Throughout history, volunteers have fostered real and lasting change in the communities where we live and work. In honor of National Volunteer Month in April, Ancestry celebrates the power of volunteers to help build more sustainable, equitable, and resilient communities for generations to come.
With more than 1,400 employees eager to make a real difference, Ancestry is committed to empowering our global workforce with the tools and resources to support the causes they are most passionate about.
From emergency response to mentoring and environmental activism, below are some of the inspiring stories of Ancestry employees who have used Ancestry’s Volunteer Time Off benefit to apply their talents and make a meaningful difference in our communities.
Writing Team Manager, AncestryProGenealogists®
For the past two years Ancestry’s Erika Manternach and a team of AncestryProGenealogists® employees have partnered with high school teacher, Keira Murphy, to create a meaningful genealogy curriculum that helps students at St. Edward’s School in Vero Beach, Florida, explore their families’ unique stories and find their personal places in history. Leveraging resources from AncestryClassroom™, these high school students learned the basics of genealogy, including how to search and cite historical documents. They also gained lifelong interpersonal skills, such as how to interview relatives and local community members.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding research, finding cures and ensuring access to treatments for blood cancer patients. With a team of close friends, Audry raised money and awareness for the LLS “Man & Woman of the Year” campaign, a philanthropic competition to support blood cancer research. Over the course of 10 weeks, Audry and her team sought to raise $100,000 in hopes of truly making an impact toward helping end cancer. Their team surpassed their fundraising goal and raised the 2nd highest amount of all teams.
Senior Content Production Manager
As a passionate advocate for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Deb Bell has been a fierce supporter of women in STEM throughout her career. Whether through the Women Tech Council (WTC) – a national organization that focuses on the economic impact of women in tech by creating sustainable programs at every stage of the talent pipeline – or through the Ancestry Employee Resource Group “Ancestry Women in Technology,” Deb’s involvement led to Ancestry’s placement on the WTC’s Shatter List in 2022 for creating and enacting a culture that helps women break and surpass the glass ceiling in technology.
Senior Manager, Computational Genomics
With over 10 years of working at Ancestry and a deep understanding and passion for computational genomics, Ross shared his expertise with the students of the Urban School of San Francisco during the genetics unit of their biology class. In his presentation, Ross provided an overview of AncestryDNA, the technology we use to capture a customers' genetic data, and the information this technology provides to bring people together and help us realize our shared humanity.
Sr. Director of Development for Family History Verticals
For more than 12 years, Russell has been a part of Utah County Search & Rescue’s highly skilled and trained team of 60 volunteers. The team operates under the direction of the Utah County Sheriff’s office and responds to about 100 emergency calls per year. From avalanches and lake rescues to plane crashes and ATV rollovers, Russell and his fellow volunteers serve as an important branch of Utah’s emergency response operations.
Content Quality Review Specialist
Amy Wesson is a proud committee member of the Honor ERG. In support of deployed troops, Amy organized a call for letters of encouragement through the Utah National Guard. As a result of Amy’s initiative, the project – dubbed “Operation Encouragement” – inspired employees from across the country to take time to share messages of hope and support for the deployed soldiers of the National Guard.
Associate Creative Director
In San Francisco near the Golden Gate Bridge, the National Park Service manages a protected habitat for the Snowy Plover, a threatened species of bird that breeds in the area. Our colleague Elizabeth Asdorian spends at least one morning of every month helping to preserve their habitat at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, an activity she and her friends have been doing for several years. With the help of volunteers like Elizabeth, the NPS is preserving this coastal dune habitat by removing nonnative plants, providing expanded nesting and breeding grounds, and facilitating beach cleanups.
Sr. Director, Site Reliability and Quality
Lori has been an active participant in the Haitian Roots organization for three years, a group that matches sponsors with underserved children in Haiti to help send these students to school. With the help of volunteers like Lori, Haitian Roots is able to operate two fully licensed academies for more than 450 students, which also provide meals and mental health and trauma therapy from 80 licensed staff members.
Senior Application Security Engineer
On August 28 and 29 2021, Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana as one of the most deadly and destructive Category 4 Atlantic hurricanes in history. Through the Helping Hands organization within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Ryan and his local church group volunteers immediately went to Baton Rouge, LA to assist with recovery efforts. Tasked with cleaning up the areas affected by the hurricane, the group worked for days to clear fallen branches and debris outside and visited survivors’ homes to cut away damaged drywall.
Content Production Associate
According to Doctors Without Borders, there are presently 82 million forcibly displaced people around the world. By mobilizing “an army of volunteers” domestically and abroad, Lifting Hands International aims to fill in the gaps and adapt to quickly changing conditions for the world’s most vulnerable populations. By distributing over 2 million aid items and more than $13.7 million in aid supplies, Lifting Hands International volunteers like Megan have contributed almost 600,000 hours to this ever-changing crisis.
Senior Development Manager: Search Services
Builders Without Borders of Utah, including Ancestry’s Bill Mulloy, aims to improve their quality of life by providing shelter; comfort in the form of first-aid and safety classes; practical donations like food assistance and laptops for skilled education; and aid from in-person volunteers. Bill recalls the great joy he felt building side-by-side with new friends and, on the final day, handing over the keys to a family’s new home.
Content Research Associate: Newspapers.com
Established in 1903, the Springville Museum of Art was created to foster beauty and contemplation for Utah’s Art City and its diverse communities and houses over 2,500 works. Emily has been an active volunteer at the museum since 2018, when she was an undergraduate student studying Art History. Emily and her fellow volunteers contribute to the many community outreach events, including field trips for schools (both virtual and in-person), free art projects, lectures, guided tours, and even parties.
By making the most of our Volunteer Time Off benefit, Ancestry employees continue to make an impact in our communities and around the world. We’d like to extend a special thank you to these Ancestry employees and to all community members who have volunteered their time, energy and resources to support a cause they care about.