, QTS has also generously supported our Annual Fund and donated items and funds to our drives. We talked with Toby Hallmer, QTS Chicago site director, about his company’s volunteer work and commitment to serving the community. 

Toby Hallmer, QTS

What kind of products and services does QTS offer?

We’re a nationwide data center company, mostly US-based with a couple of sites in the Netherlands. The gist of it is that we have data center space where we host customers in a number of different areas: healthcare, educational, and financial come to mind in addition to business enterprise. Basically, they have their computer equipment that supports their websites, their internal systems or whatever they’re selling and our business guarantees that we have power, cooling, security and connectivity for those customers and their equipment. That way, it’s not a problem for them, and they have a worry-free environment for their equipment with us. 

How did you hear about Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center? 

With QTS, community support is built into our core values and culture. So being in the Pilsen community, we were looking for nonprofit organizations we could support. We went to the aldermen for the Pilsen area and he supplied us with a list of organizations. Then, understanding what ChicagoCAC does really piqued our interest and that’s why we got involved with the group. I think, deep down, everybody wants to help and support others, and QTS helps foster that and support that desire. 

Our facility services coordinator, Renata, works with these different groups and sets up volunteer opportunities for our team members. And that becomes kind of an easy button for us to provide support. People sometimes get very busy with work and family, but having a company that supports service and volunteerism and then having somebody like Renata that sets it all up makes it easy for our team members to attend one of those volunteer events and help out a local organization. 

Besides QTS creating volunteer opportunities for their employees and paying them for up to 24 volunteer hours per year, annually they allow each location to donate a lump sum of money to an organization of their choice. ChicagoCAC being a great resource for the community and being a cause that we want to help support, we have also donated monetarily.

What makes you support these particular efforts of ours? 

When you think about kids going to school without the proper supplies, or the thought of kids not having presents for Christmas, you want to help out, and you get a fantastic feeling when you come and donate your time to just make something small better for somebody else. I wish more companies fostered volunteerism and created easy opportunities for their staff to help out their communities, because I think there would be a lot more people that did that. People really get enjoyment out of spending the time helping somebody else.

And while the work is definitely labor intensive in some ways, these events are easy for us: you just require our hands, where some other opportunities are more restrictive because you’re dealing directly with the children. I’m sure it’s very helpful for you guys-you just have so many donations to go through and sort, so it’s a good way for us to help you out. 

QTS volunteers after single-handedly stuffing nearly 200 backpacks during the 2021 Back to School Backpack Drive

Believe us, your help is so appreciated. We’re wondering what enjoyment you feel employees get from the experience or what you think they’ve learned from it?

Within QTS, every time somebody does a volunteering event, whether it’s at the Chicago location or elsewhere, we highlight that–who we’re volunteering for, what their story is–and everybody very much appreciates that. It’s great to hear in Atlanta that they helped out at a food collection or what another site did recently. Previous to being involved with ChicagoCAC, we really weren’t aware that a group like you existed, so finding out about you is fantastic. 

Learning about how you work during the Back to School Drive was a game-changer for me in understanding what goes on here–how you’re first-line responders to reports and bringing children in for that initial interview process. To have children going through multiple interviews–I mean, that’s got to be a horrible situation, to have to relive that multiple times for different people. You guys take that away and just do one interview, and learning how you make it as painless as possible for the kids in those situations was so helpful. 

What’s one thing you want people to know about ChicagoCAC or volunteering here? 

We support other nonprofits in the community, but ChicagoCAC is my favorite because it’s for children, and you guys are doing a fantastic thing. The way you’re structured I think is a really great story. You’re up on social media bringing awareness to your cause, and I’m sure that helps your situation and definitely helps people understand your work and want to volunteer here. Volunteering helps create awareness–it’s the kind of thing you want to share with other people. 

And everyone we’ve dealt with at ChicagoCAC is fantastic. It’s a pleasure to work with you. When 10 people show up for some serious labor, you’re prepared to accept us. You’re very organized–you have specific tasks you need for us to do, and then we do it. You guys are already prepared and we can just make the magic happen. 

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