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.

This September 11th, remember those who have fallen by supporting military and veterans in need. 1 of every 4 active duty military members shows signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or other mental health conditions. Whether their injuries are physical, mental or both, our nation’s heroes and the families who care for them need a tremendous amount of support.

Here’s how you can honor our active military and veterans on September 11th:

  • Use our Volunteer on the Spot Guide to 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 tool to find volunteer opportunities near you.
  • Support Hero’s Health. Your support will provide critical physical and mental health programs focused on hope and healing, support for families’ of injured veterans, employment and job training programs, and more.
  • Share our Military and Veteran Health Resources with someone in need.

Thank you to our service members and all those who support them.

Disaster response is not just about rebuilding homes—it’s about rebuilding lives.

Thousands of lives have been affected by Harvey and Irma, both inside their paths and out. Family and friends of our staff have lost everything, been displaced from their homes, and are living in shelters while their communities recover and grow during the storms’ aftermath. Shelly Douglas, a staff member, had a friend recently pass in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Amid the heartbreak, the solidarity and support we have seen has been uplifting—dedicated staff, charity partners working around the clock, and supporters, like you, giving to support communities in need. Funds raised through our Crisis and Disaster Response fund provide everything from emergency medical and healthcare services to mental health and wellbeing. 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.

We’re building stronger, healthier communities. Together.

Wildfires: it’s more than just the burn; it’s the health impact

Wildfires are burning across the west coast, affecting both the communities witnessing active fire and those surrounding them—a study found that two thirds of the United States was affected by smoke-induced air conditions in 2011.  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 that those living in areas affected by smoke and worsened air conditions take active steps during wildfires.

  • Use common sense. Stay inside if it look smoky outside or you’ve heard reports of unhealthy air conditions.
  • Pay attention to local air quality reports. Stay up-to-date on news coverage and visit AirNow for your area’s air quality.
  • Keep indoor air as clean as possible. Avoid anything that burns—wood fireplaces, gas stoves, etc.—plus, steer clear of candles, wait to vacuum, and do not smoke.
  • Run your air conditioner. Filter clean air rather than bringing contaminated air inside.
  • Talk to a doctor. If you have heart or lung disease, if you are an older adult, or if you have children you may want to leave the area.

Take American Lung Association’s special precautions if you have lung disease, chronic disease, or diabetes.

Cause an impact for those living with dangerous air quality by supporting Crisis and Disaster Response and utilizing our crisis resources.

A healthy diet and active lifestyle affects a whole lot more than weight: USDA research indicates that a healthy diet full of nutritious food plays a part in preventing chronic disease.

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

  • Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables work to maintain a healthy blood pressure, possibly protect against certain types of cancer, and reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. Use these creative ways to slip fruits and veggies into your snacks and meals.
  • Make half of your grains whole grains. Whole grains help maintain a healthy digestive track and keep your blood sugar steady, lowering your risk of diabetes. Check out the USDA’s tips on adding whole grain to your diet, as well as the American Diabetes Association’s Create Your Plate tool to ensure you’re getting enough whole grain in your meals.
  • Move to low-fat and fat-free dairy. While dairy can promote bone health, consuming too much high-fat dairy can result in high cholesterol levels. This can increase risk of heart attack and stroke. Follow these ten simple steps to make sure you’re making the right dairy choices.
  • Vary your protein routine. Switch it up! Protein fuels your body, so make sure you’re balancing the kinds you’re eating. Regularly consuming lean protein can help maintain heart health, relieve the symptoms of arthritis, and more.

Check out our health resources for more ways to feel healthy and energized!

What’s your company’s biggest cost?

According to a study by PWC, financial stress could be costing you—big time.

The study found that one in three employees reports that their personal finances are a distraction at work—and 46% of those people said they spend three hours or more a week thinking about or dealing with their personal finances at work. This results in $5,000 in productivity loss a year per employee.

To combat this, U.S. employers are implementing financial wellness programs for their employees.

