Tuesday, 03 January 2012 10:23

Pharmaceutical philanthropy

Both Philip Rielly and Eric Hill look to find any way they can to contribute to the worthy causes that support the patient communities the company serves. Rielly, president and co-founder, and Hill, vice president and co-founder of BioRx LLC, understand their mission as a health care provider is to give back whenever and wherever possible.

BioRx is a provider of pharmacy and infusion services for patients with rare chronic diseases. The company has provided more than 50 organizations with monetary donations or volunteer service over the past two years. A majority of the organizations BioRx looks to help are in support of hemophilia, one of the company’s most significant diseases it provides services for.

The company’s commitment to helping its patient communities has resulted in nearly $300,000 in annual contributions. BioRx employees not only donate their own money to these causes but also their personal time and effort.

Hill and several other employees volunteered their time for Save One Life, a nonprofit international organization that offers individuals, families and companies the opportunity to sponsor a child or adult with a bleeding disorder in a developing country. Their efforts included a climb to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa, last summer that helped raise more than $60,000 for the Jose Memorial Foundation of Kenya.

Hemophilia medication is hard to come by in developing countries and affected patients are often crippled or see their lives cut short by this debilitating disease. The team traveled extensively across Nairobi, Kenya, to visit patients with hemophilia and is continuing an effort to get medical supplies for hospitals in developing areas.

Through the role of its on-staff educators, nurses and consumer advocates, BioRx contributes countless hours of unpaid clinical training, educational material, workshops and presentations to members of the patient communities it serves. This includes basic disease education, school preparedness, emergency preparedness, and child and adult workshops.

HOW TO REACH: BioRx LLC, (866) 442-4679 or www.biorx.net

Published in Cincinnati

Few things are more meaningful and important than investing time and resources in supporting our community, and in this issue, we honor companies and their employees who have gone above and beyond the call.

All too often these companies and their workers are our region’s unsung heroes. Several years ago, we decided to do something about that.

In 1998, Medical Mutual and Smart Business Network created The Pillar Award for Community Service in Northeast Ohio to recognize companies, business leaders and nonprofit executives for their commitment to strengthening the bond between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds. In 2011, we expanded this program to the greater Cincinnati region.

While support and direction come from management, companies are only as great as their employees.

In 2002, the Pillar SHARE 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 is the heart and soul of Medical Mutual’s charitable giving effort. Each year, this committee, made up of Medical Mutual employee volunteers, helps coordinate more than two-dozen community events across the state involving nearly half of the company’s 2,500 employees.

On behalf of Medical Mutual and our Pillar Award co-founding partner, SBN, we are proud to present these annual awards for community service for the greater Cincinnati region.

Congratulations.

Rick Chiricosta is the president and CEO of Medical Mutual.

Published in Cincinnati
Saturday, 31 December 2011 19:17

Trail blazing

Candace Klein, founder and CEO of Bad Girl Ventures Inc., has been through a number of hardships in her life. From living on welfare as a young girl to being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2003, these hardships are what have made her who she is today and have pushed her to become the person she wants to be.

Through the president of her undergrad university, Klein was introduced to a woman named Alice Sparks. Alice asked Klein what she planned to do in life to which Klein responded, “I intend to change the world.” When asked how she said, “I would learn the law, run a successful business and run for governor in 2027.”

While she is still a ways away from hitting the campaign trail, Klein has a law degree and started a business, Bad Girl Ventures Inc., a micro-finance organization (501c3) focused on educating and financing woman-owned start-up companies. The company provides $25,000 low-interest loans, but in order to be eligible for financing, the women must first complete an eight-week curriculum of understanding personal credit, the components of a business plan, legal structuring, marketing, social media, pricing, accounting and financing options.

To date, the company has received 200 applicants for its program in Cincinnati and has educated roughly 100 women. Bad Girl Ventures has financed 18 women for a total of $310,000. Klein started very local, but recently expanded to Oxford this past spring and to Cleveland in the fall of 2011. Her next expansion will put the company in Columbus in early 2012.

Klein didn’t forget about the other 182 women who didn’t get funding. She launched SoMoLend in March 2011, which is a highly localized Web and mobile-based peer-to-peer lending technology allowing individuals to borrow from and lend to other individuals.

Klein is changing the world one woman at a time with financial help and a lifelong education.

HOW TO REACH: Bad Girl Ventures Inc., (513) 675-8500 or www.badgirlventures.com

Published in Cincinnati
Saturday, 31 December 2011 19:15

Pretty passionate

Aveda Fredric’s Institute founder, Frederic Holzberger, doesn’t believe that giving back to the community is optional. Instead, his philosophy is that serving others is “the cornerstone for being the best that you can be.” This belief that by nourishing others that you also nourish yourself is a core part of the service-driven culture Holzberger has instituted at AFI.

