NVIDIA Reinvents the Holiday Party, Again, Putting in 7,500 Volunteer-Hours in a Weekend

by Tonie Hansen

Closed doors. Strong drinks. Awkward conversations. Maybe it’s time to re-invent the annual company holiday party.

CEO Jen-Hsun Huang addresses volunteers.
CEO Jen-Hsun Huang addresses volunteers.

NVIDIA’s done just that, again, inviting friends, family and community members to muddy their boots, dig irrigation ditches, paint murals and build everything from a farm stand to an outdoor teaching kitchen. Boredom is not an option.

More than 1,500 NVIDIA employees, family and community members racked up 7,500 volunteer hours this past weekend at Veggielution, the focus of NVIDIA’s sixth annual Project Inspire volunteer event.

Veggielution –- an urban farm based in a low-income neighborhood of San Jose, California — grows and sells fruits and vegetables in a community where good nutrition is a critical issue.







Proceeds from the sale of the non-profit’s fresh produce helps educate families about how health, the environment, and education intersect.

Hard work for a good cause is a holiday tradition at NVIDIA, and it’s the high-point of an innovative 11-month-long planning process.

The employee-led NVIDIA Foundation selects a project to tackle every year guided by employee surveys that show health, education, and the environment are areas where employees most want to make a difference.

We then bring friends, family, and community members in on the conspiracy. More than a good cause, the event is something of a family reunion, with long-time employees bringing their spouses, partners, parents, and children.

Project Inspire has also become a chance to get to know the neighbors, with more than 200 community members picking up hammers and shovels to join our annual effort.

Volunteers from City Year, a national youth-leadership organization that has been assisting us with Project Inspire since 2009, helped lead the effort.

Working together, we’ve made a measurable difference. With nearly $500,000 invested in donated material and labor, Project Inspire has transformed the community farm.

NVIDIA employees working on a farm stand at Veggielution.
More than GPUs: NVIDIANs built farm stands and a packing shed, among other structures.

Volunteers built an outdoor community gathering space, a packing shed and farm stand for sorting and selling produce, an irrigation system that will turn the non-profit’s new acreage into productive land and a colorful mural.

The non-profit’s leaders say these projects will help Veggielution more than double its output of vegetables to 75,000 pounds a year from 30,000 pounds over the next year alone.

Click here for pictures from day one of our event, and here for pictures from day two.