This doesn’t mean better insurance policies, 401k policies, or the occasional bonus—It means offering programs that teach employees how to manage their finances: budgeting within their means, growing a savings account, utilizing insurance, and more. Whether it’s free employee consultations, workshops, or online resources, see what you can do to reduce employee financial stress and increase productivity.

Health and wellbeing is all-encompassing and includes financial wellness.  Check out a few of the financial resources by one of our charity partners.

Community Health Charities hosted our 7th Annual Health Heroes at Work Recognition Heroes Breakfast on August 18 in Denver, Colorado.

The event celebrated Colorado businesses’ and nonprofits’ amazing work to build stronger, healthier Colorado communities.

“The Hero’s Health breakfast in Denver was an awesome opportunity to celebrate the amazing working taking place in the community.  I enjoyed meeting representatives from local charities as well as all of the campaigns,” said Shelley Hayes, Vice President of Customer Solutions at Community Health Charities. “Seeing Colorado come together to build stronger communities inspires me both personally and professionally.”

The event was emceed by Corey Rose from 9News, an award-winning journalist who annually hosts the event. Beth Bowlen, daughter of Denver Bronco’s owner Pat Bowlen, was the keynote speaker. Beth is a prominent part of the Denver community and previously worked as the director of special projects for the Denver Broncos. She currently serves on multiple nonprofit executive boards, including Alzheimer’s Association.

Don Parsons, a retired surgeon general working at 9Health Fair, was this year’s Health Hero of the Year. Don has been with 9Health Fair for 10 years, serving on the Medical Advisory Committee and Board of Trustees and working as the site coordinator at the Summit County Fair in Frisco. His dedicated spirit demonstrates an unwavering commitment to the medical, health, and wellness of communities in Colorado.

Community Health Charities recognized local company partners whose campaigns excelled. Recipients 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.

9News ran a segment on Parsons and Community Health Charities.

Thank you to all that attended the breakfast—and to everyone that continues to work to build stronger, healthier communities.

Everyone loves a barbeque—but this classic option isn’t the only way to honor America’s workers this Labor Day. Try one of our three unconventional ways to celebrate Labor Day this year:

  • Volunteer! Labor Day honors Americas’ workers, but many of them—nurses, emergency responders, police officers, and farmers to name a few—can’t take the day off. Use our volunteer tool to find volunteer opportunities near you.
  • Organize a Volunteer on the Spot event at your workplace this week—and labor for a good cause. You and your coworkers can make a difference on your lunch breaks or in between projects without leaving the office with the onsite volunteer projects in our guide.
  • Begin making employee wellness and engagement priorities in your workplace. Make sure everyone you work with is happy, healthy and able to perform their best.

The best way to incentivize employees? According to Sportsman’s Guide, it’s simple: Fun!

Sportsman’s Guide doesn’t utilize traditional workplace giving campaigns—there are no payroll deductions. Instead, the company hosts a week of fun events designed to engage employees and get them excited about giving back to the community. All of the week’s fundraising goes directly to Community Health Charities.  This year’s week of activity included a raffle for parking garage spaces, candy grams, and vacation time donations, a product sample sale, an impact speaker from a charity partner, a silent auction, and the crowd favorite: a carnival.

This was the first year Sportsman’s Guide hosted a carnival for employees. The event was held during lunch breaks and featured all the traditional aspects of a carnival: a variety of games, a prize table, authentic Mexican and Salvadorian cuisine, cotton candy, popcorn, and most importantly—a dunk tank.

The carnival raised funds three ways: the purchase of tickets used for games and food, sales of an employee-created cookbook, and shots at the dunk tank.  Management volunteered to be dunked, resulting in the dunk tank alone raising nearly $700! Participants could either pay $5 for 3 balls or $20 to simply push the button and dunk their supervisors.

Giving back causes a serious impact, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun doing it!

 

Doctors discovered Colton suffered from a high grade glioma tumor in September, and shortly after he underwent brain surgery. Colton’s family then turned to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for his continuing treatment, including chemotherapy. “St. Jude spares no expense,” said Colton’s mom, Colleen. “It doesn’t matter the cost, they’re going to do what’s in the best interest of my child. The attitude is not to wait and see if something happens, but rather to make sure nothing happens.”