Students and staff of AFI, which is both a cosmetology school and Aveda retail location, give back by participating in company activities such as blood drives, volunteer days, community cleanup outings and other efforts to improve the lives of others. Under Holzberger’s leadership, students attending AFI learn how to take their talents for elevating beauty and share them in ways that impact the community in positive ways. While enrolled, they have the opportunity to participate with organizations such as Dress for Success, Franciscan Haircuts from the Heart, a Big Brother’s Big Sisters Benefit Fashion show and Project Daymaker, a program that provides haircuts for the less fortunate with a mobile salon on wheels.

When AFI employees aren’t beautifying customers, they spend time beautifying the environment through volunteerism and fundraising. The company participates in Aveda Earth Month every April to raise money for the clean water initiatives of the Ohio River Foundation and Sierra Club. In 2011, one such fundraiser consisted of providing AFI salon services on Sunday, when the business is normally closed, and donating the service dollars to Sierra Club.

Since 2002, AFI employees have also participated actively in Cincinnati’s Habitat for Humanity Habitat building projects. The AFI team has taken the lead on the organization’s sustainable homes initiative. Instead of building homes from scratch, employee volunteers work on remodeling homes with green building practices to prevent tons of building waste from being placed in landfills.

How to reach: Aveda Fredric’s Institute, (513) 533-0700 or www.avedafredricsinstitute.com

Published in Cincinnati

The Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service, presented by Smart Business, honors businesses of all types and sizes that make outstanding contribution to their community. Its purpose is to encourage a charitable enviroment, recognize creative efforts that make a difference and demonstrate the ties between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.

This year's winners will be honored at a special banquet on January 26 at The Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, OH.

But before that great event takes place, we welcome you to take a look at how these kind and selfless individuals and companies do what they do.

An introductory letter from Rick Chiricosta, President and CEO, Medical Mutual

Pillar Award for Community Service honorees:

Medical Mutual SHARE Award honoree:

Charles Penzone Salons Nonprofit Board Executive of the Year Award honorees:

Rea & Associates Executive Director of the Year Award honorees:

CVG Samaritan Award honoree:

Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award honoree:

A list of our fine sponsors

Published in Columbus
Saturday, 31 December 2011 19:09

Food for thought

In pressing times like today, where a large percentage of the American population relies on food stamps and the demand for food assistance is on the rise, AdvancePierre Foods and CEO Bill Toler responded to the need of families across the country with an inaugural companywide Volunteer Day last summer.

AdvancePierre Foods is a manufacturer of value-added proteins, philly steaks and handheld sandwiches. The company’s employees gathered on August 17 last year to partner with the Freestore Foodbank and Hamilton Living Waters Ministry Inc. to help with worthwhile projects and celebrate commitment to supporting communities where employees work, live and raise their families.

At the corporate headquarters in Cincinnati, volunteers packaged take-home food items for nearly 500 needy children as part of the PowerPack program. PowerPack provides kid-friendly, shelf-stable foods for children on Friday afternoons to ensure they have something to eat over the weekend.

The company’s volunteers also went to the Hamilton Living Waters Ministry Inc. to help get the facility ready for fall activities through yard work, panting and organizing. Living Waters works to make a positive impact on the lives of at risk children, youth and families in Hamilton’s inner city by offering academic, community and spiritual enrichment programs.

AdvancePierre didn’t just help those in need within Cincinnati. The company had hundreds of volunteers from facilities across the country donate their time to local food banks, food pantries and various food distribution sites to ensure that families receive the proper nourishment that they need.

Volunteer activities included packaging items for child feeding programs, assisting in mobile food pantry distribution, organizing and sorting items at food pantry warehouses, and fixing up local facilities with painting and maintenance projects. If all of that wasn’t enough, the company also donates thousands of pounds of product. In association with Volunteer Day, the company donated 21,000 pounds of burgers and ribs.

HOW TO REACH: AdvancePierre Foods, (800) 969-2747 or www.advancepierre.com

Published in Cincinnati
Thursday, 01 December 2011 12:40

The power of philanthropy

At Ernst & Young LLP’s recent Strategic Growth Forum, the largest gathering of high-growth entrepreneurs in the world (more than 2,500), myriad issues facing business today were discussed.

The annual forum serves as an idea marketplace where the best and brightest minds share what works, what doesn’t and what’s next in the wild world of business and entrepreneurship.

One common theme that arose from participants during the forum was the importance of giving back to the community.

Entrepreneurs passionately believe it is their responsibility to help strengthen the communities where they and their employees live and work. They believe that since they have the means to do so, it’s important to carry that success forward and help those who are in need. And they believe it’s imperative to supports causes that align with the missions or beliefs they and their employees hold.

I was honored to spend some time at the forum with Amy Rosen, president and CEO of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. We spoke at length about how NFTE works nationwide with inner-city schoolchildren to teach them entrepreneurial skills and create the next generation of high-growth businesses.

Many of you might not have made the connection, but here in Northeast Ohio, we have an affiliate of NFTE in Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU). This connection resulted from YOU’s merger with E CITY, a program that serial entrepreneur John Zitzner founded several years ago.

