Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:39

Casting a wide net

Under the leadership of President and CEO Bernie Stevens, PowerNet Global will celebrate its 20th anniversary in the telecommunications industry this year. What makes this achievement even more significant is that the Fairfield, Ohio-based company continues to operate and live by the same values it was founded on in 1992. That includes a commitment to taking care of its customers and also its local communities.

Many organizations have benefited from the financial contributions of the PowerNet as well as the personal contributions of individual employees.

PowerNet continually gives back a percentage of its profits to support local communities and ministries around the world. The company’s Global Social Committee also hosts events and fundraisers that consist of fun and often team-driven activities throughout the year. This gives the company’s employees opportunities to support local charities as well as build a spirit of camaraderie with colleagues. Some examples include sponsoring employees to participate in the “Heart Mini Marathon Run or Walk” each spring and hosting a companywide “Biggest Loser Contest,” from which half of the proceeds went to the Fairfield Food Pantry. Last summer, the committee also put on a series of summer social events for employees that included activities and incentives such as free ice cream and poker walks to motivate employees as well as a canned food drive.

PowerNet also encourages its employees to give freely to their local communities outside of work, whether it’s through financial donations, fundraising or volunteering time. Employees of PowerNet participate in a variety of charitable organizations, including the American Heart Association, The Healing Center, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and others. To support people in their individual efforts, the company offers employees “Charitable PTO,” which allows them to allocate up to eight hours of time on their calendar annually to give back to their preferred charities and nonprofit organizations.

How to reach: PowerNet Global, (800) 860-9495 or www.powernetglobal.com

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:34

In it together

When Tracie Metzger was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 30, she went through a journey that included multiple treatments and surgeries. Yet even with the help and support of her family, she still wished there had been an opportunity to connect with other young women like herself. As a young survivor, Metzger created Pink Ribbon Girls with the mission of helping other young women with breast cancer by offering this network of support for them and their families from diagnosis, through treatment and recovery.

With its national, searchable database, Pink Ribbon Girls helps women with breast cancer connect and share their experiences with one another. By offering a forum where these women can share their experiences and get answers to their questions, the organization shows them that they are not in it alone. Metzger knows that bringing hope and a positive outlook to women with breast cancer is incredibly important, especially when they are first diagnosed and may be facing a dark time in their lives.

In October 2011, Pink Ribbon Girls celebrated its 10th anniversary. What began as several small coffee shop gatherings has grown into a national network through which more than 1,000 women come together to find woman-to-woman support, comfort and education.

As the organization has grown, so have the services that it is able to provide to the young women it serves. Through fundraising initiatives such as merchandise sales and charity events, Metzger, the organization’s executive director, leads its efforts as the co-founder and executive director, working to inspire every person to become a supporter of women with breast cancer. Today, Pink Ribbon Girls is also able to provide resources such as meals, cleaning services and even babysitting for many women who badly need these services during diagnosis and treatment. The organization also offers educational grants to survivors who are inspired to learn more about breast cancer.

How to reach: Pink Ribbon Girls, (513) 207-7975 or www.pinkribbongirls.com

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:30

A helping hand

Joseph S. Byrum has served Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries in a management capacity for more than 34 years. As president and CEO since 1979, Byrum has expanded the organization’s programs and services to meet community needs.

During his tenure, Ohio Valley Goodwill has served more than 50,000 men and women with disabilities or disadvantages and helped a significant percent to obtain economic self-sufficiency. Examples of programs and services implemented by Byrum toward this end include the creation of the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program in the early ’90s, exponential growth in facility- and community-based services for individuals with developmental disabilities in the past 20 years and the launch of the award-winning Center for Advocacy, Recreation and Education (CARE) program.

Under Byron’s leadership, Ohio Valley Goodwill has also recently opened six new satellite work training centers, initiated the launch of a recreation/leisure program in Butler County, supported the development of the PAC program to provide job placement services and initiated a new youth mentoring program in collaboration with Goodwill International Industries.

