As the holidays and giving season approach, it’s a great time to start thinking of ways to give back to your community and the causes important to you.

This year, join us for #GivingTuesday – a national movement focused on charity on the first Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday — and help build stronger, healthier communities.

Here are six ways to give back:

  • Volunteer your time. Our volunteer locator tool helps you find opportunities by zip code or keyword.
  • Support your favorite health cause. Our causes make it easy to support the issues close to your heart—whether it’s children, veterans, women’s health, or disasters. Pick one or create your own custom cause.
  • Share your #HealthySelfie. Follow three simple steps for a chance to win $500 to direct to your favorite charity from our charity partners.
  • Start a workplace giving campaign or create a custom Give Now page. It’s easier than ever to give back to the causes you care about at work with our GivingMatters365 platform or Give Now. These flexible tools are simple to use, plus we offer turnkey campaign materials and resources, and handle the set-up and processing of your campaign.
  • Show some love with the Combined Federal Campaign. If you’re a federal or military employee, you’re eligible to give to the 2017 Combined Federal Campaign. Community Health Charities is one of the campaign’s oldest and largest partners, distributing millions of public sector contributions. Join us this year and support the Combined Federal Campaign to defeat cancer, fight the deadliest diseases, and save lives.
  • Raise awareness and share critical health resources.

Giving Tuesday is November 28 this year, but giving back isn’t limited to one day. Together, we can build stronger, healthier communities all year long.

To keep employees engaged, Northern Tool hosted an event every single day of their two-week giving campaign.  It’s the fourth annual campaign with Community Health Charities. The events centered on giving back to the community, and included impact speakers and volunteer activities benefiting partner charities. However, supporting the community doesn’t always have to be serious. The more lighthearted events included human bowling with tennis balls, candy grams, and birdhouse building for a charity partner.  Northern Tool hosted a “thank you” breakfast on the last day of the campaign to show appreciation for employee participation.

In addition to the daily events, Northern Tools’ team sent an email every morning updating employees on campaign progress and upcoming events. A fundraising thermometer in the lobby reminded employees of the progress they had made toward their goal, as well as the work that still needed to be done.  The owners of Northern Tool generously matched employee donations, as they have each year.

Northern Tool’s community focus doesn’t end with the annual giving campaign—it lasts all year. The company consistently provides outlets for its employees to work with the causes they care about. For example, full-time staff at Northern Tool  are given a paid day off every year to volunteer with a charity of their choice, plus the company hosts holiday drives to collect toys and donations for local charities and shelters.

“It was the first time I was ever hooked to something and would get sick from not using. Then they took away my prescription. I ended up selling all my valuable stuff to buy pills on the streets. Forget some of my obligations. I hated who I had become.”

Jerry Chappell is one of the two million Americans living the nightmare of addiction to prescription pain medications. His story is not only compelling, but all too familiar to those of us who work in addiction medicine.

Addiction to prescription pain medications and heroin is not a new phenomenon. In 2008, I developed and ran an opioid use disorder clinic out of my outpatient practice in rural West Virginia. Although death by overdose was not considered a national epidemic or a political hot topic for the media, my neighbors, colleagues, friends’ parents, and many of the people living in the Ohio Valley were suffering and dying from their addictions.

The two years of engaging patients in a comprehensive medical/behavioral treatment plan, encouraging their participation in peer and community sober support systems, and watching them meet their recovery goals were the most rewarding years of my clinical practice. During these years, I learned that patients can manage their chronic disease when they are managed by qualified physicians, provided with evidence-based medicine, and administered proper medication-assisted treatments (MAT) and urine drug screens (UDS).  In 2010, I closed my practice and took a position in managed care.

The following two years were the most somber and frustrating in my professional career. At first I wondered, “Why are few of my colleagues experiencing the same feelings of reward and accomplishment that I had treating those suffering from addiction? Why are people still dying of overdose?” Then, I started receiving the not-so-infrequent calls, texts, and photos from my medical assistant back in West Virginia. Sometimes she would send snapshots of the latest evening news from her television screen. One after another were sad stories of previous patients having relapsed, been arrested, overdosed, or died. Even while writing this, I am haunted by feelings of guilt and questions of “What if I had stayed? Would they still be alive had I not left them?”

A great deal of my career since then has been dedicated to promoting quality care and services for those with Opioid Use Disorder. Over the last six years, those of us in the payer, or insurance coverage, industry have seen a “perfect storm” of events giving rise to the epidemic we see today. More potent pain medications have been manufactured and sales continue to rise. Increased utilization and demand for addiction services have quickly overwhelmed a system with few addiction specialists. A lack of industry-wide standards have resulted in extreme variance in treatment modalities.

