Medical Mutual, along with our co-founding Pillar Award partner SBN, proudly presents the 15th annual Pillar Awards.

In this issue, we honor 31 finalists representing a diverse group of companies and organizations of varying sizes. While they may be different in many ways, one thing that they all have in common is their commitment to strengthening the bond between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.

There is also a new Pillar Award category for 2012. We will present our first Youth Philanthropy awards, which demonstrate how philanthropy reaches well beyond the traditional corporate sector.

It occurred to us many years ago that few things are more meaningful and important than investing time and resources in supporting our community, and we felt the need to honor companies and their employees who have gone above and beyond the call. While support and direction come from management, companies are only as great as their employees.

For that reason, we are quite proud to present the Medical Mutual SHARE Award. This unique award was founded to recognize companies whose employees best exemplify the ideals of Medical Mutual’s own employee SHARE Committee. SHARE stands for serve, help, aid, reach and educate, and it is the heart and soul of Medical Mutual’s charitable giving effort.

The SHARE Committee, made up of Medical Mutual employee volunteers, helps coordinate more than two-dozen community events involving nearly half of the company’s 2,500 employees.

On behalf of Medical Mutual and SBN, we hope you enjoy reading about these great companies and we offer congratulations to all of our Pillar Award recipients.

Rick Chiricosta is president and CEO of Medical Mutual.

Published in Akron/Canton

Kevin Goodman has jumped into his support of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with everything that he can give. He joined the charity’s Northern Ohio Board of Trustees in 2009 and is now a vice president on the executive committee.

Since his first day with the group, Goodman understood his role and how much he could bring to the charity’s effort to help those with leukemia or lymphoma.

Through his role as managing director of business development and partner with BlueBridge Networks, Goodman can leverage his contacts and bring in resources to help with the cause.

He can take the stories that he hears from meeting people with various forms of blood cancer and share those stories with others to raise awareness. His kind heart and sense of doing whatever he can to help people serves him well as gives those touched by the disease a glimmer of hope for the future.

But as valuable as that cause is, it’s not the only one to which Goodman gives his time and talents. BlueBridge is also a big supporter of the American Red Cross of Greater Cleveland.

The company and charitable organization recently worked in partnership to increase awareness for emergency preparedness, something that has proven to be incredibly timely given the effects of Hurricane Sandy in late October.

But once again, that’s not all. Goodman has joined with Greater Cleveland Partnership, the largest private-sector economic development organization in Ohio, to give the agency the means to be an even better toward creating jobs and helping businesses grow in Northeast Ohio.

Goodman brings passion, excitement and energy to everything he does and takes great joy in seeing the difference that he and BlueBridge have been able to make in their community.

 

How to reach: BlueBridge Networks, (216) 367-7580 or www.bluebridgenetworks.com

Published in Akron/Canton

Tara Coury began her volunteer work at the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center of Cleveland when she was a freshman at Magnificat High School and used her skills as an artist to work with an art therapy group. She soon became more interested in the work at the center to help the children deal with the stresses of domestic violence and was inspired to find a way to make more of an impact.

Coury realized she could blend her passion for art with her goal to impact the organization. She developed a group of characters who had psychological profiles similar to the children she worked with at the center and wrote a story around them. She painted pictures and hand-lettered text to accompany them. Her book was a hit with the children and adults at the center.

Tara decided to turn the story into a real children’s book to raise money for the center. She found a local publisher, and the paintings and text were turned into a hardcover children’s book. An initial print run of 1,000 full-color books was completed in October 2011.

Her efforts to market the book were more successful than she dreamed. She and her book were featured on television, radio and in a variety of publications in Northeast Ohio. Sales of her book, “The Safe House,” have helped Tara generate more than $14,000 — all of which has been donated to the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center of Cleveland.

Today, one year later, Tara is a freshman at Barnard College at Columbia University in New York City. She has been using the book as a platform for her cause — to promote awareness of domestic violence.

Her book is available on Amazon.com, as well as numerous bookstores — including the Barnard bookstore.

 

How to reach: Tara Coury, (440) 821-5821 or donnacoury@me.com

Published in Akron/Canton

You can tell who is involved in the All Kids Relay for Life Team just by looking at the name. The team is all children, but they are not just any children — they are well-rounded, driven kids who would do everything in their power to better their society.

