A clear mission Featured

7:00am EDT November 26, 2002
Cleveland Glass Block has quite a reputation in Euclid. The company and its employees work with, or donate to, two dozen local nonprofit organizations and community projects, including El Barrio, the Spanish American Committee, Habitat for Humanity and Orien, an organization serving the unemployed.

Cleveland Glass Block's CEO Michael Foti says the philanthropic corporate culture comes in large part from his employees, because he surrounds himself with people who have strong values.

"It goes back to hiring philosophy ... There are two key elements to hiring-- one is competency and the other is values," says Foti. "If we hire good human beings that are competent, we have winners. We're not looking for human capital -- we're looking for good people."

Foti's management style is hands-on, but he isn't hesitant to turn the company's service programs over to his employees. That gives him more time for his passion -- working on nonprofit boards in the areas of education and regional development.

Foti says that as an entrepreneur, there never seems to be enough time to do it all,but he also believes running a business is more than just the bottom line -- it's being a part of the community.

"When I'm gone, people aren't going to remember how much money I made," says Foti. "All the stuff, all the assets, they'll just get split up. What they do remember is your time, your effort, your touch, whatever that touch may have been."

One company-sponsored program brings employees together for a day of voluntary service. Last year's Day of Caring was spent with children of the Berea Children's Home at their Community Respite Summer Camp, with nearly 100 percent participation from Glass Block employees.

Foti says that as a smaller company, Glass Block's programs have to be creative. Funds are limited, but with devoted, dedicated employees, ideas are abundant.

In 2001, the company contributed to the Cleveland Bridge Builders, Euclid High School, Coats for Kids, the Bellflower Center for Abuse, Providence House, the Euclid Fire Department, the Cleveland Food Bank, Harvest for Hunger and the Jain Society of Cleveland.

Its employee commitment proves that any size company can make a difference. How to reach: Cleveland Glass Block, (216) 531-6363.