These factors are not the primary reason that the opioid epidemic has received national attention: The face of opioid addiction has changed. Although still in existence, images of the poor, minorities, derelicts, and those on the fringe of society have been replaced by images of the rich, famous, young, and white. Methadone clinics have been replaced by posh destination facilities offering personal training, yoga, seaside views, and five-star culinary. Scholarships and graduation certificates replace the guarantee of transparency, outcomes, and results. An emphasis on “access to care” outweighs the demand for quality.

Fortunately, addiction medicine is now recognized as a medical specialty: research and clinical experience have resulted in standards of care, clinical guidelines, and evidence-based practice. The challenge now is combatting a billion dollar industry beholden to old, ineffective treatment practices, and replacing them with medicine-based and data-driven treatment models like we have for every other epidemic we have faced in modern times.

Perhaps one day the norm will be stories of people getting their lives back, year-over-year decrease in death by overdose, and practices based on science, research, and evidenced-based medicine. Hopefully we all will feel the sense of reward and hope that I did over a decade ago while practicing in rural America.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, utilize Community Health Charities’ opioid and addiction health resources for response toolkits, intervention guidelines, risk factors, and more. To learn more, utilize our charity partners’ additional resources: Shatterproof, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, and National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

About Dr. James

Dr. Frank James earned his law and medical degrees at Southern Illinois University. He is board certified in General, Child and Adolescent and Forensic Psychiatry as well as Addiction Medicine.

Dr. James spent his clinical years providing inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services in underserved areas in the Ohio Valley. He developed a specialty outpatient clinic for opioid use disorder (OUD). His treatment model focused on the integration of group therapy and psychotropic medication management with the use of urine drug screens (UDS) and medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

For the last seven years, Dr. James has worked in managed care. He provides large behavioral health organizations guidance in drafting evidenced-based benefit guidelines specific to OUD treatment and service, including level of care determination, MAT prior authorizations, and UDS coverage determination. His current focus is medical/behavioral integration and alternative payment model development for substance use disorder services.

Dr. James is a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Finance Committee and Policy Committee. He is the vice chair of ASAM’s Payer Relations Committee, and alternate to ASAM’s board of directors for Region III.

Together, we don’t just give—we celebrate!

Community Health Charities company partner Medica’s 2017 “Together We” giving campaign didn’t just focus on fundraising. Instead, it focused on uniting the Medica community around a single cause:  Together we can make a difference.

The campaign kicked off with a picnic with over 900 Medica employees. The lunch was emceed by “Medtallica,” a band comprised of Medica employees. When the bass player unexpectedly wasn’t able to attend, a board member stepped up and jammed impromptu with the band.

The rest of the campaign was filled with events to keep spirits high, including a community showcase, raffles for parking spots, candy grams, service day projects, and a silent auction.

The campaign ended with canoe races where the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners that received a check to donate to their charity of choice, executives singing karaoke and a celebration of everything the Medica team did for their community, both volunteering and fundraising. Employees tied 20 blankets for a local charity partner, created 375 detergent packets, collected 500 bracelet kits for children in hospitals, and raised over $370,000 for charity partners.

Looking to host a giving celebration like Medica? Use our Volunteering on the Spot toolkit to find easy volunteer activities, like Medica’s tie-blankets, to engage your employees and build stronger, healthier communities.

Out of an estimated 18.5 million military veterans in the United States, four million are living with a service-connected disability. One in four military members show signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or other mental health condition.

They’ve sacrificed and served our country. They fought for us. Now it’s time to fight for them.

In the week leading up to Veteran’s Day, let’s show our thanks to our nation’s military, veterans, and first responders:

  • Use our Volunteer on the Spot Guideto coordinate a volunteer event in your office. Write cards for veterans in hospitals, make snack packs for family members visiting their loved ones, or come up with your own event! To volunteer onsite—visit our volunteer locator to find volunteer opportunities near you.
  • Support Hero’s Health. Your support will provide thousands of military families free lodging close to loved ones hospitalized for an illness, disease, or injury; prevent veterans from being in the emergency room, homeless, and incarcerated due to mental illness; and construct housing for families of injured servicemen and women.
  • Share our Military and Veteran health resources—get peer support, learn mental health warning signs, find PTSD assistance or housing support, and more.
  • Show some love with the Combined Federal CampaignMilitary and Federal employees are eligible to give during the 2017 campaign. Community Health Charities is one of the campaign’s oldest and largest partners, distributing millions of public sector contributions. November 6-12 is the campaign’s Veterans Week—support our nation’s military this week and support the Combined Federal Campaign.

