The third time Judy Halter heard the words, “You have cancer,” she panicked. “I knew there was a possibility that my time here could definitely be shortened,” she said. But even more than her diagnosis of bladder cancer, Judy says she worried about how she was going to get to treatment.
At age 76, Judy no longer drove more than a few miles away from home for fear of getting lost and had no way of getting to all her appointments. “I didn’t know what I was going to do,” said Halter. In desperation, she called American Cancer Society asking for guidance. Judy was immediately connected to a program that could help. Through the program, volunteers donate their spare time and personal vehicle to drive cancer patients in their community to treatment appointments. Judy was matched with two drivers who had both been cancer patients themselves.
Since she began treatment a year and a half ago, Judy says she has never missed an appointment.
Before finding Covenant House, Daniel was living in the streets after escaping an abusive home.
“My dad was addicted to meth and drank a lot,” said Daniel. “He abused my mom [and] sexually abused me for years. And no one knew.”
Daniel’s father’s addiction spiraled out of control after Daniel’s mother left. “I thought she would take us with her, but I guess she was just too scared,” sad Daniel. His father stopped going to work, and they were evicted. His father’s abuse didn’t end when they had to move in with family friends.
“I used to sleep in the truck outside because I was so afraid to be in the same house with him,” said Daniel. It wasn’t long before this innocent child faced a choice none of us should have to make: remain in a violent home or risk the dangers of the streets. Daniel chose the streets.
“When I was 15, I started getting into a lot of fights and ended up dropping out of school,” Daniel said. “One day, I was on the street with one of my friends and a group of boys started taunting us. I ended up trying to ‘handle them,’ and they took out a gun and shot my friend right in the face. To this day I blame myself for his death and that we didn’t just walk away,” he said.
Sexually abused by his father. Abandoned by his mother. His best friend shot to death in front of him. All before he was 18.
Daniel has since found shelter, care, ongoing support, and unconditional love at Covenant House. Covenant House staff are working to help Daniel believe in himself and his future, and that he can change his life for the better.
Six-year-old Nico was diagnosed with diabetes in 2014. The diagnosis meant that his mother, Jodi, had to quickly learn about diabetes, including how to care for Nico on a daily basis, give him insulin shots, and spot the warning signs of a diabetic emergency.
The school feared a lawsuit if any of its school staff gave Nico his shots, so Jodi became his caregiver at school. She traveled from her home office to Nico’s school around noon each day to give him an insulin shot. This continued for several months. Bbecause nobody at the school was trained about diabetes, Nico was also unable to participate in after-school programs and activities.
The entire situation was frustrating for the family and Nico. Jodi contacted American Diabetes Association for help, and learned about Nico’s rights. Under federal law, Nico’s school had to provide him proper diabetic care. School staff were trained in diabetic care, giving Nico and his family the support they need.
Jim and Leslie Donigan have been married for almost 50 years. Currently retired with three adult children, they have both faced a cancer diagnosis and are in remission today.
In October of 2003, Leslie was diagnosed with GIST (Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors), a stomach cancer, and was told it was terminal. But then her doctor tried a medication intended for blood cancer—and it worked. The treatment that saved her life resulted directly from blood cancer research funded by Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Then, in May 2016, Jim faced a mantle cell lymphoma diagnosis. Once again, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society funds dedicated to research were critical in advancing this therapy. Between two cancer diagnoses, the family faced serious financial hardships. Jim relied on Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s co-pay assistance program to help pay for his treatment.
Today, both Leslie and Jim are doing well. “There is hope. Never give up,” says Jim. They are thankful for the investment in blood cancer research, which saved both their lives.
According to Forbes, 77% of employees believe health and wellness programs positively impact the culture at work, yet only 55% of organizations practice workplace wellness initiatives—Is your company one of the few not valuing employee wellbeing?
Dakota Electric Association leadership values employee wellness, focusing on keeping employees healthy and engaged all year—not exclusively during workplace giving campaigns.
At Dakota Electric, leadership listens to employees and their health concerns, and then invites local Minnesota Community Health Charities’ charity partners to the office for educational programs. Employees interact with the health issues that are important to them, engage with local charities, and learn healthy practices to use in their own lives. Dakota Electric holds these educational wellness events throughout the year.
Dakota Electric’s consistent focus on health culminated during their 2017 week-long workplace giving campaign, Dakota Cares, with employees raising over $29,000 for Community Health Charities and other charities. Dakota Electric employees hosted a pledge drive and a variety of fundraising events, such as a sporting clay shoot, silent auctions, special meals, and more.
“The employees stepped up to the challenge” President and CEO Greg Miller said. “It’s nice we can raise a significant amount of money to support these great causes. My thanks to the committee for all their hard work.”
Research shows that 70% of all U.S. employees would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues. Plus, our proprietary research shows that 85% of consumers prefer to give to local charities, making a difference right where they live and work.
Maximize your employee’s potential by maximizing the impact they can have on their communities; it worked for Elkay Manufacturing.
Elkay Manufacturing has nearly doubled their workplace giving campaign since 2014, raising over $107,000 in 2017—a nearly 25% increase from their 2016 campaign. The secret? Providing ways for their employees to support the causes important to them. Community Health Charities provided Elkay manufacturing with charities relevant to the causes employees cared about both locally to company headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, and nationally. The company matched pledges, making it easier for employees to have a large impact—and 49.4% of employees did.
“The ease and efficiency allows employees to support charities important to them from East to West coast,” said Elkay’s Linda Carlisle of Corporate Communications. “Instead of writing hundreds of checks, we write one check annually and Community Health Charities disperses it.”
To create a personalized campaign like Elkay Manufacturing did, utilize the Community Health Charities’ survey (this is a sample; we’ll customize one for you) to find the issues important to your employees. Then, work with a Community Health Charities representative to create a custom cause for your organization.
Workplace giving isn’t solely about meeting CSR or company goals—it’s engaging employees by helping them give back to their communities.
SFM Mutual Insurance knows this first hand. For their second annual giving campaign with Community Health Charities, the company focused on giving employees the opportunity to work hands-on with the charity partners they support.
Employees gathered in the office to pin teal ribbons to awareness cards for the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance, helping the charity spread awareness and resources throughout the year. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) giving tree was set up in the office’s lobby, with ornaments featuring wish list items for people hospitalized during the holiday season. Employees created glurch, a toy slime, for Fraser and the children and individuals it supports. The office also sponsored a family of seven living with cancer: In exchange for a $20 gift of support for the Angel Foundation, employees were permitted to dress down from the usual business casual to casual clothing for a week.
SFM Mutual Insurance’s engagement strategy works—the previous year’s campaign raised over $13,000.
Take a page out of SFM Mutual Insurance’s book—or our Volunteer on the Spot Toolkit—for your next campaign. Check out our volunteer opportunity locator to find charities in your area that need your help, and contact firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a workplace giving campaign of your own
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.
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 picnic 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Freedom Service Dogs of America helped give Natalie her freedom back, with a service dog named Kohlie. 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.”
Story provided by Children’s Cancer Research Fund.
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.