Philanthropy awards

Home Instead Senior Care
In 2004, Home Instead Senior Care implemented a community service program called “Be A Santa To A Senior,” designed to provide holiday gifts and companionship to the region’s lonely and indigent senior citizens.

The Chesterland-based organization partners with companies including Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Life Quest Medical Supply to place holiday trees in their stores. Home Instead then identifies seniors and hangs ornaments on the trees with their first names and items they need, such as clothes, laundry soap, blankets and food gift certificates.

People then purchase the items and place them under the trees, and Home Instead’s volunteers collect, wrap and deliver them. Last year, the program’s first, 432 gifts for 186 seniors were collected and delivered. This year, Home Instead hopes to double those numbers.

Oswald Cos.
The employees at Oswald Cos., which provides insurance and financial brokerage insurance, understand the importance of philanthropy. Not only do the company, its management and its employee-owners make generous financial contributions — in excess of $125,000 each year — they also volunteer their time and expertise to numerous local charities.

Oswald was a United Way Pacesetter in 2003 and 2004, raising a combined $78,000 over the two-year period, and anticipates raising $50,000 for this year’s United Way campaign. The company hosts an annual fund-raiser for Harvest for Hunger and has raised more than $7,000 over the past two years. And, employees participate in several local walk/run events to help generate funds.

Every August, Oswald identifies one nonprofit organization to assist during the company’s Day of Caring. Last year, employees spent the day sprucing up the Harvard Community Services Center. This year, they spent the day at Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland, weeding the property, planting flowers, organizing storage rooms and cleaning the building.

WhiteSpace Creative
It takes creative people to develop creative solutions for giving back to the community, and Keevan White, owner and CEO of WhiteSpace Creative is one of those people.

Four years ago, White’s Akron-based communications firm became the exclusive Akron/Canton area agency to participate in the national CreateAThon program, an annual 24-hour pro bono marketing marathon at which the company’s staff shares its nonprofit expertise and creative talents with deserving regional nonprofits.

During CreateAThon, White’s staff members work around the clock to create projects ranging from marketing and concept development to copywriting and design of print and interactive media.

Last year, the program produced pro bono marketing and communications services with a value of $45,000. The projects included an innovative video presentation for United Disability Services that highlights the impact UDS’ programs have on the families it serves, as well as an easy-to-navigate and information-rich Web site for Hospice & Palliative Care Partners of Ohio.

Other organizations that have benefited from White’s expertise include the Akron Urban League, the Battered Women’s Shelter and Coming Together Akron.

Marcus Thomas LLC
Under the leadership of chairman Harvey Scholnick, advertising and public relations agency Marcus Thomas gives back to the community with a diversified approach.

The agency’s employees have helped build homes, paint murals and plant flowers to beautify Northeast Ohio. They also teach, tutor and coach students of all ages, and develop and execute marketing and communications programs and collateral materials for a host of nonprofit organizations. More than 90 percent of the company’s staff volunteers on a regular basis.

Marcus Thomas is an active participant in Business Volunteers Unlimited’s “done-in-a-day” program. Recently, nearly 25 staff members armed with paintbrushes invaded the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes to paint murals for the Cleveland Heights University Heights Public Library. The temporary murals were used as a construction fence to encircle the library’s renovation project with the goal of beautifying the area during construction.

Last year, the agency adopted a ninth grade class from Warrensville Heights High School to help students gain hands-on knowledge of the marketing communications industry.

Brott Mardis & Co.
A key practice niche for Brott Mardis & Co., an Akron-based CPA firm, is its work for nonprofit agencies. So it is little surprise that good corporate citizenship has become an integral part of its company culture.

Four years ago, Brott Mardis developed a charity golf outing that distinguishes itself from traditional nonprofit golf outing fund-raisers. Each year, teams compete in the firm’s Charity Golf Classic for one of the top three honors to win an opportunity to donate a percentage of the event’s total proceeds to the charity of their choice. The first place team is allocated 50 percent to donate, the second place team receives 30 percent and the third place team designates 20 percent of the proceeds.

Every dollar generated, from registration fees to the 50/50 raffle, is included in the total proceeds awarded to charity. In the four years of the event, Brott Mardis has raised more than $35,000 to help 10 regional nonprofit organizations.