To fund programs and services, Ohio Valley Goodwill operates 16 retail stores and has 28 donation center locations throughout the greater Cincinnati area, numbers grown under Byrum’s direction. The organization has also launched the most successful Goodwill Auto Auction program in the country. These efforts have allowed Goodwill’s employment and training programs to increase by more than 30 percent in the past three years, despite a challenging economic climate. In 2010 alone, the organization provided services to almost 3,000 persons with disabilities and veterans.

Byrum’s commitment to ongoing quality improvement practices has maintained Ohio Valley Goodwill’s excellent reputation within its community. The organization has received 12 consecutive CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) Accreditations, the most recent of which places Ohio Valley Goodwill in the top three percent of similar organizations nationwide.

How to reach: Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries, (513) 771-4800 or www.cincinnatigoodwill.org

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:26

Committed to the community

Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL maintains a commitment to the economic development initiatives that help keep downtown Cincinnati a great place for businesses, as well as an affordable destination for family entertainment. Toward that end, Managing Partner Paul Muething and his team at KMK partner with local organizations that advance the community and its inhabitants.

An example of KMK’s commitment to the vibrancy of downtown Cincinnati is the law firm’s partnership with Fountain Square Management Group, a subsidiary of 3CDC, to put on the Wednesday Evening Concert Series at Fountain Square. This 16-week series features a wide variety of reggae bands, and was offered free of charge to the community and downtown visitors.

KMK also dedicates significant support to helping members of the community in need. It partners with a variety of local organizations, such as St. Aloysius Orphanage. KMK’s contribution to the St. Aloysius Companies 4 Kids Golf Classic will assist in its mission to provide services to thousands of children and families touched by mental, behavioral and cognitive disabilities in the greater Cincinnati area.

The firm has financially supported various other local charities, schools and civic organizations, with more than $500,000 contributed in the past two years. Members and employees of the firm contributed an additional $104,000 to The United Way and $50,000 to ArtsWave. Putting in time as well as money, KMK attorneys and staff average more than 5,000 volunteer hours per year.

As part of this volunteer effort, KMK puts its employees’ legal skills to good use. Last year, over half of the firm’s attorneys donated a total of more than 3,300 pro bono hours of service to charitable organizations. Involved with the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, KMK attorneys contributed approximately 500 hours of service to Volunteer Lawyers Project cases.

How to reach: Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL, (513) 579-6400 or www.kmklaw.com

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:22

Empowering employees

KDM P.O.P. Solutions Group strives for a culture of giving back that embraces employees, as well as the community. A premiere point-of-purchase and retail printing, fabrication and fulfillment company, KDM has enacted company-funded programs to assist employees in their personal lives.

The KDM Dream Makers Program, started in 2008, was created to help employees identify and achieve their goals and dreams. Approximately 150 employees participated in this program in 2011, meeting with a Dream Pro throughout the year — on company time — to work on goal setting and how to achieve those goals. The Dream Pros provide resources to enable employees to reach their set goals, whether that is continuing education or purchasing a new home.

The company, led by President Robert Kissel, also offers a hardship loan to employees having trouble with medical expenses or who have other hardships causing them to be able to meet financial commitments. KDM has provided funds to help employees pay for funerals of loved ones, as well. In 2011, KDM granted four hardship loans and made contributions to help two employees pay for funerals.

In addition to these internal programs, KDM keeps the needs of employees — both current and former — at heart when its service committee designs fundraisers to support a variety of local nonprofits. In 2011, the company raised $3,760 for the American Heart Association through a bake sale, raffle and company and employee donations. The company walked for AHA in honor of a former employee.

KDM walked for ALS in 2011, also in honor of another former employee battling the disease. The company raised $2,700 to support the Walk for ALS, holding fundraisers such as a bake sale, grill out and T-shirt sale. KDM also provided an expense-paid trip to Marco Island for the former employee and his wife the week prior to the walk.

How to reach: KDM P.O.P. Solutions Group, (513) 769-3500 or www.kdmpop.com

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:17

Laying the foundation

Since he started as a board member 13 years ago, Steve Eder has continued to increase his involvement with Junior Achievement OKI Partners Inc.’s Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Chapter over the years. As chairman of the organization today, Eder leads by example through his strong commitment to its mission, driving others to help the community’s youth succeed.