“Our teammates are considered the brightest students and most down-to-earth individuals,” says Cal DiJulius, team co-captain with Taylor Banc. “All Kids gives children the chance to better their community, build their personalities and work with others in an innovative way found nowhere else.”

The team was created in 2008 in memory of a dear friend of the Aurora community who lost his battle with cancer. A group of children decided they needed to do something to help the American Cancer’s Society search for a cure for cancer. Ten children got together and formed “All Kids.”

Today, that number has grown to 35. For the past five years, the team has participated in the American Cancer Society-Aurora, Ohio, Relay for Life event, raising funds that are directly donated to the society.

But the largest fundraiser is The Spa Day Event, an opportunity to receive luxury spa services while donating to the society. Local Cleveland salon John Roberts Spa donates its staff and sets up an on-site spa. The event also offers a large variety of displays from local retailers. Merchants come from all around to set up stores as they sell to donors. They also agree to donate a percentage of their proceeds to The American Cancer Society.

The team partners with some of the country’s biggest names in business including Saks Fifth Avenue, Akron General Hospital, Ohio State Waterproofing, Nordstrom, ClearChoice Custom Lasik Centers, The DiJulius Group, John Roberts Spa and many others.

 

How to reach: All Kids Relay for Life Team, (330) 998-5504 or www.relayforlife.org

Published in Akron/Canton

Leading Clevelanders had community service at the forefront of their minds when they met a century and a half ago to establish what would become University Hospitals. But even the most civic-minded among them could scarcely have imagined the scope, impact and creativity of the community service they seeded in 1866.

With its health care network of physicians, hospitals and outpatient facilities, University Hospitals and its flagship academic medical center are renowned for producing clinical research and innovations and educating the next generation of physicians, nurses and health care professionals.

Guided by CEO Thomas F. Zenty III, University Hospitals contributed more than $267 million in services and funding to benefit its community in 2011. These benefits include nearly $140 million in free and subsidized medical care for Northeast Ohio’s neediest residents. Yet today, UH’s community impact extends far beyond its traditional role as a charity-care safety net.

UH trains tomorrow’s medical professionals. It conducts life-saving research to discover therapies and cures for society’s most vexing illnesses. It uses its resources to reach out to its communities to improve health. And University Hospitals is using its civic and economic power as an anchor institution in new ways to revitalize its community and create prosperity.

UH’s board and leadership have emerged as national leaders in local community service. This is enlightened self-interest. Promoting the most vibrant and livable region and the strongest possible economy makes Northeast Ohio more appealing to residents — who are University Hospitals’ customers — and to professionals that UH seeks to recruit and retain.

University Hospitals also sees this work as an extension of its historic civic commitment and an extension of its mission: to heal, to teach and to discover.

 

How to reach: University Hospitals, (216) 844-1000 or www.uhhospitals.org

Published in Akron/Canton

SS&G is committed to making its communities a better place to live and work. As a firm, SS&G understands that its success would not be possible without these communities and their businesses and residents.

Led by managing directors Gary Shamis and Mark Goldfarb, SS&G donates thousands of hours to pro bono work, providing accounting services to a diverse group of nonprofit organizations. In addition, more than a quarter of SS&G’s staff members serve on nonprofit boards in a leadership capacity, and three-fourths of the company’s staff volunteer for a nonprofit organization or one of its committees.

In addition, SS&G is dedicated to helping its many nonprofit clients by doing more than providing accounting and tax services. Among the organizations SS&G supports are Alex’s Lemonade Stand, the ALS Association, the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, the Arthritis Foundation, the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Annual Tax Call-In, Community Shares, the Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Foundation, local domestic violence shelters, local food banks including the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank and the Cleveland Foodbank, Harvest for Hunger, local humane societies including the Geauga Humane Society’s Rescue Village, Juvenile Diabetes, the Ohio Society of CPAs’ Accounting for Kids Day, Recovery Resources, the Akron Marathon, Stewart’s Caring Place and the United Way.

Examples of SS&G’s hands-on community participation include American Red Cross of Summit County Community Dinner, the Caring for Kids Inc. Program, St. Vincent DePaul’s Adopt-A-Family, the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program, The Littlest Heroes, Huckleberry House, the Ohio Society of CPAs “Operation CPA,” the American Diabetes Association’s Step Out Walk to Fight Diabetes, the OSCPA’s Accounting for Kids Day, Habitat for Humanity of Summit County, and the “Have a Heart, Do Your Part” Radiothon.

