Medical Mutual, along with our co-founding Pillar Award partner Smart Business, presents the 16th annual Pillar Awards.
This year, we are honoring an outstanding group of companies and organizations of varying sizes.
While this year’s diverse group of honorees 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.
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 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 is the heart and soul of Medical Mutual’s charitable giving efforts.
The SHARE committee, comprised 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 Smart Business, we congratulate all our 2013 Pillar Award recipients.
Chairman, president and CEO
- Pillar Award for Community Service - Presented to for-profit businesses for their community service efforts
- Medical Mutual SHARE Award - Presented to one company annually that best exemplifies employee-driven community service, philanthropy or volunteerism.
- Nonprofit Board Executive of the Year Award - Honors contributions by for-profit business executives who serve as members of nonprofit boards
- Nonprofit Executive Director of the Year Award - Recognizes nonprofit executive directors who effectively apply for-profit business principles to their organizations.
- Fairmount Minerals Sustainable Business Award - Awarded to the organization that best demonstrates sustainable business practices.
- Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award - Recognizes the top executive of a for-profit company for creating a culture of giving.
- Clark-Reliance Youth Philanthropy Award – Presented to the individual or individuals under the age of 22 or who have not yet graduated from college, who best demonstrate the spirit and drive to organize a nonprofit, create an individual initiative that impacts others, or develop a program designed to give back to the community either on an ongoing basis or as a one-off effort.
Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award, Kevin Goodman, managing director, Blue Bridge Networks
Pillar Award for Community Service
- BlueBridge Networks
- Eaton Corp.
- Main Street Gourmet
- Staffing Solutions
- Sterling Jewelers
- Western Reserve Partners
Medical Mutual SHARE Award
Fairmount Minerals Sustainable Business Practices Award
Executive Directors of the Year
Nonprofit Board Executives of the Year
Clark-Reliance Youth Philanthropy Award
The Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award
Kevin J. Goodman
Managing director and partner
BlueBridge Networks LLS
From the very marrow
Kevin Goodman survived lymphoma and now gives back to others
This year, Kevin J. Goodman reached his personal goal of raising more than $100,000 for charitable causes — and completed the Boston Marathon. His concern and care for others was further demonstrated at the marathon this year when he assisted victims of the terrorist bombing. Fortunate to have finished the race an hour before the bombings, Goodman jumped into efforts to help victims.
It was a little over 10 years ago when he received a shocking diagnosis: He had stage 4 lymphoma. But receiving the devastating news that he had a potentially fatal illness didn’t throw him into hopelessness. He battled through the chemotherapy and treatment and came out a survivor. The victory also taught him many important lessons.
Goodman, managing director and partner of BlueBridge Networks LLC, made a commitment to donate his time and talent to organizations such as the American Red Cross and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Goodman joined the LLS Board of Trustees in 2009. His involvement has grown constantly and he now serves as vice president on the executive committee.
On the fundraising side, he has helped lead outstanding efforts to generate funds through the LLS Team in Training. His team has surpassed the $1 million mark. As a lymphoma survivor, Goodman is unable to donate blood, but has arranged for BlueBridge Networks to participate in blood drives at Playhouse Square for the past several years.
PILLAR AWARD FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE
Ralph Della Ratta
Western Reserve Partners
Since its founding in 2004, Western Reserve Partners has strongly believed in and practiced a firm-wide commitment to community service and support. Western Reserve is proud of its culture of caring and believes that the relatively small size of the firm is not commensurate with the far-reaching impact of its contributions to the Northeast Ohio community.
At an employee level, Western Reserve prides itself on the fact that all of its 15 senior professionals and many of its junior staff are actively involved at the board level of at least one nonprofit organization, including managing partner, Ralph Della Ratta. Furthermore, the majority of these professionals have assumed leadership positions on these boards, and as such, average as many as eight hours per week on their nonprofit endeavors.
Employees are quick to support each other’s charitable endeavors, staffing and attending innumerable telethons, 5K runs, golf outings and other fundraising events each year. Collectively, these efforts impact nearly 30 organizations across a variety of focus areas.
As a firm, Western Reserve is generous in its financial support of those organizations in which its professionals hold leadership or board positions, as well as many others. The firm is particularly proud of its participation in the United Way’s Pacesetter/Stellar Campaign program.
In this program, the firm commits to an annual 5 percent increase over its previous year’s gift, and the firm has had 100 percent participation each year. Since 2005, Western Reserve’s contributions to United Way and other charitable organizations have totaled more than $500,000. ●
PILLAR AWARD FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE
President and CEO
Sterling Jewelers Inc.