Eder personally invests his time and resources to grow the scope and impact of JA programs. In addition to his responsibilities as chairman, he has served as a role model to more than 300 students by participating as JA classroom volunteer for more than 10 years.

Spending time in second- and third-grade classrooms at Bond Hill Elementary, a Cincinnati public school near his company, Messer Construction Co., he works closely with at-risk students to lead a third-grade JA program called “Our City.” The curriculum allows the students to explore different jobs and their skill sets by doing projects such as actually building a city, publishing their own newspaper and even creating their own restaurant.

Eder’s dedication has also inspired many other employees at Messer — where Eder is an operations vice president — to get involved in JA’s community initiatives. As a result, the company has raised funding dollars for numerous JA events such as its Business Hall of Fame, the JA Breakfast and the JA Bowl-A-Thon. Under Eder’s leadership, Messer employees have donated more than $12,000 per year through the JA Bowl-A-Thon with an average of 15 teams for each of the last ten years. The company also hosts JA students each year for its nationwide Job Shadow day, when employees spend the day educating students about career opportunities and professional skills. Today, approximately 30 of the company’s employees now volunteer with the Bond Hill Academy (BHS) Partners in Education Program, acting as tutors, mentors and classroom volunteers for students.

How to reach: Junior Achievement OKI Partners Inc., (513) 346-7100 or www.japartners.org

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 10:51

Charitable investments

Most companies these days look to give to charitable causes whether it is through volunteering time and talent or giving donations, but rarely do you find that more than 50 percent of a company gets involved. For Timothy Johnson, founder, president and CEO of Johnson Investment Counsel Inc., a provider of comprehensive investment management and financial advisory services, 50 percent employee participation would be subpar.

Among the company’s employees, 78 percent of them volunteer their time to more than 144 different nonprofit organizations, churches or schools. All members of Johnson Investment Counsel believe in being an active member in your community and giving back in order to thrive as a company. It is this level of devotion that has made charitable giving part of the company’s culture.

The company encourages all of its employees to get involved in local organizations for the betterment of the community and provides support to employees who choose to join the boards of these types of community organizations. The company makes sure to help employees in these positions by providing monetary support as well as time during the business day to attend meetings and organizational events.

The company also has put in place a Corporate Citizenship Committee to get the business involved in the community through service projects. The committee helps arrange everything from serving dinner at the Ronald McDonald House, building a playground at a local YMCA, to spreading mulch for neighborhood associations.

The company doesn’t just sustain the interests of its employees regarding community service; it encourages clients, as well. Created in 2004, the Johnson Charitable Gift Fund enables clients to create and manage endowments and donor-advised funds. From 2007 to date, more than $22 million has been given to nonprofit organizations from this entity alone. More than a quarter of a billion dollars are held in 365 charitable trusts, endowments, foundations and other charitable accounts that have been directed to charity by Johnson Investment Counsel’s clients.

HOW TO REACH: Johnson Investment Counsel Inc., (513) 661-3100 or www.johnsoninv.com

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 10:49

Creative community outreach

Dave Conway, president and CEO of iSqFt/Construction Software Technologies, supports a community outreach committee that engages employees to give back to the community through a variety of outreach initiatives. This committee evaluates and directs fundraisers and outreach activities based upon employee requests and the needs of local organizations.

The preconstruction bidding software company hosts a number of creative fundraisers to raise money that the community outreach committee can use toward local organizations, such as a monthly restaurant program, candy grams for Valentine’s Day, competitive penny wars, and chili and salsa contests.

Of the organizations the company supports, iSqFt considers Boys Hope Girls Hope of Cincinnati its “adopted” cause. The company has raised thousands of dollars to further BHGH’s mission to identify gifted children who face economic barriers and offer help and hope to families looking to break the cycle of poverty.

iSqFt is a direct corporate sponsor for the Annual Boys Hope Girls Hope Gala, and also supports their Annual Golf Outing Fundraiser. The company funds BHGH’s Thanksgiving feasts each year for members and their families, as well. But iSqFt goes beyond supporting BHGH events. It creates initiatives of its own.