For more stories to inspire action this Veteran’s day, and all year, check out these articles from and about those who have served our country:

My Greatest Honor: Serving Our Country – David Selzer, Vice President of Community Health Charities

Not All Battles are Fought in a War Zone – Thomas Bognanno, CEO of Community Health Charities

This Veteran’s Day, Support Our Heroes – Thomas Bognanno, CEO of Community Health Charities

I Don’t Deserve a Medal – Amanda Ponzar, CMO of Community Health Charities

Related:

How One Business “Lyft”ed Employee Participation To 90%

Based in San Francisco, Lyft is disrupting not only the transportation services industry but employee engagement as well. This month, the venture capital-backed company hosted a week of employee volunteer activities across the San Francisco Bay Area with an impressive participation rate of over 90%.

Read Lyft’s full story and how other Community Health Charities company partners are engaging with their employees.

American Express Kicks Off Giving Season

American Express kicked off the giving season and their workplace giving campaign with its 4th Annual Bingo-a-Thon. Community Health Charities works closely with American Express and was proud to be a part of this year’s event. Approximately 500 employees attended the kickoff that included food, prizes, and the chance to hear from and meet representatives from American Express’ charity partners.

Check out Community Health Charities’ Campaign Special Event Ideas toolkit for inspiration and ideas to get your team engaged.

Improve Your Heart Health

Charu Raheja, Community Health Charities board member, had no idea she was at risk for having a stroke until it happened to her. She describes the recovery process like “being two different people in the same lifetime.” Read her full recovery story.

October 29 is National Stroke Day. Share Community Health Charities’ Heart Health resources, 3 tips to maintaining heart health, and Charu’s advice on surviving and thriving after a stroke.

Help Us Earn GreatNonprofits’ 2017 Top Rating Again

GreatNonprofits is honoring highly regarded nonprofits with their 2017 Top-Rated List. Thanks to you, we earned the award in 2016, and now we’re asking for your help again.

Help us boost visibility for the work we do together to raise awareness and resources for health by posting a brief comment. It’s easy and only takes three minutes! Visit our webpage on GreatNonprofits and share your story.

Have We Created A Culture Of Bullying?

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Do your part to create a safe environment for kids at school: read our CEO Tom Bognanno’s piece on Huffington Post; support the End Bullying cause, and share bullying resources.

Study Shows Decline

Fewer Americans are donating to charity. According to a study done by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, only 24 percent of Americans made a charitable donation in 2015—that’s six to seven percent less than a decade earlier.

The majority of charitable donations are coming from taxpayers who earn $100,000 or more annually—changes in the economy and giving patterns are to blame for the middle class’ decrease in giving.

So, how do we work together to build stronger, healthier communities? Find the causes that are important to your employees. Community Health Charities creates customized surveys  to help you discover the causes your employees care about. Plus, we offer volunteer opportunities, health resources, workplace giving campaigns, and more.

You’re Invited: Creating Effective Partnerships with Corporate Functions

Do You Know American Liver Foundation?

October is Liver Awareness and Liver Cancer Months. At a recent Community Health Charities’ event in Colorado, American Liver Foundation shared health resources and helped a woman whose husband is awaiting a liver transplant.

American Liver Foundation’s CEO Tom Nealon walks the talk. He’s raised over $1.5 million for research since running his first Boston Marathon for the American Liver Foundation on behalf of his friend Zac, a child born with liver disease.

Read impact stories about our charity partners.

Show Some Love With The Combined Federal Campaign

Military and Federal employees are eligible to participate in the 2017 Combined Federal Campaign. The federal workplace giving tradition is one of the largest workplace giving campaigns in the world, raising $256 million annually.

The campaign runs October through January—support Community Health Charities’ charity partners this campaign season!

American Cancer Society Is Attacking Cancer From Every Angle

 

American Cancer Society recently launched their new tagline: Attacking From Every Angle. The campaign focuses on everything the charity does to support those living with cancer, beyond research: free rides to treatment, insurance advice, lodging, and more.

That’s what American Cancer Society has been doing for over 100 years: funding breakthrough treatment and tirelessly supporting cancer patients. Check out their new website and videos.

Rebuilding Lives After Disaster

Whether it’s Harvey, Irma, Maria, or Las Vegas, stand with those working to rebuild their lives: volunteer your time, whether you live in the affected area or are helping from a distance, raise awareness, share resources for those affected by the disaster, and support Disaster Response.

Long-term recovery and rebuilding takes time and resources, as it is more than supplies and buildings—it’s rebuilding and restoring the lives of individuals, children, and families.

Support Women This October

Approximately 252,710 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2017. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Take action for your own health and support the women in your life—mothers, daughters, wives, and friends by: sharing resources, supporting East Bay Breast Cancer and Women’s Health, and learning more about the top health issues affecting women.

Prioritize Mental Health And Wellbeing

October 10 was Mental Health Awareness Day. Continue this mindset of overall wellness into the rest of October by supporting Community Health Charities’ Mental Health and Wellbeing cause and sharing mental health resources.

