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
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
On a national level, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP upholds a national community service philosophy that includes four tenets: responsible business, diversity and inclusion, community engagement and environmental stewardship.
And under the leadership of managing partner Bob Saada, the PwC office in Cleveland helps bolster all of these tenets. Yet to make the biggest impact in its local communities, PwC Cleveland has specifically focused on two of them: diversity and inclusion and community engagement.
The office’s partnerships with two community organizations, St. Martin de Porres High School and Esperanza, are a perfect example of how PwC Cleveland is making an impact in these areas.
Over the years, PwC Cleveland has made significant contributions to Saint Martin’s through its Corporate Work Study Program — in which PwC Partners and staff mentor students and model behavior within a workplace setting.
Yet, the firm has also looked for ways to become more involved with the students. The firm recently announced a new partnership with Saint Martin’s called “Students Today. Leaders Tomorrow,” designed to include annual touch points and two biannual events. This new program gives the students even more opportunities to engage with PwC staff around personal and professional development.
PwC Cleveland has also begun a new partnership with Esperanza, a not-for-profit organization focused on enhancing educational and economic opportunities for Hispanic children in Greater Cleveland.
With the goal of helping decrease the dropout trend of Hispanic’s in the region, PwC Cleveland decided to partner with Esperanza for a “Youth Executive Mentoring Program.” The program pairs PwC professional staff with Hispanic youth who are beginning college.
Throughout their college experience, PwC staff members act as the student’s mentors, coaches and role models so that they overcome obstacles and successfully graduate. Launched in April 2012, the program also includes book scholarships and PwC internship opportunities.
How to reach: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, (216) 875-3000 or www.pwc.com
PartsSource Inc. has received plenty of awards for its success in business growth, job creation and financial accomplishments. Yet as the company has continued to grow — it is now the largest provider of replacement parts for medical equipment used in hospitals, imaging centers, and other acute care facilities — it has also continued to gain attention for its philanthropic reputation.
Today, “giving back” is a key component of the company’s continued success.
As founder, president and CEO of PartsSource, A. Ray Dalton continued to drive the company’s mission to improve healthcare delivery while reducing the cost, in the U.S. and abroad. Today, the company pursues this mission by seeking out opportunities to lend its expertise to help others.
While certain technologies may be considered outdated in the U.S., PartsSource helps refurbish this “outdated” equipment that can be used to save lives in Third World and medically challenged countries. The company frequently finds, packs, and ships medical equipment abroad to impoverished areas of the world at company expense.
In numerous cases, it has also sponsored or sent teams of employees to help implement this technology. Many employees also use their own time to participate in mission trips abroad.
To increase the focus on “giving back” in its corporate culture, PartsSource continues to take steps to drive employee volunteer efforts.
Recently, the company added the new position of Director of Community Outreach so it can better utilize resources for community outreach programs and partnerships such as United Way, the Red Cross, Youth Challenge and Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank.
The company’s leaders also encourage giving back by awarding employees who use their vacation time to volunteer for programs such as Habitat for Humanity, with a 50 percent vacation payback.
And of course, they walk the talk. Dalton has made several mission trips to India where he helped provide medical care to underserved populations.
How to reach: PartsSource Inc., (330) 562-9900 or www.partssource.com
As a steel service center, Olympic Steel Inc. is composed of many divisions — from a corporate office, to satellite warehouses, processing facilities and sales offices throughout the U.S. and Mexico. Together, employees across all divisions volunteer their time and efforts to support numerous community involvement initiatives. But every year, they also come together behind one cause in particular: making wishes come true.
The company launches its “Working for Wishes” partnership in 2004 with the goal to grant a single child’s wish through a partnership with Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Yet what began as a $5,000 commitment sparked an overwhelming outpouring of support from Olympic Steel employees, resulting in a fundraising total of $17,500, far beyond the company’s initial goal.
Today, employees at all levels are committed to driving the success of the Working for Wishes program, even in tough economic times. Each of the company’s locations conducts a month of fundraisers to contribute to the wish fund, including bake sales, car washes, raffles and other events.
Once the money is pooled, an Olympic Steel facility is selected to sponsor a local Make-a-Wish child and host a celebration to present a “wish check” to child and family.
