Now it's personal Featured

7:00pm EDT November 25, 2007

When it comes time for companies to choose the recipient of their philanthropic efforts, they often pick a nonprofit organization at random. For Breehl, Traynor & Zehe, the Cleveland-based business decided to give back to a cause that had special meaning.

For the past seven years, the brand development and marketing communications firm has been actively involved in the Ohio Chapter of the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (UMDF.) This organization promotes research and education for the diagnosis, treatment and cure of mitochondrial disorders, and it also provides support to affected individuals and their families. Mitochondrial diseases are hereditary disorders that affect the cell’s ability to produce life-sustaining energy.

The firm’s executive team — which includes Rosemary Breehl, president; Tom Traynor, executive vice president and chief brand officer; and Darcy Zehe, vice president — chose this organization as its cause because Zehe’s 8-year-old son was diagnosed with the disorder in 2000.

As a company, BTZ has donated thousands of pro bono hours in support of UMDF events, providing consultative marketing communications services and creating collateral, signage, advertising and promotional products.

Zehe also serves on the board of the Ohio Chapter of the UMDF and was co-chair of the 2007 Run Wild for a Cure Race committee. Her BTZ co-workers also contributed to the race by donating money, running, cheering on participants and selling merchandise at the fund-raising tables. The race took place May 12 in the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and raised more than $194,000 for the fight against mitochondrial disease.

In addition to BTZ’s contributions and community service work with the UMDF, the firm has worked with the Salvation Army for several years to adopt a Greater Cleveland family during the Christmas season. Every year, the company has purchased about $750 in gifts for the families.

Last year, BTZ adopted a family that Zehe knew through her son’s school. One of the family’s two children was battling brain cancer and the single mother was struggling to pay the medical bills. The BTZ team purchased toys and clothes for both children and some stress-relieving gifts to help pamper their mother.

HOW TO REACH: Breehl, Traynor & Zehe, (216) 861-1500 or www.btzbrand.com