Volunteer Toolbox: Craft Kids

Community Health Charities has easy onsite volunteer opportunities for your employees. This month’s featured tool is Craft Kits. One of the ways St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital creates a warm and comfortable environment is providing arts and crafts for patients. The Happy Cart Project provides materials for children while they are receiving care in the hospital or waiting for a loved one.

This volunteer opportunity, and many more, are available in our “Volunteer On the Spot” toolkit.

Additionally, find volunteer opportunities by zip code and keyword through our online search.

Campaign Resources: Coupon Book

Check out Community Health Charities’ library of campaign resources to help engage your employees and advance the causes you care about. This month’s featured resource is our Coupon Book: Incentivize campaign participation by rewarding employees with a coupon of appreciation. Determine incentives to offer, customize the coupon template, and share with your employees.

For more details and to explore the rest of our campaign tools, ideas, and guidelines, check out our Campaign Resources.

1,688,780 people will be diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. in 2017. An estimated 600,920 people will die from the disease.

Our charity partners are working to save lives and turn these statistics around.

  • Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats, and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
  • American Cancer Society’s mission is to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer.
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is working to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.
  • Susan G. Komen saves lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer.
  • Cancer Research Institute is the world’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to harnessing the immune system’s power to conquer all cancers.
  • Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is a nationwide network of people dedicated to working together to advance research, support patients and create hope for those affected by pancreatic cancer.

Join our charity partners this campaign season and build stronger, healthier communities free of cancer:

October 23—29, 2017 is the Combined Federal Campaign Cancer Awareness Week.

This week, Community Health Charities is celebrating the survivors who benefited from our charity partner’s hard work, including:

Vicky Davis, 55, says she’s finally beginning to feel like herself again after over a year of treatments and support from the American Cancer Society. She recently returned to her job working with children who have special needs, and she’s growing a support group of women in her community who’ve been diagnosed with cancer. She has only three more treatments and she’s anticipating breast reconstruction surgery in a few months. After that, she says, “I can go back to the life I once had.”

Vicky’s life was turned upside down in October 2015 when she was called back after her regular, yearly mammogram. Biopsies found cancer in 2 lumps in her left breast and in lymph nodes under her arm. The first breast surgeon Vicky met with did not take her case seriously enough, she says, so she got a second opinion. “If I had not gotten a second opinion, I would not be alive right now,” said Vicky. “I’m getting the latest treatment approved by the FDA. I couldn’t get better care.”

“A lot of things happened to me in my life. I’ve always been afraid; always worried for my husband. Now I’m not as anxious. I’ve tackled the beast. I wasted too much energy being afraid. I’ve tackled this – I can tackle anything.”

Read Vicky’s full story on American Cancer Society’s website and learn how the organizations is attacking cancer from every angle.

Looking to engage employees? Try Lyft’s route: Promoting employee wellness and community involvement.

Based in San Francisco, Lyft is disrupting not only the transportation services industry, but employee engagement as well. This month, the VC-backed company hosted a week of employee volunteer activities across the San Francisco Bay Area with an impressive employee participation rate of over 90%.  Employees donated their time to help those in need – women, men, children— and even animals, with over 25 local charities participating in Lyft’s week of giving back to the community.

Community Health Charities was a proud partner in Lyft’s employee engagement efforts and assisted with coordinating volunteer activities for Lyft employees:

Covenant House California – serving at-risk youth. Young people staying at Covenant House were invited to Lyft’s corporate headquarters for an executive panelist discussion on career paths, a company-wide outdoor barbeque lunch, and a tour of Lyft’s colorful offices. It was a rewarding experience for the young residents at Covenant House– inspiring them that anything is possible with focus and determination.

      

Ronald McDonald Houses of both San Francisco and Stanford – improving the health and well-being of hospitalized children and their families through supportive programs, such as housing and meals. Lyft employees prepared healthy dinners for resident families at two local Ronald McDonald House facilities – San Francisco Mission Bay and Stanford.. In addition, other Lyft employees assembled Halloween gift bags for the Ronald McDonald House children and their siblings.

WildCare – rescuing wildlife in Northern California. Lyft employees from all over the Bay Area rolled-up their sleeves to build and paint a climbing structure for one of WildCare’s permanent residents, a blind possum. It was a day of team-building and creativity, followed by a tour of the WildCare facility.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – pioneering research and treatment for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The hospital costs approximately $2.6 million a day to run, and there is no cost to be treated. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital relies heavily on donor contributions and fundraising events such as the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer in late September. At St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s San Francisco office, Lyft employees rolled-up their sleeves again—this time to write thank you notes to generous donors and corporate partners who had participated in the Walk/Run.

 

I heard two things after my stroke:

  • “You look fine—I can’t even tell!”
  • Nothing.

Though said with good intention, both responses meant one thing: They didn’t understand what I went through.

For me, the hardest part of the stroke was the lack of support I found afterwards.