Akron, Ohio-based Sterling Jewelers is the largest U.S. specialty retail jeweler with more than 1,300 stores in 50 states. The company has stores under the names Kay Jewelers, J.B. Robinson Jewelers and Jared The Galleria of Jewelry. With employees all over the country, Sterling Jewelers is proud of its commitment to support the communities where its employees live and work.
Here in Northeast Ohio, Sterling has 2,500 team members working at its corporate headquarters, and under the leadership of President and CEO Mark Light, the company focuses on giving back to three specific areas: children, arts and culture, and civic programs and community development.
In October 2012, Sterling Jewelers launched an internal online donation tool where team members can click on a link via the company’s intranet, select any fundraiser they want to support, enter a donation amount and hit submit. The donation is automatically deducted from the employee’s paycheck and offers an easy and convenient way to give back.
Participation has increased by more than 50 percent since the launch of the online donation tool. In total, the business support services team at Sterling dedicates more than 1,425 hours annually to develop and implement team member giving programs.
Over the years Sterling Jewelers has become one of the largest corporate sponsors of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, raising more than $43 million to date. The company sells plush animals each year in support of St. Jude. As further incentive, Sterling employees can earn a trip to St. Jude to present the staff with a check and get a tour of the hospital. ●
PILLAR AWARD FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE
Staffing Solutions Enterprises
Charity is a yearlong commitment for Staffing Solutions Enterprises and its employees, and is embedded into the company’s corporate culture. With the support and input from its team, Staffing Solutions has developed and implemented a 12-month charity campaign called the SSE Monthly Give Back program. The program allows Staffing Solutions to help various programs financially during times they need it most — throughout the entire year.
Although Staffing Solutions has hundreds of employees working on assignment, its corporate office is composed of a team of 20 employees, 100 percent of which participate in the SSE Charity programs, including company president, SueAnn Naso.
Staffing Solutions strongly believes that every dollar helps, and sometimes the most important thing to do is help create awareness for charities in need. Through its charity programs Staffing Solutions has been able to shed light on these organizations’ causes and missions through its e-newsletter and social media platforms.
Each month the company highlights its SSE Monthly Give Back Charity in its e-newsletter, providing a brief description of the organization to encourage clients to donate as well.
Additionally, these platforms showcase the staff’s participation in charity events and highlight fun activities for others to get involved in.
In 2013, several of the charities selected were chosen to have an economic impact and benefit individuals and families right here in Northeastern Ohio. The SSE Monthly Give Back program benefitted organizations such as the Special Olympics, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Northeast Ohio Chapter and Cleveland Foodbank. ●
PILLAR SPECIAL AWARD – SHARE AWARD
Community engagement manager
Hyland Software provides the means for its employees to make a difference in the community, and more than 1,500 of those employees take full advantage of the opportunity.
Under the leadership of CEO Bill Priemer and Lisa Jackman, the company’s community engagement manager, Hyland supports nonprofit programs that actively engage employees in their individual charitable interests, facilitate company-wide volunteer projects and charitable initiatives, and promote and develop youth education in technology.
Here are a few examples:
- The TECHie Club was launched during the 2012-2013 school year for Cleveland school children in grades three through five. As part of the program, a group of nine dedicated, tech-savvy Hyland employees introduce students to computer programming, Web development, robotics and social networks.
- Hyland’s Summer of Service project in Ohio City brought out volunteers equipped with rakes, paintbrushes, ladders and gardening gloves to help beautify the historic Cleveland neighborhood.
- Employees serve meals each month at the West Side Catholic Center, annually host onsite blood drives and contribute to Shoes and Clothes for Kids. In 2012, employees ensured that 23 families (102 individuals) had the right clothes to make it through another Cleveland winter, and donated more than 2,000 pairs of shoes.
Engagement is the key to Hyland’s ability to do great things in the community. Employees get to work on the causes that mean the most to them and therefore give all the time and talent they can to make it a success. ●
PILLAR AWARD FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE
PPG Industries - Barberton
Established in 1899 to manufacture synthetic soda ash for the Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries’ glass-making operations, PPG Industries - Barberton is a producer of quality specialty chemicals and products. Throughout its 113-year history, the one thing PPG has stressed more than its leading innovations is giving back to the community.
In Barberton, where PPG employs 150 people, plant manager Theodore Ladd makes sure that the community understands the connection PPG has to the region. One of the biggest ways the company gives back is through its PPG Industries Foundation, which has generously contributed millions of dollars to organizations that address the educational, human services, cultural and arts, and civic and community affairs needs of the people and regions PPG serves.