The company sponsors families in the Cincinnati area that are in need during the holidays each year, with this last year focusing on BHGH members’ families. Through a giving tree program, iSqFt facilitated donation of presents from employees to BHGH members and their families. Employees also met BHGH student needs this year by collecting school supplies.

iSqFt’s Flower Sales fundraiser through the Natorp’s Garden Center in Cincinnati, held annually the week before Mother’s Day, generates hundreds of dollars to fund the Boys Hope Girls Hope Graduation Celebration. This event, occurring every June, is the company’s way of providing a stress-free celebration for BHGH graduates — many of whom are the first to graduate high school or college in their family.

How to reach: iSqFt/Construction Software Technologies, (800) 364-2059 or www.isqft.com

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 10:46

Truckin’ on

In December 2010, Dan Regenold, CEO of Frame USA Inc., a wholesale manufacturer of picture frames, had a vision. He wanted to fill an entire 54-foot semitruck for a charity. He knew this would be a big undertaking, but one for a great cause that people could get behind.

He put together a team of giving coordinators, consisting of packers, donation collectors, marketing and public relations professionals, and more, to help coordinate this event in under 30 days. By the end of December, Frame USA ended up needing a second truck because it overfilled the semi. This resulted in 833 boxes and 30-plus skids equaling more than 22,200 donations.

The truck didn’t end there. To Regenold, the truck represented more than donations. It represented hope, life, and a second chance for people within his community who were down on their luck. It was at that point that the truck became a catalyst, ultimately giving birth to what is now called “Fill the Truck.”

Currently, Fill the Truck encompasses a broad spectrum of community service and charitable initiatives. Fill the Truck coordinates a charity of the month program on the Frame USA’s website where a percentage of all sales and customer donations help support a different charity each month. And, of course, at the end of the year, they fill another 54-foot semitruck to maximum capacity and beyond.

Since 2006, the company has designated one or two nonprofits to sponsor as part of its charity of the month program. Through this process the company has built long-lasting relationships and partners to provide assistance to its community on both a local and national level.

The company’s efforts through its website generate roughly $1,500 a month for the charities the company supports. In 2011, Regenold and Frame USA hope to keep filling the truck and someday have multiple trucks filled in multiple locations.

HOW TO REACH: Frame USA Inc., (513) 250-4105 or www.frameusa.com

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 10:43

Lending a hand

As a person committed to community involvement himself, Stuart Aitken, CEO of dunnhumbyUSA, a consumer data analysis company, allows employees to choose what programs and organizations they get behind as a business.

The philosophy has lead to the formation of the company’s Helping Hands program in 2006. The mission is to organize and support activities for dunnhumby employees and their families, allowing them to make a difference to local communities through their gifts of time, talent and financial contributions. The program has been so successful in Cincinnati that dunnhumbyUSA’s offices in Chicago, Atlanta and New York actively participate in national and local activities.

The program has grown so much and garnered so much support from employees that it is a part of the company culture and is now being developed in the company’s global offices. One of the key differentiations of the Helping Hands program is that employees vote to select the charities that the company will support for the year. In the fall, charities are nominated by employees and put to vote. The charities must be recognized by the IRS, maximize the financial resources of the company and provide opportunities for everyone to volunteer.

Employee participation runs Helping Hands. A team is assigned to manage the relationship with each charitable organization to determine where the need is, establish goals and accomplish great things for all involved.

In 2011, dunnhumby focused on seven charities: American Cancer Society, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, SPCA Cincinnati, Freestore Foodbank, Ronald McDonald House, Drop Inn Center and Women Helping Women. Since October 2010 to the end of 2011 about half of dunnhumby’s 450 employees have participated in Helping Hands events, the group has organized 18 events in that time, approximately 1,340 volunteer hours were recorded, and $45,000 was awarded to charities the company supports through fundraising and corporate donations.

HOW TO REACH: dunnhumby USA, (513) 632-1020 or www.dunnhumby.com/us

Published in Cincinnati