All of the effects of a stroke aren’t visible: Even after I regained use of the right side of my body, I wasn’t fully healed. I had to relearn English. Bright lights made me nauseous. Noises from the vacuum cleaner and lawn mower, previously routine sounds, would make me dizzy.

More than that, I didn’t know who I was.

It’s like being two different people in the same lifetime. I went from being a vibrant, social person to being paralyzingly shy. I felt a panic when around people and I had to tell my friends that I wasn’t interested in going out and being social anymore. Brownies were too sweet for me and most food was too spicy. I’m not as shy as I was initially after the stroke, but I’m still not my old, outgoing self.

Because I physically look fine, people assume that everything is back to “normal”—that I’m the same Charu as I was four years ago. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll ever be her again—or if I’ll recognize her if I do. This is my new normal. Looking from the outside, you can’t see my struggles with depression. You can’t see me asking my husband when my mother’s birthday is or what the portion of my leg above my ankle is called.

As a society, we know so little about mental health. We don’t want to talk about it. And the fact that it is not visible makes it even harder for others to recognize and provide support.  This knowledge gap makes it difficult to connect with people and explain what you’re going through.

My advice, to anyone who has lived through a stroke or is the caregiver of someone who has, is to find support. Find a group of people who understand what you’re going through and can empathize and offer meaningful advice. My husband and I started facilitating a caregiver and stroke survivor support group, and being surrounded by a group of people who were living with similar symptoms and feelings and mindsets as me was invaluable—I was understood.

You don’t have to recover alone. To find support, resources, and wellness tips after surviving a stroke, check out Community Health Charities’ health resources for life after stroke.

Tuesday, October 10 is World Mental Health Day.

One in five U.S. adults experience a mental illness every year—that’s 43.8 million people living with a condition that impacts their daily living.

Take time today to prioritize your own mental health and wellbeing and consider the mental health resources:

Help the millions of people living with a mental health condition: support Community Health Charities’ Mental Health and Wellbeing cause and share mental health resources with your network.

In November of 2005, I discovered two sore, achy lumps under my left arm. The doctor saw me within a day, told me he didn’t like the look of the lumps, and asked that I arrange for a biopsy. My first “uh-oh” moment came when my doctor informed me that he had already called the surgeon and that he was waiting across the street to see me.

The surgeon saw me immediately and agreed that a biopsy was appropriate. He was heading out of town, but thought he’d better squeeze me in before he left, another “uh-oh” moment. I had the biopsy three days later—the nodes seemed normal. Wow, what a relief!

If your physician has bad news, they want to tell you in person. My doctor asked if I could come by his office to talk. Since I could not get back downtown that day, he asked if he could call me at home later in the evening. That evening, I took the phone and headed out onto the deck for privacy. He told me that there was a 30% chance that I had mono, and a 70% chance that I had cancer. My life changed.

A few days later, on Friday, a day the oncologist usually did not see patients (uh-oh), my wife and I met the oncologist.  As we waited in the very busy reception room, I actually said to my wife that I was still hoping for mono. She looked at me with patience and amazement and said, “We are waiting to see an oncologist, it is not mono.” That meeting was a complete blur.

The initial treatment consisted of six rounds of chemo, one round every 21 days. For five days after the chemo day, I took anti-nausea medication and a steroid pills. For those five days I barely slept.

My hair fell out on Saturday December 11th, just about 14 days after my first round of chemo and on the day of my then 8 year old son’s birthday party. My wife had arranged with Debbie, the woman who cuts her and the kid’s hair, to shave my head when the time came. At about 5:00 on a Saturday night when she was supposed to be at a Christmas party, Debbie stayed home late to shave my head. This was one of many acts of kindness and generosity that I remember so fondly and cherish.

Savor what is good. In 2005, it was a friend shaving my head. Now, it’s having completed six triathlons and one half-ironman with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) team. Accept the support you are given. My wife, family, friends, and later the LLS team were there for me during multiple rounds of chemo, a cell transplant, and a donor lymphocyte infusion.

Every “uh-oh” moment is eased by your support system. Thank you to mine throughout this journey.

           

Visit Community Health Charities’ health resources to find more support for cancer and other long-term health conditions.

Bill previously served on Community Health Charities’ national board. Read more about his diagnosis story and journey at his personal blog, Living Lumpy

Eight-year-old Gabriel Taye hanged himself with a necktie earlier this year.

A few days before this little boy took his own life, school video footage shows a classmate hurling Gabriel into the bathroom wall where the third grader was knocked unconscious. He laid on the floor for more than five minutes while multiple students walked by – some even poked his lifeless body.

Read more on The Huffington Post.

Related:

How do you get your employees involved in workplace giving campaigns?

Michael Foods does it by having them involved in the planning process from start to finish.

