As part of our Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) programme, Beyond the Lines, Genius Sports provides all staff with one extra day of company time annually to volunteer for a charitable cause.
Beyond the Lines amplifies our innovative, high-achieving spirit to drive positive change in our communities, for our stakeholders and for the planet. You can learn more about the programme here.
Geniuses have volunteered for a wide range of causes, from tree planting to disability sports coaching and supporting disaster relief. Three team members from our Italy office, Emanuela, Davide and Matteo, used their Volunteer Day to support their local community following catastrophic floods in Emilia-Romagna in 2023.
Emanuela tells their story below.
How did you decide on taking your Volunteer Day?
“I first heard about Volunteer Day when we celebrated Genius Volunteering Month in September! I’ve always been interested in taking part in some kind of volunteering initiative, but in Italy there aren’t many charities that allow you to do so for just for one day without having proper training.
“But last year, a catastrophic flood occurred in Emilia-Romagna, the region where I live, leaving over 36,000 people homeless. It was the worst flooding for 100 years, as 6 months’ worth of rain fell in 36 hours.
“Tragically, 14 people died, with the floods causing over 305 landslides and damaging or closing over 500 roads in the region. The situation was critical, and people from all over the region and elsewhere soon began to join forces to help the clean-up operation.
“So, along with some coworkers, we decided we needed to help. We asked if anyone else from our team was able to join, and off we went.”
How did you spend the day itself?
“Early in the morning we drove to Castel Bolognese, a small town 1 hour 30 minutes from our hometown, that suffered major damages. We joined up with other volunteers at the meeting point and were divided into groups. We had to bring our own equipment, such as gloves, shovels, boots and anything we could to help.
“The first mission was helping a lovely elderly couple to clean up a flooded area in their house. We dismantled rotten furniture and emptied an entire room packed with books. The man was a university lecturer, so you can just imagine how many books he owned and how much he cherished them. We moved them all from the ground floor to upstairs in order to save them and prevent further damage.
“The couple were so lovely. We talked for a while and they were so grateful for our help; it was a really touching moment.
“The second mission was quite moving too, as we were sent to a house that was completely unrecognisable as it was caked in mud. We spent the rest of our volunteering time there, clearing away debris from the whole house, including a stable where the mud came halfway up your leg. We worked alongside firefighters with fire hoses, brooms and shovels to clear the area for the residents.”
How proud are you of the impact you and the team had?
“I am very proud of what we did. Although it was a very emotional day, it made me think about how lucky I am and how important it is to give back and help people in need, in any possible way. This could be something as simple as making someone laugh or physically helping them to do something.
“I’m very happy to have had the chance to share this experience with some members of my team too. It meant a lot for each one of us and I think it was also an important bonding opportunity.”
Would you recommend taking a Volunteer Day to your colleagues?
“Definitely. Our case was a bit tricky, because there wasn’t a charity in charge of the operation, just groups of people gathering and willing to help.
“Since the flood was obviously unexpected, we didn’t have the time to submit our volunteering request within the usual notice period. However, the Beyond the Lines team were really helpful and efficient and got back to us in no time with a positive outcome.
“It is fantastic that we have the opportunity to volunteer, and I recommend all Geniuses to go out and take their day too. No matter how big or small of an impact you make, it is an experience that can change somebody’s life and will enrich yours in so many ways.”