WILD PLANET TOYS doesn't just manufacture playthings. The phrase “championing and respecting children” figures prominently in the San Francisco firm's simple mission statement.

To support that goal, the company organizes volunteer opportunities “to get our employees in front of kids in different ways,” says Jennifer Chapman, the company's “people champion.” One example: A group of about 10 staffers gathered recently to organize a scavenger hunt with inner-city children. Team members also nominate groups to receive toys once a year.

Employees get four hours of paid time off each month to volunteer, and they have a say about which groups will benefit from these volunteer efforts. “There's a cross-department component, so it builds unity among people who don't normally work together,” says Chapman. “And it's fun.”