Michael Foods is a seasoned Community Health Charities partner. They’ve found that their campaigns raise the most funds when employees join committees to handle campaign communication, monitor pledging, organize kick-off events, and more.

This year, employees staffed the Buzz Committee to get the word out about upcoming campaign events. Employees emailed a video every morning with campaign updates, walked around the office selling compliments grams— sometimes even while wearing a chicken costume, put lollipops with campaign information on employees’ desks, and hosted a departmental can drive competition that collected canned goods to deliver to charity. The Events Committee organized an executive relay race, sold ice cream from an ice cream truck, and hosted lunchtime bingo to raise money.

The best way to get your team excited about your campaign is by getting them involved. Check out Community Health Charities’ campaign resources and engagement resources to get your office more engaged.

Vanilla Ice had the right idea—are you listening to your employees?

Employers are creating wellness programs designed to improve the health of their employees. The programs revolve around improving employee health and can include anything from fitness challenges to rewarding regular doctor visits.

With a broad range of options, it’s important to implement an effective and helpful campaign designed for your employees specifically. When strategizing, ask for input.

  • Ask employees to anonymously complete Community Health Charities’ survey (sample only; we’ll customize one for you)—ask them what they’d like to see, what could be improved, and what they think your organization is missing.
  • Administer confidential health risk assessments. Find out what health issues most affect your employees and then identify the resources your employees need to live their healthiest lives—improved employee health can have an effect on absenteeism, productivity, and your bottom line. Use Community Health Charities’ resources to help provide the health support your team needs.

  • Host a roundtable on company culture. Make wellness part of your company’s culture. Host a conversation and discuss with employees how to best make wellness a part of the daily routine—the roundtable is the first step towards reaching this goal.

Your employees are your best resource—utilize them.

Make today, World Heart Day, the day you start making heart health a priority—incorporating a few healthy practices into your routine is all it takes.

  • Get moving and stay moving. Whether you’re training for a marathon or taking a brisk walk, find a way to incorporate exercise into your daily life. Getting your heartbeat up for 40 minutes three to four times a week can help fight off heart disease and stroke, as well as reduce blood pressure and stress levels.
  • Fuel up and eat mindfully. You are what you eat! Make sure your body is getting the nutrition it needs to keep you going.
  • Stop smoking and stay tobacco-free. Smoking increases your disk of a cardiovascular disease, as well as makes it harder for you to reach the rest of your health goals. Use American Heart Association’s resources to help you quit.

Check out all of American Heart Association’s suggestions for more ways to keep your heart healthy and utilize Community Health Charities’ heart healthy resources.

Responding to the Health Impact of Hurricanes

While the tragedy and loss suffered by the Harvey and Irma hurricanes has been heartbreaking, the outpouring of support as communities come together has been equally inspiring.

Community Health Charities’ Disaster Response fund meets the short and long-term health and mental health needs of those impacted by crisis.

Funds raised will provide emergency medicines and medical services to meet long-term needs related to health and mental and emotional wellbeing. Long-term recovery and rebuilding takes time and resources, as it is more than supplies and buildings—it’s rebuilding people’s lives.

Read about the efforts of our charity partners in the wake of the storms, plus review preparedness resources during National Preparedness Month. Lastly, read this BBB Wise Giving Alliance article featuring Community Health Charities and many of our charity partners as trusted, accredited charities for Hurricane Irma relief.

Help Prevent Suicide

“I don’t think of it as courage,” said Peter Dudley, Community Health Charities board member, on sharing his family’s struggle with suicide. September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, October 5th is National Depression Screen Day, and October 10th is World Mental Health Day. Use this time to share your story, support those in need, and review our mental health resources.

Perk Place Cafe Caffeinates for a Cause

Jeff and Natalie Meyer opened Perk Place three years ago in Oklahoma City with a simple business model: giving back. Each of Perk Place’s locations donates 25 cents of every transaction to its designated charity.

Along with the primary charity, Perk Place highlights a different nonprofit every month. The coffee is free from 7 to 8 AM, encouraging patrons to donate to the “generosity jar” in honor of the chosen charity. Perk Place has partnered with Community Health Charities to spotlight a variety of our charity partners; the shop has collected an average of $400 for our charity partners’ every month one is highlighted.

In the words of Perk Place, “generosity rules.”

Read the full story.

Welcome to our Newest Charity Partners

Community Health Charities is excited to welcome its newest charity partners: Cancer Support Community Central Ohio, Crescent Cove, Cure SMA Illinois Chapter, Gildas Club Metro Detroit, KOA Care Camps, Maine Cancer Foundation, Paralyzed Veterans of America, San Jose Firefighters Burn Foundation, Sickle Cell Disease Association of Florida, Inc., and Veterans4Warriors.

