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
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 10:24

Real vision

Having spent more than 60 years growing its presence in the community, Cincinnati Eye Institute is now the largest private ophthalmology practice in the U.S. and employs more than 300 professional staff and 50 doctors. Let by CEO Clyde Bell, it provides care for more than 100,000 patients each year.

Yet the way that CEI gives back to its community is hardly limited to the care it provides to patients of its practice. Outside of the day-to-day running of the organization, doctors and staff of CEI offer their time, money and talents to help others. Many CEI doctors and staff serve on the boards of nonprofit organizations in their free time. The practice not only supports this participation but also allows employees to earn “CEI” points for their community involvement efforts, which are redeemable for prizes.

In 2006, CEI created its nonprofit charitable organization, The Cincinnati Eye Institute Foundation, as a means of strategically addressing the eye care needs of the community with the mission “to preserve and improve sight.” In addition to the $70,000 in cash donations and sponsorship dollars CEI has given to charitable organizations over the past five years, it also allocates $175,000 annually in cash and donated services to support the foundation’s operations and initiatives.

Foundation initiatives include The Dr. Richard S. Kerstine Vision Outreach Program, which provides education about eye disease in the community, and OneSight, the country’s first free eye clinic in a school-based health center. In January 2008, it also launched the region’s first free eye care clinic. The Roselawn Eye Clinic was created with the goal of treating patients who need eye care but are poor and uninsured. The majority of the clinic’s volunteering doctors, technicians, receptionists and staff are CEI employees, who have given more than 3,285 hours of time and provided more than half a million dollars of free eye care.

How to reach: Cincinnati Eye Institute, (513) 984-5133 or www.cincinnatieye.com

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 10:23

Pharmaceutical philanthropy

Both Philip Rielly and Eric Hill look to find any way they can to contribute to the worthy causes that support the patient communities the company serves. Rielly, president and co-founder, and Hill, vice president and co-founder of BioRx LLC, understand their mission as a health care provider is to give back whenever and wherever possible.

BioRx is a provider of pharmacy and infusion services for patients with rare chronic diseases. The company has provided more than 50 organizations with monetary donations or volunteer service over the past two years. A majority of the organizations BioRx looks to help are in support of hemophilia, one of the company’s most significant diseases it provides services for.

The company’s commitment to helping its patient communities has resulted in nearly $300,000 in annual contributions. BioRx employees not only donate their own money to these causes but also their personal time and effort.

Hill and several other employees volunteered their time for Save One Life, a nonprofit international organization that offers individuals, families and companies the opportunity to sponsor a child or adult with a bleeding disorder in a developing country. Their efforts included a climb to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa, last summer that helped raise more than $60,000 for the Jose Memorial Foundation of Kenya.

Hemophilia medication is hard to come by in developing countries and affected patients are often crippled or see their lives cut short by this debilitating disease. The team traveled extensively across Nairobi, Kenya, to visit patients with hemophilia and is continuing an effort to get medical supplies for hospitals in developing areas.

Through the role of its on-staff educators, nurses and consumer advocates, BioRx contributes countless hours of unpaid clinical training, educational material, workshops and presentations to members of the patient communities it serves. This includes basic disease education, school preparedness, emergency preparedness, and child and adult workshops.

HOW TO REACH: BioRx LLC, (866) 442-4679 or www.biorx.net

Published in Cincinnati
Saturday, 31 December 2011 19:17

Trail blazing

Candace Klein, founder and CEO of Bad Girl Ventures Inc., has been through a number of hardships in her life. From living on welfare as a young girl to being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2003, these hardships are what have made her who she is today and have pushed her to become the person she wants to be.

Through the president of her undergrad university, Klein was introduced to a woman named Alice Sparks. Alice asked Klein what she planned to do in life to which Klein responded, “I intend to change the world.” When asked how she said, “I would learn the law, run a successful business and run for governor in 2027.”

While she is still a ways away from hitting the campaign trail, Klein has a law degree and started a business, Bad Girl Ventures Inc., a micro-finance organization (501c3) focused on educating and financing woman-owned start-up companies. The company provides $25,000 low-interest loans, but in order to be eligible for financing, the women must first complete an eight-week curriculum of understanding personal credit, the components of a business plan, legal structuring, marketing, social media, pricing, accounting and financing options.

To date, the company has received 200 applicants for its program in Cincinnati and has educated roughly 100 women. Bad Girl Ventures has financed 18 women for a total of $310,000. Klein started very local, but recently expanded to Oxford this past spring and to Cleveland in the fall of 2011. Her next expansion will put the company in Columbus in early 2012.