 

How to reach: SS&G, (440) 248-8787 or www.ssandg.com

Published in Akron/Canton
Friday, 30 November 2012 19:00

2012 Pillar Awards: Sponsors

The sponsors of the 2012 Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service support the program because they believe in its mission — to recognize the critical tie between the for-profit and nonprofit communities. Here is a little bit about each of this year’s sponsors.

 

Rea & Associates Inc.

Giving back to the community isn’t something we do just because it makes us look good. It’s an integral part of the culture at Rea & Associates. Almost all of our team members are involved with their communities in some way, either donating their time for special projects or serving as leaders in organizations that are important to them.

And if you were to stop one of these employees on the street and ask if they could describe the values that this firm lives by, they would all refer to “The Rea Way” — our value statement. Different parts of the statement resonate with different employees, but one of the lines that best describes the attitude and culture of this firm reads: “Invest in your family, your community and your future.”

That mission is top-of-mind in a number of ways. An annual food drive creates excitement and a healthy competitive spirit, as we see which of our 11 offices can round up the most food to donate to community food pantries. And employees get involved by suggesting community outreach projects and requesting donations for particular organizations through the Rea Foundation.

And then there’s a special group of employees who are so dedicated to helping nonprofit organizations succeed that they have dedicated their careers to it. They specialize in providing services to the not-for-profit industry and enjoy the challenge of understanding the increasing demands these organizations and their board members face. We’re proud to be a partner in our clients’ successes.

Congratulations and best wishes for continued success to this year’s Pillar honorees.

Learn more at www.reacpa.com.

 

Fairmount Minerals

At Fairmount Minerals, our mission is to conduct business in a way that respects people and the environment while working toward increasing the prosperity of our shareholders, employees, customers, communities and the global environment. Therefore, connecting with our communities and our longstanding commitment to corporate social responsibility is vitally important as we ensure that the stakeholders we touch receive the resources they need to live and prosper.

When companies discuss corporate social responsibility, it is often in terms of social or philanthropic efforts — where does the company donate to the community? Do employees volunteer for any organizations? But, for Fairmount Minerals, it is strategic corporate social responsibility. This encompasses a much broader scope of work. We have adopted socially responsible practices — not only investing in charitable organizations, but we have policies and procedures in place that value the employee and all stakeholders. For Fairmount Minerals, the “people” aspect of the “3 P’s” (people, planet and prosperity) translates into respectful business practices, attention to stakeholder needs and responsible operations.

Fairmount’s social investment policy guides our actions with respect to charitable donations and corporate volunteerism. Fairmount Minerals supports community investment through cash grants, in-kind donations and corporate volunteer efforts. Fairmount Minerals commits to donate a minimum of 1.5 percent of its pretax/pre-equity earnings annually through financial, volunteer and in-kind support of not-for-profit organizations.

Our company is only as strong as the communities in which we operate. Thriving communities help pave the way for a brighter, more prosperous future. At Fairmount Minerals, connecting with our communities is vitally important to supporting our business sustainability — and making a difference in the world.

Learn more about www.fairmountminerals.com.

 

Ganley BMW

Ganley BMW has been serving Middleburg Heights, Cleveland, Akron, Elyria and Strongsville since 1999, and we have been an official BMW franchise since 1986. Giving back is part of our corporate culture. Last year, Ganley BMW celebrated its 25th anniversary and is proud to be an automotive leader in our community. Since opening our doors, Ganley BMW has maintained a solid commitment to you, our customers, offering the widest selection of BMW vehicles and ease of purchase. Over the past 25 years-plus, we have been in business, we have never been a stranger to philanthropic efforts. Our owner and founder has been involved with Crime Stoppers since its foundation. The dealership chain has also helped wounded police officers and their families in times of need. Philanthropy is truly woven into the very fabric of what we do every day.

For more information, visit www.ganleybmw.com.

 

Colortone Staging & Rentals

Colortone Staging & Rentals is a premier audiovisual and staging company with expertise in event design and production. We stage a multitude of events, including corporate meetings, awards banquets, special events, trade shows, concerts, webcasts and videoconferences. CSR also manages audiovisual equipment for hotel properties and operates a full-service equipment rental division. The solutions we provide, combined with our highly trained technical staff, ensure the success of every event. Our quality is unmatched and our attention to detail is unsurpassed.