Make a Small Change for a Big Result

What you eat and how you live affects more than weight: USDA research indicates that a healthy diet full of nutritious food plays a part in preventing chronic disease.

Whether you’re making school lunches or healthy changes to your lifestyle, it’s hard to make a big change all at once. To get started, try these four small changes, provided by the Choose My Plate campaign, to make your health and long-term wellbeing a priority.

Pet Partners Provides Emotional Support and Wagging Tails

Pet Partners, a Community Health Charities charity partner, utilized their furry employees to bring comfort to those recovering from Hurricane Harvey: trained therapy dogs visited a relief site in Victoria, Texas to provide emotional support to those in need.

Read how more of our charity partners make an impact.

9News Recognizes Denver Heroes at Work

At Community Health Charities’ 7th Annual Health Heroes at Work Recognition Breakfast on August 18 in Denver, attendees celebrated Colorado’s commitment to building stronger, healthier communities and enjoyed breakfast at the Studio Loft at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. Don Parsons, a retired surgeon general working at 9Health Fair, was the 2017 Health Hero of the Year. Winners of the 2017 Campaign Excellence Award included Great-West Financial, Kaiser-Permanente, King Soopers/City Market, and TIAA. Winners of the 2017 Campaign Success Award included Pinnacol Assurance, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Hyatt Regency Denver. The event was emceed by 9News anchor Corey Rose with special remarks by Beth Bowlen, daughter of Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen.

Check out the 9 News Denver story and read more about the event.

Stay Safe During Wildfires

Wildfires are burning across the west coast, affecting both the communities witnessing active fire and those surrounding them—a 2011 study found that two thirds of the United States was affected by smoke-induced air conditions. The fine particles dispersed into the air during fire are linked to a range of health conditions, ranging from burning eyes to aggravating chronic heart and lung diseases.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends those living in areas affected by smoke and worsened air conditions take active steps during wildfires.

U.S. News and World Report and Fox Business Feature Community Health Charities

Community Health Charities was recently featured in the news for our anti-bullying campaign and workplace engagement initiatives. Read the articles here.

New Board Members Welcomed at September Meeting

The Community Health Charities Board of Directors’ September 14 meeting introduced four new board members: Peter Dudley, Erin Gollhofer, Xiaoteng Huang, and Tiffany Reeves.

Volunteer Toolbox: Blankets of Comfort

Community Health Charities has easy onsite volunteer opportunities for your employees. This month’s featured tool is Blankets of Comfort—make a simple 5-step blanket to provide warmth and comfort to children and adults in the hospital, transitional housing, or homeless shelters.

This volunteer opportunity, and many more, are available in our “Volunteer On the Spot” toolkit.

Additionally, find volunteer opportunities by zip code and keyword through our online search.

Campaign Resources: Casual for a Cause

Check out Community Health Charities’ library of campaign resources to help engage your employees and advance the causes you care about. This month’s featured resource is Grand-ola Wrappers: thank your employees who support workplace giving campaigns with granola bars in grand-ola wrappers celebrating their compassion, commitment, and dedication.

For more details and to explore the rest of our campaign tools, ideas, and guidelines, check out our Campaign Resources.

Trying to spark a healthy change in your office? Try adding some friendly competition to your workplace. Awards can be anything from the best parking spot, healthcare discounts, time off, a company-sponsored lunch, gift cards, or bragging rights!

  • Walking—Challenge your coworkers to see who can take the most steps in a week. Research shows that walking reduces your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. You can track your steps with fitness trackers or an app on your smart phone. Post a chart with everyone’s stats in the office and update it every day to keep the competitive streak going.
  • Water drinking— Drink up! Hydration is key to overall health and maintaining a healthy weight. Keep a white board in the kitchen and have everyone write a tally every time they consume 8 ounces of water.
  • Sleeping—Getting enough sleep each night is important for your physical health, emotional health, and overall productivity at work. Challenge your coworkers to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night one week. The department with the highest success rate wins.
  • Bringing lunch—It’s easier to know what’s in your food when you’re the one making it. Challenge your office to bring a healthy lunch to work twice a week for a month. With a variety of healthy ideas, healthy doesn’t have to be boring.

Community Health Charities has a variety of health resources to help motivate your employees. Check them out, challenge your coworkers, and maximize employee wellness!

Invest in Employee Wellbeing and Increase Your Bottom Line

Research shows that companies who invest in employee wellbeing annually reduce costs by $1,600 per employee. Not only does health and wellness improve employee morale, it lowers healthcare costs, increases productivity, reduces absenteeism, and lessens employee turnover rates. Check out Forbes’ 14 employee wellbeing initiative ideas to get started making overall health a priority in your company culture.

Fuel up for Back to School

While it’s tempting to pack a pre-packaged breakfast, what you put in your body in the morning fuels you for the rest of the day. Whether it’s for a child or you, stay away from foods loaded with fat and sugar. Instead, try the American Heart Association’s Top Ten Tips for a Healthy Breakfast.