Klein didn’t forget about the other 182 women who didn’t get funding. She launched SoMoLend in March 2011, which is a highly localized Web and mobile-based peer-to-peer lending technology allowing individuals to borrow from and lend to other individuals.

Klein is changing the world one woman at a time with financial help and a lifelong education.

HOW TO REACH: Bad Girl Ventures Inc., (513) 675-8500 or www.badgirlventures.com

Published in Cincinnati
Saturday, 31 December 2011 19:15

Pretty passionate

Aveda Fredric’s Institute founder, Frederic Holzberger, doesn’t believe that giving back to the community is optional. Instead, his philosophy is that serving others is “the cornerstone for being the best that you can be.” This belief that by nourishing others that you also nourish yourself is a core part of the service-driven culture Holzberger has instituted at AFI.

Students and staff of AFI, which is both a cosmetology school and Aveda retail location, give back by participating in company activities such as blood drives, volunteer days, community cleanup outings and other efforts to improve the lives of others. Under Holzberger’s leadership, students attending AFI learn how to take their talents for elevating beauty and share them in ways that impact the community in positive ways. While enrolled, they have the opportunity to participate with organizations such as Dress for Success, Franciscan Haircuts from the Heart, a Big Brother’s Big Sisters Benefit Fashion show and Project Daymaker, a program that provides haircuts for the less fortunate with a mobile salon on wheels.

When AFI employees aren’t beautifying customers, they spend time beautifying the environment through volunteerism and fundraising. The company participates in Aveda Earth Month every April to raise money for the clean water initiatives of the Ohio River Foundation and Sierra Club. In 2011, one such fundraiser consisted of providing AFI salon services on Sunday, when the business is normally closed, and donating the service dollars to Sierra Club.

Since 2002, AFI employees have also participated actively in Cincinnati’s Habitat for Humanity Habitat building projects. The AFI team has taken the lead on the organization’s sustainable homes initiative. Instead of building homes from scratch, employee volunteers work on remodeling homes with green building practices to prevent tons of building waste from being placed in landfills.

How to reach: Aveda Fredric’s Institute, (513) 533-0700 or www.avedafredricsinstitute.com

Published in Cincinnati

The Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service, presented by Smart Business, honors businesses of all types and sizes that make outstanding contribution to their community. Its purpose is to encourage a charitable enviroment, recognize creative efforts that make a difference and demonstrate the ties between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.

This year's winners will be honored at a special banquet on January 26 at The Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, OH.

But before that great event takes place, we welcome you to take a look at how these kind and selfless individuals and companies do what they do.

An introductory letter from Rick Chiricosta, President and CEO, Medical Mutual

Pillar Award for Community Service honorees:

Medical Mutual SHARE Award honoree:

Charles Penzone Salons Nonprofit Board Executive of the Year Award honorees:

Rea & Associates Executive Director of the Year Award honorees:

CVG Samaritan Award honoree:

Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award honoree:

A list of our fine sponsors

Published in Columbus
Saturday, 31 December 2011 19:09

Food for thought

In pressing times like today, where a large percentage of the American population relies on food stamps and the demand for food assistance is on the rise, AdvancePierre Foods and CEO Bill Toler responded to the need of families across the country with an inaugural companywide Volunteer Day last summer.

AdvancePierre Foods is a manufacturer of value-added proteins, philly steaks and handheld sandwiches. The company’s employees gathered on August 17 last year to partner with the Freestore Foodbank and Hamilton Living Waters Ministry Inc. to help with worthwhile projects and celebrate commitment to supporting communities where employees work, live and raise their families.

At the corporate headquarters in Cincinnati, volunteers packaged take-home food items for nearly 500 needy children as part of the PowerPack program. PowerPack provides kid-friendly, shelf-stable foods for children on Friday afternoons to ensure they have something to eat over the weekend.

The company’s volunteers also went to the Hamilton Living Waters Ministry Inc. to help get the facility ready for fall activities through yard work, panting and organizing. Living Waters works to make a positive impact on the lives of at risk children, youth and families in Hamilton’s inner city by offering academic, community and spiritual enrichment programs.

AdvancePierre didn’t just help those in need within Cincinnati. The company had hundreds of volunteers from facilities across the country donate their time to local food banks, food pantries and various food distribution sites to ensure that families receive the proper nourishment that they need.

Volunteer activities included packaging items for child feeding programs, assisting in mobile food pantry distribution, organizing and sorting items at food pantry warehouses, and fixing up local facilities with painting and maintenance projects. If all of that wasn’t enough, the company also donates thousands of pounds of product. In association with Volunteer Day, the company donated 21,000 pounds of burgers and ribs.

HOW TO REACH: AdvancePierre Foods, (800) 969-2747 or www.advancepierre.com

Published in Cincinnati