Through this dedication of volunteer efforts, fundraising and donations, Olympic Steel was able to grant five wishes in 2009, one of the toughest years for many businesses. Since 2004, Olympic Steel employees have granted 64 wishes with nearly $400,000 in donations toward the cause.
And in 2011, the company exceeded its 2010 record high by more than $21,000 — enabling the organization to grant 12 wishes for children at local chapters of Make-A-Wish Foundation. Impressively, the company’s employees also contributed more than $92,000 in cash donations and 100 hours of their time to more than 40 other charitable causes last year.
How to reach: Olympic Steel Inc., (216) 292-3800 www.olysteel.com
The founders of Nordson Corp. believed that being a good corporate citizen in business means sharing your success with the communities where you operate. Sixty years later, the company — which delivers precision technology solutions for customers worldwide — continues to further this philosophy through its legacy of giving back.
Since its inception, Nordson’s has committed 5 percent of its pretax domestic profit to charitable causes through its Nordson Corp. Foundation. In spite of some difficult economic times, the company increased its level of giving through the Foundation to the highest it’s ever been. In 2011, the company paid out an impressive $9.1 million to the Foundation.
Under the leadership of President and CEO Michael F. Hilton, Nordson puts a major focus on education in its community outreach, both through monetary gifts and volunteer efforts. Through its employee Time ’N Talent volunteer program, Nordson organizes volunteer projects for numerous schools, colleges and not-for-profits such as College Now, Breakthrough Schools and others. The company also donated a manufacturing facility to Boys and Girls Club of Lorain County to use as their first independent facility.
Volunteer efforts also extend to a wide range of programs. Every year, Nordon’s employees donate more than 5,000 hours to community projects, many of which are ongoing programs. At the monthly “Nordson Night” at the Second Harvest Foodbank, for example, employees from different divisions of the company take turns helping to sort and pack food for those in need.
Nordson works hard to encourage employee efforts by matching gifts of up to $10,000 per employee out of its corporate budget. In 2011, it matched more than $400,000 in gifts. Last year, Nordson also started a “Dollars for Doers” program, allowing qualifying employees volunteers to submit their not-for-profit for a $250 corporate donation.
How to reach: Nordson Corp., (440) 892-1580 or www.nordson.com
As the chairman and president of New Directions Inc., Mike Crislip has worked to improve the efficiency of his organization’s ability to carry out its mission of providing life-changing treatment to chemically dependent adolescents.
Beginning in 2009, Crislip helped spearhead a joint consolidation effort between his organization and Crossroads — part of a pilot program conducted by Cuyahoga County Human Services. The pilot program was a collaborative effort among 18 local foundations, facilitating a three-phase project consisting of education, assessment and negotiations.
As part of the effort to restructure New Directions and Crossroads, Crislip led the boards of directors for both organizations in more than 30 hours of negotiations, culminating in an integrated board of directors to serve both organizations.
In January 2011, the board of directors for New Directions and Crossroads both voted to approve the consolidation, allowing the organizations to share a single governing board, CEO and senior management team. The organizations remain separate entities regarding their missions, 501(c)3 status, accreditation and donors.
The innovative consolidation initiative has helped two community organizations conserve resources as they continue to make a positive impact in the communities they serve — spanning two counties — and has helped the leaders of both organization align their strategic planning processes to more efficiently and effectively reach their goals and realize their missions.
Following the completion of the consolidation process, Crislip volunteered to host the board members and senior staff of both companies in his office during a six-month strategic planning process — while still serving as president of Herschman Architects Inc. Crislip’s dedication to this initiative underscores his passion for New Directions and Crossroads and the missions of both organizations in the community.
How to reach: New Directions Inc. and Crossroads, (216) 591-0324 or www.newdirect.org
Community outreach is deeply engrained in the culture at Majestic Steel USA Inc., from the company’s fundraising efforts to volunteerism to its financial support for local organizations. The national distributor of prime, flat-rolled steel products has continued to engage in initiatives that make a real and lasting impact in Northeast Ohio communities each year.
Under the leadership of President Todd Leebow, Majestic Steel USA drives its mission and mantra of “We Will” by partnering with community organizations that deliver valuable services to the community such as Hunger Network, Achievement Centers for Children, the Red Cross and others.
