Agility with heart

There With Care and Rally Software spark a clever win-win

The warehouse at There With Care (TWC) is where you start to get it: a child’s critical illness can quickly overwhelm a family’s time and resources, and small mercies make all the difference.

TWC’s Boulder warehouse is chock full of those: scratch-made banana bread, toys and games for siblings, fresh produce, toiletries, prepared meals and much more are stacked ceiling-high. These things move in and out quickly, pausing in the warehouse only briefly between donation and delivery.

Rally 5A large group of bright green bags stands out. These are TWC’s Easy Meal Care Bags, filled to the brim with on-demand nourishment for caregivers who would rather do without than leave their child’s bedside.

“Many times, parents feel strongly about not leaving their child alone even for a few minutes. They don’t want to miss doctors on rounds. They want to remain close at all times,” explains Paula DuPré Pesmen, TWC’s founder and executive director.

Easy Meal Care Bags are a ready source of sustenance for those keeping constant watch on their child. Filled with healthy snacks, meals requiring no cooking and multiple sources of hydration, they help families get through some of the more difficult stretches of a child’s illness.

But the bags also represent a pretty outstanding partnership between TWC and Boulder-based Rally Software.

It was a few years ago that TWC identified this unmet need of bedside caregivers. Initial deliveries of Easy Meal Care Bags were well received; many families called them indispensable. But funding was sporadic, as was assembly, with lots of local groups – such as schools, seniors and girl scouts — pitching in to help for short periods.

Enter Rally Software, a company that began here in Boulder and is today a leading global provider of software and services solutions that drive business agility.

“TWC had a constant need for Easy Meal Care Bags, but no regular stream,” explains Geri Mitchell-Brown, Rally’s director of corporate social responsibility. “We wondered if we couldn’t bring more agility to the process, while at the same time giving our newest employees a taste of Rally’s commitment to communities.”

Every other month, Rally’s new hires from around the world – anywhere from 20 to 30 people – travel to Boulder for a week of boot camp training, an afternoon of which includes assembling 100 Easy Meal Care Bags for TWC. The Rally For Impact Foundation finances the program.

“The idea was for new hires to have a common service experience that would demonstrate our commitment to community,” Mitchell-Brown says. “We wanted to do something that would resonate with all Rally employees and at the same time demonstrate the concept of agility.”

Agility is the essential solution Rally offers its global clients, and it does so by introducing processes that make companies run better, smarter and more creatively. It’s sophisticated work, and Rally applies its agile processes to everything it does, including Easy Meal Care Bags.

Rally 3“We bring our new hires to There With Care, give them the bags and supplies, and tell them they need to complete assembly in one hour,” Mitchell-Brown says. “These groups have to self-organize, plan, do a mid-point review, inspect their processes and adapt them. Each group comes at it a little differently. It’s a great exercise for understanding the bigger picture of what we do.”

And it works. Today TWC has a steady stream of Easy Meal Care Bags that its community of caregivers can rely on.

Rally Software has social responsibility in its DNA. In 2010, the company became a Certified B Corporation, the mark for socially conscious businesses achieved by more than 1,300 for-profit companies that commit to the greater good, including well-known brands like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Method, and Etsy.  After going public in 2013, Rally donated 1% of equity, totaling $1.38 million. About half of this went to the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County. The other half became the Rally For Impact Foundation.

“The bags are one very small aspect of what There With Care offers, but they are so valued and appreciated by the people who have them,” DuPré Pesmen says. “We are forever grateful to Rally for making this commitment to our families.”

We are pleased to cover There With Care all this month on BoulderSource.com. Read more about Rally Software and There With Care on Rally Software’s Blog.