Building Great Places to Work

September 3. 2013

8 Ways NorthCoast 99 Winners Impact Northeast Ohio Communities

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September 3. 2013

NorthCoast 99 winners not only make an impact in the workplace, they are also committed to making an impact on the communities in which they live and work and supporting the causes their employees care about. In 2013 specifically, winners impacted hundreds of local non-profit organizations and causes, and participated in hundreds of hours of community service and philanthropy.

Winners support many causes in their local communities by generously donating their time and resources to local non-profit organizations and individuals in need in Northeast Ohio, and supporting their employees' efforts in the community by giving them paid time to participate in these activities, communicating and promoting philanthropy and community involvement, coordinating opportunities, encouraging their involvement in community activities, and supporting them financially.

Winners make many efforts to connect employees with opportunities to make an impact. A number of winners even have community involvement committees that head up community efforts, and select charitable activities based on the passions and interests of their employees.

Many winners have cultures of caring, where making a difference is the norm. Not only do winners participate in service and support employees in their service, contribution to the community in which they live and work is a common principle and company value at winners - for some it is even the foundation of their business. Several winners reward community involvement with prestigious awards and recognition to emphasize its importance, and share employees' meaningful impacts and successes publically.

Below are eight (8) specific ways that winners make an impact on their Northeast Ohio communities.

1. Service

Serving others, especially the less fortunate, is a common practice among winners. Throughout the year, winners participate in several small group and company-wide community service programs, activities, and days of service.

Activities commonly include serving and preparing meals, tutoring children or young adults, engaging in fun community competitions, performing maintenance duties (i.e. cleaning, painting, yardwork, etc.), building houses and playgrounds, restoring community areas and buildings, participating in walks and races, serving or visiting the less fortunate, and participating in outreach initiatives (i.e. Adopt-a-Family, improving literacy education, etc.)

2. Donations

Winners generously donate their profits and products to charitable organizations in the community. In addition, they coordinate many opportunities for their employees to donate food, blood, books, clothing, gifts, school supplies, hygiene items, cash, and other items for the needy; and often match their contributions. Some larger-sized winners have even developed their own funds or foundations to provide donations and monetary assistance to the community. Winners also frequently match employees' contributions to various causes, if monetary.

3. Sponsorships

Winners sponsor and financially support many community events such as raffles, auctions, fundraisers, charitable events, walks or running races, specific community programs, community competitions or contests, and grants or scholarships, aimed at helping local non-profit organizations.

4. Campaigns

Many winners have developed long-term partnerships with community organizations and hold various campaigns throughout the year to raise money and/or collect resources for community organizations like United Way, Harvest for Hunger, and March of Dimes through bake sales, dress down days, tournaments and competitions, creative campaigning, and more.

5. Pro/bono non-compensated services

At winners, particularly in the services industry, employees are encouraged to provide non-compensated "pro-bono" professional services in the community related to financial, legal, health, educational, architecture/construction, design, marketing, and social needs. Winners also frequently give free presentations, speaking engagements, and educational opportunities.

Several winners, particularly health care and human services organizations, are also committed to helping people in their communities regardless of their ability to pay for services. Others, particularly in financial and consulting services, may offer services at much lower costs to non-profits or those individuals who are not able to afford the services.

6. Community participation

Many winners also encourage their employees' participation on non-profit boards to not only strengthen ties in the community, but also build their leadership skills. Similarly, winners encourage community leadership by putting employees through community-based leadership programs including Business Volunteers Unlimited, Leadership Cleveland, and Cleveland Bridge Builders and some participate in "loaned executive" volunteering. Winners also encourage and allow employees to volunteer and participate in community professional organizations on committees and in leadership roles.

7. Buying local

Many winners "buy local" whenever possible to support their communities and the businesses in them. Winners make efforts to choose local vendors first when outsourcing their accounting, information technology, and other services.

8. Environmentally-friendly practices

In addition to supporting the community, winners take steps to reduce their business' adverse impact on the environment by recycling; reusing resources like paper, plastic, technology, and office supplies; conserving energy; minimizing waste; using lean processes; and using new practices that result in greener product design and delivery.

Winners take responsibility to help enrich and enhance the quality of life in their communities and consistently respond to the needs of their communities by giving back and helping their communities address health, poverty, and educational related-needs. In doing so, they are making an extremely meaningful impact on Northeast Ohio.


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