For the past 14 years, Westford-based Red Hat, Inc. has been a generous supporter of our free Bach’s Lunch concerts for seniors. This support was initiated by John Flanagan, Red Hat’s Senior Director of Corporate Citizenship. He graciously took some time to speak with us about the ways Red Hat connects to the community, and why they support Indian Hill. Photo Credit: The Gutierrez Company
Can you tell us a little bit about Red Hat?
Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of enterprise open source solutions,using a community-powered approach to deliver high-performing Linux®, container, and Kubernetes technologies and to help organizations build successful open hybrid cloud strategies.
So you could say that creating connections is what you do?
Yes. Red Hat is committed to using open source principles to do good in the communities where we live and work. We do our best when we do good together, whether that’s through our work supporting nonprofits, the time we spend volunteering (remotely or virtually), or the programs we create to reach the next generation of technologists.
The pandemic presented challenges that often seemed insurmountable, both at work and in our personal lives, but the open practices embedded in our organization allowed Red Hat to support associates so they could continue to lead — at work, at home, and in their communities.
How did you get involved in Red Hat’s community engagement program?
I came to Red Hat almost 20 years ago now. When I started, we were a small company of around 500. As Red Hat started to grow in Westford, it was important for the company to begin to give back and to engage more with the community. As former president of the Westford Rotary Club, I was uniquely familiar with businesses and non-profit organizations in the area and had a background in giving back to the community.
Red Hat gives in many different ways: addressing basic needs like hunger or homelessness; promoting health and nutrition; STEM/STEAM programs; and environment and sustainability, are just a few. Traditionally in this area, supporting basic needs is a big part of it.
Where does Indian Hill Music fall within those categories?
We all get to have our own say about organizations and programs that we’re passionate about. For me, Indian Hill’s programs fill a basic need — taking care of our seniors. It’s something we gravitated toward as we saw our parents beginning to get a bit older. We really liked the idea of the Bach’s Lunch, where you can provide opportunities for your musicians to play and to give back to community, and for the folks on the receiving end of the program who come alive through the exposure to music. I’ve seen that myself with my mother-in-law, who we lost last year. She had Alzheimers, but when she was around music, suddenly she would become vocal. It was great to see. So that resonated with us. We’re very specific about the Bach’s Lunch because it served a need that we identified as a really good fit for us! Red Hat is pleased to support Indian Hill’s program for the past 14 years – bringing the joy and restorative powers of live music to area seniors and families.
What else is on the horizon for your giving programs at Red Hat?
I’ve been working with other tech companies in the area to identify and provide more awareness about organizations in the area who have a need, and what kinds of programming they have. We’re very active in the community with our partner organization the Greater Lowell Community Foundation. By partnering with the foundation, we are able to distribute funding more efficiently to local organizations, and also identify more worthy candidates for future donations.
Thank you to John and to Red Hat for their continued generous support for our Bach’s Lunch concerts!