Oliver was placed in an animal shelter. He was sick, and showed signs of past abuse. He had few adoption prospects, but as a fierce advocate for rescue dogs, Betty, decided to give him a chance. Betty noticed Oliver’s sweet disposition and decided he would be a great addition to her growing therapy dog team. Betty and Oliver began training, quickly passed their evaluation, and soon after became a Pet Partners registered therapy animal team. Oliver now visits nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals, and domestic violence shelters. Oliver shows unconditional love to others even with his painful history.

“His heart is here! Wake up!” Blake will never forget waking up to these words when her father received the call that would save his life and change the course of hers forever. Blake felt helpless when her father was on the waiting list, but after his successful transplant, she found a calling in spreading the word about organ and tissue donation. Blake became a NJ Sharing Network Ambassador at 13, and continues to share her story. She founded the Donate Life club at her high school, leads a 5k Celebration team, and plans to continue her efforts in college. “I am inspired by my Dad’s story, the honorable donors, and the students who have told me they changed their license to reflect ‘organ donor. “

During their 19-week ultrasound appointment, Sherry and RH’s excitement turned to terror when they were told their son’s bladder was abnormally large. To save their baby’s life, Sherry underwent fetal surgery. When Douglas was born, he was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, and a rare birth defect called prune belly syndrome. Yearning for answers and action, Sherry received resources from National Kidney Foundation, and began personally spreading the word about kidney disease. Now almost three, Douglas has already been through 15 surgeries, but remains a happy, active little boy who loves tractors, Mickey Mouse, and playing with his older sister. Despite the many challenges he faces, his parents know he’s strong enough for the fight. His mother reflects on their health journey: “I want everyone to know about kidney disease, for people to get tested to become living donors. Not just for our son when the time comes, but for others waiting for the gift of life.”

Natalie has a very rare auto-immune disorder that causes blood clots. It took months to receive a diagnosis and in that time, it did substantial damage both physically and cognitively. While she realizes she is fortunate to be alive, Natalie experienced multiple brain infractions that impacted her spatial orientation and balance. Kohlie has been a life-changing gift, as she assists Natalie with bracing, balancing, and retrieving things that drop so that Natalie can avoid leaning over. Natalie lives alone, but with Kohlie by her side, she has the comfort and confidence to travel, and was even able to visit her daughter in California. “I waited for two and a half years for Kohlie. During that time, I was essentially house bound unless someone accompanied me, but now Kohlie and I go everywhere together. She gave me the freedom to be independent. She gave me my life back.”

A CT scan and a biopsy confirmed that a mass in Griffin’s pelvis was Ewing Sarcoma, a type of bone cancer that occurs most often in and around the bones and typically affects children and young adults. Every time Jill arrived at the hospital for her 8-year-old son Griffin’s chemotherapy treatment for Ewing Sarcoma, she posted signs and drawings on the blank hospital room walls. One sign hung above Griffin’s bed and his IV pole: “GriffinStrong,” it said, with the scribbled signatures of his classmates. “Childhood cancer works overtime to destroy families. It does to children what even strong adults crumble beneath,” says Jill. As Griffin left his last treatment, he had advice for other kids going through sickness just like him. True to the motto he has kept with him through it all, he says, “Stay strong. You can do it.”

Latinos and women are among the populations disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Paula Meza falls into both demographics, however, she was unfamiliar with Alzheimer’s until her mother, Hermina, was diagnosed. Hermina’s extensive medical needs in addition to working full time and being a student, quickly overwhelmed Paula.

Paula began to feel desperate and unfit to manage her mother’s care. Then, a co-worker referred Paula to the Alzheimer’s Association. Although hesitant, Paula quickly felt supported by receiving educational materials in Spanish and connecting with a Spanish speaking outreach coordinator who continues to check in with the Meza family.