The staff at CSR consists of the best in the business. Our technicians have an average of five years in the audiovisual and event management business. Their diverse backgrounds allow us to think on our feet, act quickly and provide flexibility and creative problem solving to every situation we find.

The company is also an active member of the community, consistently finding ways to give back where it can.

Learn more at www.colortone.com.

 

LaCentre Conference & Banquet Facility

LaCentre Conference & Banquet Facility has quickly built a solid reputation as the premier venue for hosting full-service conferences, special events and business meetings. Our world-class facility has embraced elegance, high-tech communications and delectable culinary creations to assure your event is an absolute success. Numerous nonprofit organizations hold their charity fundraisers each year at our facilities, providing their guests with unparalleled ambiance.

LaCentre’s creativity extends to its technology, atmosphere, capability, flexibility, form and taste. Our dedicated and devoted staff provides clients with a positive and enriching experience with more than 25,000 square feet of meeting space to accommodate events of nearly any size.

For more information, visit www.lacentre.com.

 

Clark-Reliance

Clark-Reliance’s corporate philosophy on philanthropy starts from the top down. Chairman Matthew Figgie and President and CEO Rick Solon not only engage employees in corporate philanthropy but lead by example.

A 2011 winner of the Pillar Award, Clark-Reliance has been engaged in numerous awareness and fundraising campaigns including the National Kidney Walk for several years.

A cause close to home, Matthew received a kidney from co-worker Dave McKee in 2009. Not knowing how to thank him, Matthew asked Dave what he possibly could do in return. Dave replied, “Because of who you are, who you know and what you do, you are going to be able to reach hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. Help them. Heal them. Fix them.”

In 2012, Clark Reliance raised enough money to make Cleveland the second-largest walk in the country, surpassing Baltimore, Silicon Valley and Long Island.

Clark-Reliance employees turned out in record number to support this cause and raise awareness of the importance of awareness and prevention of kidney disease.

A family-environment, Clark-Reliance relies on employees’ suggestions for causes to support and to make a difference. Whether it is giving to the community where they work, or to a cause that is important to an employee or their family member, Clark-Reliance rallies around employees and organizations that are important to them.

Building a culture that embodies a giving heart required building a culture that is like a family. Clark-Reliance cultivates a family environment in which they do extracurricular activities together (such as bowling leagues and outings to Cedar Point). Also, many of the employees have been with the company for an extended period of time, so much that they have a club of employees who have been employed with Clark-Reliance for 20 years or more, some employees for more than 50 years.

Because of the familial environment, employees tend to be passionate about work or any cause relating to work or to the importance of a co-worker. Employees are willing to give of their time, expertise and ideas to impact an organization that needs the engagement of the company.

 

Hyndsight Productions

Hyndsight Productions is committed to serving Northeast Ohio by using its talents to advance philanthropic organizations throughout the region.

Through authentic storytelling and creative packaging in video format, Hyndsight believes in the power of story to advance philanthropic organizations — their missions, goals and communities.

Hyndsight demonstrates its community service by offering its time and talent to organizations in Northeast Ohio in need of authentic communication of their goals, key messages and impact.

From strengthening the region to helping underserved populations to supporting the strong artistic community in Cleveland, Hyndsight Productions is proud to be a part of advancing and progressing Northeast Ohio.

Published in Akron/Canton

Smith Medical Transportation Systems Inc. is the corporate sponsor for the American Red Cross Muskingum Lakes Chapter’s Automated External Defibrillator program, which has so far distributed 200 AEDs. The goal is to provide a defibrillator to every location that has a fire extinguisher in the county.

“Of all the things we do, this is the most important one because it can immediately save someone’s life,” said Robert Smith, CEO of Smith Medical Transportation Systems.

Eight years ago, Smith was also instrumental in negotiating MedFlight operations to Tuscarawas County, which faced an uphill battle trying to locate the service to a rural community. The service remains in a partnership with MedFlight to provide rapid response to critically ill or injured patients.

