Supporting philanthropic efforts Featured

9:33am EDT July 22, 2002

Medical Mutual of Ohio

As one of Ohio's largest health care insurance providers, Medical Mutual of Ohio devotes its community service efforts toward health-related and educational issues.

Last year, the company was a major sponsor of the MS Walk for the Multiple Sclerosis Society and the American Heart Association Heart Walk.

The co-founder and title sponsor of the Pillar Award for Community Service, Medical Mutual contributed 92 volunteers to the Meals On Wheels program and provided Christmas gifts for 210 underprivileged children.

"We're a long-time Cleveland company," says Jared Chaney, Medical Mutual's vice president of corporate communications. "The health and well-being of a community is what our business is all about."

Under the leadership of its S.H.A.R.E. volunteer committee, which stands for Share, Help, Aid, Reach and Educate, the company encourages its 2,500 employees to get involved in causes they support. In upper management, 27 executives serve on 48 nonprofit and charitable boards.

Xerox Connect

The impact of community service hit Xerox Connect employees last year when they treated 65 children from one of Cleveland's YMCA centers to a Cleveland Cavaliers game and dinner at Gund Arena.

"When it was all done, we had a couple of the employees here with tears in their eyes because the kids had such a good time," says Dave Fazekas, Xerox Connect Great Lakes Region vice president. "They were hugging them when they were leaving. A good number of these kids had never been to a Cavs game before."

Xerox Connect, an information technology consulting, outsourcing and systems integration subsidiary of Xerox, also provided technical expertise to set up computer kiosks free of charge at the Great Lakes Nature Center in Bay Village. Projects like these are not only the right thing to do, but good for the company, Fazekas says.

"It makes the employees feel good to see good things happening, and we can make a mark within the community," he says.

Xerox Connect is in its second year of sponsorship for the Pillar Award.

Mars Employment

Mars Employment contributed its job hunting and placement expertise to help residents at the Women in Transitional Housing center in Cleveland. By teaching the women resume writing, interview skills and personal presentation, Mars Employment helped give them a second chance at life.

"We should give back because I think we're so fortunate," says Marilyn R. Sims, president of Mars Employment. "We've been very lucky, but I don't know that it's all luck; a lot of times you have to do it yourself."

Other than providing job-hunting skills, Mars gives employees time off to help clean and paint rooms in the women's shelter in between tenants. Sims also sits on the board of directors.

"I didn't want to be the kind of a person who sits on the board of directors and not know what really happens," she says.

Mars Employment is involved in annual events to raise money for Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and the Ronald McDonald House. This is its first year of involvement with the Pillar Award program.

COSE

The environment you work in is important to all businesses, big and small. COSE knows this. Its been helping Cleveland-area small business owners with health insurance and purchasing programs since 1972.

"I think that we are out there every day with lots of players trying to make this place a better place to live, and a better place to work," says Steve Millard, executive director of COSE. "It's important to recognize the efforts of businesses of all sizes. But when you look at some of the smaller businesses whose efforts sometimes go unnoticed, it's good to be able to highlight some of the interesting things they're doing."

COSE, a nonprofit organization, is designed to be a resource. Not only does it provide resources for its members, nonmember companies also receive COSE's help, so the organization can try to improve the places they work and live.

Outside the company, employees provide tutoring for local elementary schools and speak for Junior Achievement. COSE also encourages them to get involved in local boards and helps them schedule time for community service efforts.

This is COSE's first year of involvement with the Pillar Award.

Renaissance Worldwide

Renaissance Worldwide, an information technology and business consulting firm, formed The Renaissance Community Project in October 1996 and has contributed to the efforts of more than 150 charities, including The American Cancer Society, The Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Make-a-Wish Foundation, American Ireland Fund, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and others.

Though many are national charities, the company encourages participation in local causes such as homeless shelters, schools, community arts programs and food pantries.

"Part of our culture has always been an awareness of our community and a dedication to contribute to its well-being," says Melissa Blatnik, Ohio branch recruiting manager for Renaissance Worldwide. "We encourage the participation of our employees, families, consultants, business associates and friends in making a difference in our world."

This is Renaissance Worldwide's first year of involvement with the Pillar Award.