One such area donation was $15,000 to Stark State College for its Barberton Satellite Center. A $5,000 donation in 2012 and a $10,000 grant this year were made on behalf of PPG Industries - Barberton. The center features state-of-the-art equipment for training in welding and offers a range of academic classes leading to two-year associate’s degrees.
PPG Industries - Barberton also had 13 of its employees step forward to volunteer their time to support Junior Achievement’s JA in a Day program at Barberton Middle School. The volunteers taught young people about money management and how business works.
Related to the work that PPG does every day, the company also sponsors local teachers attending the Ohio Chemistry and Technology Council’s annual Teachers, Industry and Environmental Conference. The two-day program offers teachers exposure to creative and dramatic approaches to teaching the principals of physics, chemistry and life sciences. ●
PILLAR SPECIAL AWARD – NONPROFIT BOARD EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR
Flying Horse Farms
John Lewis has only been on the board of Flying Horse Farms for three years, but his connection to the nonprofit organization was made back in 2006. That year his only daughter, Emily, was diagnosed with a type of kidney cancer called Wilms’ tumor.
Surgery was successful to remove both the tumor and Emily’s kidney, but the cancer had already spread to her lungs. Over the next three years, Emily endured multiple surgeries, aggressive chemotherapy, radiation sessions and numerous clinical drug trials.
It was during this difficult time that the Lewis family discovered Flying Horse Away, a program created to send children from Ohio to SeriousFun Children’s Network camps across the country while Flying Horse Farms was under development.
It instantly became a source of comfort and joy for the Lewis family. His passion and commitment to Flying Horse Farms was ignited when Emily, at the end of her life, encouraged her father to leave the hospital and attend the groundbreaking of Flying Horse Farms in Mt. Gilead.
Lewis joined the board in May 2009, bringing a new perspective to the organization. He helped the organization see that serious illnesses don’t just affect the children who are sick; they affect families and friends too. These loved ones need a great deal of support as well and a renewed effort was made to ensure they felt a sense of belonging and compassion for what they go through.
Lewis has helped Flying Horse Farms reach a new level of service in helping these families. ●
PILLAR SPECIAL AWARD - NONPROFIT BOARD EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR
Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland
When Mike Shydlowski is on your board, you know you’ll always have at least one volunteer for whatever needs to be done. Just ask his peers on the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland.
Shydlowski has been on the nonprofit’s board for more than 14 years and has played an integral part in developing the organization’s strategic direction, as well as a $16.5 million campaign to expand current services, fund significant growth and grow its endowment.
Shydlowski serves as internal gifts chairman on the board, meaning he’s tasked with asking board members for financial support for the campaign. It’s not an easy task and requires significant follow-up to get each board member to make a gift to the campaign. The Boys & Girls Clubs board was skeptical, but Shydlowski helped raise more than $3.4 million from 58 board members.
The funding enabled the clubs to increase operating hours from 20 to 29 hours a week, including Saturdays. They were also able to hire resources for art and athletic programs and increase daily attendance from 550 to 700 in just a year and a half.
Let’s get back to Shydlowski’s penchant for participation though. Shydlowski is always the first to volunteer for Member of the Month dinners and holiday parties, plus he attends nearly every board meeting. And when visiting kids need a hotel room or a staff member needs anything at all, Shydlowski can always be counted on to help. ●
PILLAR AWARD FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE
Steven Marks and Harvey Nelson
Main Street Gourmet
Baked goods have a way of brightening even the toughest of days, but for Steven Marks and Harvey Nelson, co-CEOs of Main Street Gourmet, a manufacturer of frozen bakery products, their mission over the years has been giving back to the community.
In 2003, Marks founded an event that seems quite the opposite of what most people would connect with a bakery products company — a marathon. In 2003, Marks founded and funded the event, which brings both national attention to the Akron area as well as valuable financial contributions to many local charities that benefit from the race.
The event features a full marathon, half marathon, a five-person relay, a kid’s fun run and a Health and Fitness Expo. Numerous Main Street Gourmet staff members volunteer their time during both the long preparation phase before the race and during the event on race day.
Known as the Time Warner Cable Akron Marathon, the event attracted 14,700 race participants and more than 100,000 spectators in 2012, generating about $2.5 million. The majority of the economic activity was spent in the main sectors of the economy, including hotels, gas stations, restaurants and bars. The estimated total impact of the marathon was $6 million, and each year that amount continues to climb.
These types of events are paramount to a local economy like Akron’s, and thanks to Main Street Gourmet and Marks, the Akron Marathon has become one of the premier races in Ohio. ●