Among the many organizations that have benefited from Smith Medical Transportation Systems’ service, in addition to the Medflight and the Muskingum Lakes Chapter of the American Red Cross mentioned above, are New Philadelphia’s First Town Days community festival; Dover’s Canal Days community festival; Baltic’s Homecoming community festival; Personal and Family Counseling; Tuscarawas County 4-H Youth; and dozens of community benefit golf outings for various fundraising groups.

Smith Medical Transportation Systems’ corporate financial contributions include $25,000 to Garaway Belden Community Center, a multipurpose community center used by the Garaway School District and Sugarcreek seniors and rented privately for community functions; $25,000 to the Twin City Hospital Emergency Room renovation in Dennison; $25,000 to the Pomerene Hospital Emergency Room renovation in Millersburg; and financial contributions to various projects for Union Hospital in Dover.

Smith’s antique ambulance is often driven in local festivals and parades, and the LifeFlight helicopter is often displayed with its crew at community events. “It helps to be able to present our team members to the community during a time when they are not in crisis,” Smith says.

 

How to reach: Smith Medical Transportation Systems Inc., (330) 602-5180 or www.smithambulance.com

Published in Akron/Canton

Since its founding 20 years ago, Sequoia Financial Group’s service philosophy has extended not only to its clients, but to its local communities as well. Sequoia, headed by company President Thomas Haught, believes that community service is its responsibility as a growing business, and the best way to extend its model of service is by sponsoring, donating to, and volunteering for local charitable causes. The company focuses its efforts on organizations for which it feels it can make the most difference.

Sequoia’s flagship contribution to the community this past year was a $20,000 challenge gift to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. This gift resulted in $186,150 in financial support from individual donors.

The Foodbank also gained 820 new donors through this initiative. In fact, the project was so successful it became a best practice for other Foodbanks around the country. Sequoia’s sponsorship of the Foodbank’s annual Taste of the NFL event helped the Foodbank exceed its fundraising goal, raising more than $146,000 to support the distribution of emergency food to Northeast Ohio’s most vulnerable citizens.

Because Sequoia feels it’s just as important to give its time as its money, the company offers employees the opportunity to volunteer during the workday without PTO charged and with their time paid.

This past year, Sequoia’s volunteer efforts included two days helping build homes with Habitat for Humanity of Summit County. Members of the company split up into two teams, each spending a day helping to bring alive the dream of home ownership for a local family.

Sequoia also adopted a family through Violet’s Cupboard, an Akron-based organization that focuses on improving the quality of daily life for those infected with HIV/AIDS and their families. Sequoia provided about $500 worth of food, gifts, toys, gift cards and items specific to the family’s needs.

 

How to reach: Sequoia Financial Group LLC, (330) 375-9480 or www.sequoia-financial.com

Published in Akron/Canton

Mary-Alice Frank, the CEO of the American Red Cross’ Northeast Ohio region, often says everyone has a Red Cross story – and to prove it, she often shares her family’s story.

In the early 1900s, Frank’s grandmother was orphaned in Turkey. She and her sister spent most of their youth in an orphanage.

After her grandmother immigrated to America in her teens, the sisters lost touch with each other. Nearly 60 years later, with the help of the American, Turkish and Greek Red Cross Societies, Frank’s grandmother found her sister living in Greece and brought her to the U.S.

It’s that family story that helped spur Frank to pursue a career with the Red Cross, which has now spanned 33 years — the last 13 as CEO of the region, which encompasses 11 Red Cross chapters.

As CEO, Frank has been instrumental in establishing Operation Save-A-Life, which has enhanced endowment funding to ensure that free smoke alarms, batteries and installations will continue in at-risk homes throughout Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Euclid and South Euclid.

Frank has also lent strategic leadership to the growth of a training program for state certified nurse assistants, which is now the largest in Ohio.

Under Frank’s leadership, the Red Cross has achieved some key regional fundraising goals, including a spike in fee-for-service income from negligible to more than $4 million annually with a 10-percent margin. Frank’s leadership has also led to the conceptualization and execution of an endowment campaign, approximately $1 million in received gifts annually, the cultivation of more than $5 million in federal and state grants annually and the implementation of a board committee to convert international disaster relief donors into donors who give to local causes.

Frank has also helped to develop a matrix-based sales process for fundraising, which is now being implemented by the Red Cross on a nationwide basis.

 

How to reach: American Red Cross, (216) 431-3010 or www.redcross-cleveland.org

Published in Akron/Canton