The same goes for its corporate partners. The company partners with prominent athletic organizations that can help enhance awareness and build widespread support for local causes, such as the Browns’ Touchdown for Tots, the Cleveland Cavaliers Manufacturing Scholarship program to the Cleveland Indians Up to Bat initiative in support of Achievement Centers for Children.
Majestic Steel associates have also logged more than 1,000 combined volunteer hours in support of a wide range of community outreach initiatives, proof that the company owns the results of their efforts.
One of their major areas of focus is Northeast Ohio’s fight against hunger. In 2012, the company collaborated with the Lake Erie Monsters to put on the Shut out Hunger initiative, for which 130 Majestic associates, family and friends volunteered and helped collect more than 1,000 food items for the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland.
Majestic Steel has also served as title sponsor for the Walk for Hunger event for the last five years, raising more than $600,000 to help feed families in Greater Cleveland.
In addition to feet on the ground, Majestic Steel provides financial support to a number of community organizations. In the past year, the company’s total corporate and associate financial contributions surpassed $350,000.
How to reach: Majestic Steel USA Inc., (440) 786-2666 or www.majesticsteel.com
Doug Weintraub has long been an advocate for stimulating economic growth inNortheast Ohio. He was a key member of the entrepreneurship task force that reformulated the economic development landscape in the region.
With experience as a successful entrepreneur and investor, Weintraub’s contributions to the task force were essential to the strategy subsequently implemented by JumpStart Inc., a regional business development organization where Weintraub serves as the chairman of the board.
Weintraub has served on JumpStart’s board since 2004 and as its chairman for the last three years. In his first three years on the board, he used his experience as a CPA to lead JumpStart’s finance and audit committee.
Weintraub’s institutional knowledge, as well as his years of career experience in the world of business, have been invaluable as JumpStart successfully expanded its range of services throughoutNortheast Ohio, and even started consulting nationally to help other regions transform their economies through entrepreneurship.
He has emphasized outside-the-box thinking as he looks for new ways to improve the quality of JumpStart’s services. He was instrumental in encouraging the organization to move to theMidTownTechPark, in the MidTown district onCleveland’sEast Side.
JumpStart moved to the tech park both as a cost-cutting measure and as a way to demonstrate a commitment to the revitalization ofCleveland’s urban core with the development of the Health-Tech Corridor.
Weintraub was an integral part of JumpStart’s office selection process and actively participated in all the negotiations and key discussions, due in large part to his personal experience and connections in commercial real estate, which have proven to be a huge asset to the organization.
Weintraub continues to serve as a role model for the rest of the board through this and other initiatives. He is personally invested in JumpStart’s continued success.
How to reach: JumpStart Inc., (216) 363-3400 or www.jumpstartinc.org
InfoCision Management Corp. President and CEO Craig Taylor promotes a culture that emphasizes the importance of corporations and individuals giving back to their communities. Under his leadership, InfoCision raises more funds for nonprofit organizations than any other company in the teleservices industry, and its employees actively support its client organizations at the local level with donations of time and money.
In 2011, corporate and employee efforts resulted in approximately $150,000 in donations to charitable organizations in the company’s and its clients’ communities. These include the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, American Heart Association, American Red Cross and March of Dimes, among others.
One of its biggest contributions went to the American Cancer Society. In addition to being a sponsor of the American Cancer Society’s Cattle Baron Ball, InfoCison has also participated in the Relay for Life over the past 12 years and held its own corporate event since 2009. Chief of Staff Steve Brubaker is a member of the local board of directors for the organization and has also received the prestigious Hope Award, given to those who have shown a dedication to finding a cure.
InfoCision employees make a difference volunteering for many nonprofit organizations, including the Feed The Children Food Drive, the American Heart Association Heart Walk and the March of Dimes March for Babies.
The company makes a particular effort for the Salvation Army, which is has been involved with for more than 13 years. Annually, more than 50 employees man four locations for one day for the Red Kettle Campaign and in 2011 collected more than $1,100.
Employees also sponsored children in the Angel Tree program, which provides multiple Christmas presents for each sponsored child. Brubaker also serves on the local chapter’s board of directors and chairs the community awareness committee.
How to reach: InfoCision Management Corp., (330) 668-1400 or www.infocision.com