Read our full article for the 10 delicious breakfast ideas.

Cause an Impact on a Child’s Life

It’s back to school season, and it’s a great time to think about children—not every child is fortunate enough to be healthy and safe in a loving home.

Each year, nearly 27,000 children are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness like cancer, and many more face an uncertain future due to life-limiting conditions (such as homelessness). Utilize our Every Kid Deserves® resources to learn how to make a difference today.

S&C Electric Company Increases Giving 36%

S&C Electric Company, an electric power switching, protection, and control systems company headquartered in Chicago, had their most successful giving campaign to date this year, raising $98,000 for Community Health Charities—36% higher than 2016.

How’d they do it? Tried and true effective campaign practices. Friendly competition. Departments competed to have the highest percentage of team members contributing to the cause, no matter the size of the donation. While the campaign lasted two weeks, S&C supports team members giving and volunteering in their communities throughout the year—it’s a part of S &C’s tradition of being a good corporate citizen. S&C Electric Company is a Community Health Charities partner committed to employee engagement.

Philanthropy or Fraud?

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a Community Health Charities partner, issued a warning about a fake charity sweepstakes. The scammers call from a Washington D.C. area code (202), referencing the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America and saying that the recipient has won $450,000. The catch? The “winner” must give up their banking information for taxes and insurance. Both the FTC and the Make-A-Wish Foundation posted alerts about the scam.

Keep yourself safe from charity scammers with BBB’s tips on identifying fraud.

21 Ways to Make the World a Better Place

Generosity doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive; this Thrive Global article gives 21 ways you can be more giving in your daily life. Our CEO, Tom Bognanno, contributed Idea 18:  Volunteer an hour a week.

A New Trend in Corporate Volunteering

Chris Jarvis, CEO and co-founder of Realized Worth, emphasized the importance of empathy in volunteering during our August webinar, Corporate Volunteerism. In this new era of employee volunteerism, organizational opportunities must be transformative and cause-focused, resulting in devoted volunteers. This requires leaders who are passionate and frame the experience, encouraging team members to connect and identify with the individuals impacted by the volunteer experience. Only then will the volunteering be transformative and lasting.

Chris closed out his webinar with a thank you to Community Health Charities:  “It is a fantastic organization that I am so thankful for. There is not a Community Health Charities in most of the other parts of the world; I just want to applaud the good work you are doing.”

Watch the webinar.

Community Health Charities Welcomes New Board Members

We’re proud to welcome our newest board members, Erin Gollhofer, Peter Dudley, and Xiaoteng X. Huang! Erin is bringing 13 years of experience in the nonprofit and community engagement fields; she is currently the Global CSR Communications Consultant at Kimberly-Clark. Peter is the Senior Vice President and Manager of Team Member Philanthropy at Wells Fargo. He won the 2016 Charities@Work Individual Impact Award for his work in the community and recently teamed up with Community Health Charities to raise awareness of mental health through WriteCause. Xiatoteng co-founded PinkU Japanese, a Japanese street food restaurant, and graduated from Cornell University in 2011. They’ll be attending their first board meeting in September.

Volunteer Toolbox: Shoebox for Support

Community Health Charities has an array of volunteer resources for your employees. This month’s featured tool is Shoebox for Support—lend a helping hand to individuals, children, and families experiencing homelessness. Find a shoebox and fill it with toiletries and other basic necessities.

This volunteer opportunity, and many more, are available in our “Volunteer On the Spot” toolkit. Request access to the toolkit by emailing info@healthcharities.org.

Additionally, find volunteer opportunities by zip code and keyword through our online search.

Community Health Charities Welcomes New Board Members

Check out Community Health Charities’ library of campaign resources to help engage your employees and advance the causes you care about. This month’s featured resource is Casual for a Cause: Employees can donate $5 towards your workplace giving campaign for a sticker—available on the resource library—allowing them to dress down for the day.

For more details and to explore the rest of our campaign tools, ideas, and guidelines, check out our Campaign Resources.

What’s even better than one workplace giving campaign?

Helping your clients’ workplaces give to the causes they care about too!

Spirit HR, a professional employer organization that businesses use to outsource employee management tasks like HR, benefits and payroll, partnered with Community Health Charities to do just that. Their online portal, Spirit HR Gives, makes it easy for employees at client companies to support the causes and organizations important to them.

“We believe in supporting causes that help better the lives of those in our community and the Spirit HR Gives program is a perfect outlet,” explained CEO Dale Hageman. “Providing an easy way for our internal and worksite employees to contribute to their favorite charities is just another example of how we use our technology to enhance the employment experience.

Learn more about workplace giving and the impact you and your employees can cause.