As you might have noticed, this month’s edition includes coverage of the 2011 Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service. We received a record number of nominations — nearly 90 — which represents how companies are working with and supporting the nonprofit sector, how executives are donating their time, talent and money to causes on the boards of nonprofits and how nonprofit leaders are applying for-profit business savvy to make their organizations that much stronger.

We, at Smart Business, were so impressed by the record number of nominees and the work they are doing that we felt we would be doing a disservice by only telling you about the winners. Because of this, we have expanded this issue so that we could tell you about every organization that submitted a nomination.

As you read, we hope you walk away with the same level of new inspiration as we have received.

Dustin S. Klein is publisher and executive editor of Smart Business Network Inc. Reach him with your comments at (800) 988-4726 or dsklein@sbnonline.com.

Published in Akron/Canton

Few things are more meaningful and important than investing time and resources in supporting our community, and in this issue, we honor companies and their employees who have gone above and beyond the call.

All too often these companies and their workers are our region’s unsung heroes. Several years ago, we decided to do something about that.

In 1998, Medical Mutual and Smart Business Network created The Pillar Awards to recognize companies, business leaders and nonprofit executives for their commitment to strengthening the bond between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.

While support and direction come from management, companies are only as great as their employees.

In 2002, the Pillar SHARE 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 is the heart and soul of Medical Mutual’s charitable giving effort. Each year, this 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 our Pillar Award co-founding partner, SBN, we are proud to present these annual awards for Community Service for the 13th consecutive year.

Congratulations!

Rick Chiricosta is the president and CEO of Medical Mutual.

Published in Akron/Canton
Thursday, 01 December 2011 09:35

From the hearts of our sponsors

The sponsors of the 2011 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 he or she could describe the values that this firm lives by, each person would 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.

FirstMerit

FirstMerit Bank, with roots dating back to 1845, has a strong history of philanthropy. This is particularly true in and around our Akron headquarters. What is changing is that, as our company grows, we are instilling that philanthropic culture into our other markets, such as Cleveland and Chicago. In Cleveland, the FirstMerit Foundation has recently stepped up in a big way to support organizations such as Playhouse Square, University Circle Inc., the Cleveland Botanical Garden and Hospice of the Western Reserve. We do this because we can make an impact, and these groups really contribute to a better quality of life in Cleveland.

The fact that our mission statement is “To improve and preserve the financial well-being of the communities we serve” means that philanthropy is indeed imbedded into our company’s philosophy.

We believe that developing relationships with and investing in local nonprofits, charitable organizations and neighborhood anchor institutions builds healthy and vibrant communities. Because we identify and respond to community support initiatives, we accomplish our objectives. We partner with community leaders to ensure that local contributions meet local needs.

When other companies give, it raises the bar and we all benefit. We are all motivated, driven people with a spirit of healthy competition that can spill over into philanthropy. Others notice the visibility that a particular company gains from their community involvement and want the same. It means more funds going to support those in need and a healthier community overall. It is also a great source of networking for our employees and our leaders. It is the right thing to do.

For more information, visit www.firstmerit.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 or 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 at 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. Ganley BMW is celebrating our 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. In the 25 years that 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 founding. 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 & Rental Inc.

Colortone Staging & Rental 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 and Banquet Facility

LaCentre Conference and 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.

Think Media Studios

Think Media Studios is honored to support the Pillar Awards for the fourth year. Brian Glazen opened the doors to Think Media only four years ago, and quickly, the community of Northeast Ohio opened its doors to this young, thriving company. Think Media encourages giving back to the community that has so warmly welcomed it. Glazen and his employees believe that growth comes from a spark within, and so, it is their philosophy to make a positive and lasting change in the community by not only sharing their expertise and resources but also their time. Among the organizations they have worked with to impact change are the Cleveland Clinic, Progressive and ICI Paints.

Learn more at www.thinkmediastudios.com.

Published in Akron/Canton
Thursday, 01 December 2011 09:32

Judging community service

Smart Business would like to thank the following judges for donating their time to reviewing a record number of nominations to help select this year’s class of Pillar Award for Community Service honorees:

Rick Chirocosta, chairman, president and CEO, Medical Mutual of Ohio (founding partner)

Greg Skoda, managing partner, Skoda Minotti (class of 2010)

Mary Sue Tanis, executive director, Youth Challenge (class of 2010)

Sophie Sureau, executive director, Susan G. Komen for the Cure Northeast Ohio (class of 2009)

Robin Baum, managing partner, Zinner & Co. (class of 2009)

Keevan White, founder and CEO, WhiteSpace Creative (class of 2005)

Sean Richardson, North Coast Regional Commercial Banking Executive, FirstMerit Bank

Jenniffer Deckard, president, Fairmount Minerals

Lee Beall, president and CEO, Rea & Associates

Fred Koury, president and CEO, Smart Business Network Inc.

Published in Akron/Canton