2020 saw many businesses pivot, including ours to adapt to the impact of the COVID-19…
We recently checked in with the local small business community to learn how you’re giving back this season. The results are pretty inspiring- you guys have been BUSY! You’re out there doing your thing and making our community a better place. We see you and we love what you’re up to. So, this month we’re shining a light on all the good you’re doing with our “12 Days of Doing Good” social campaign, in hopes we can inspire others to get out and shine bright, too. Thanks for caring, we’re so grateful for all you do. Keep spreading the love this season and all year round.
If you or a small biz you know is also doing great things in the Central Ohio community, we want to hear about it. Share your stories in the comments or connect with us at email@example.com. Happy Holidays, do-gooders… Check out these awesome stories- be sure to share yours!
Wright Patt Credit Union
“Wright Patt Credit Union has been busy this season! We have been giving back to our community diligently. I should first start by explaining how Wright Patt Credit Union came to be. That may help all of you readers understand why our culture and mission hold so much
power in how we serve our communities day in and day out. Wright Patt Credit Union was founded by workers at Wright Field in 1937. One of the workers had to take a substantial amount of time off of work due to an illness. This was during the Great Depression when paid disability or medical leave weren’t things that people could take advantage of. This individual’s coworkers decided to put a shoebox in the breakroom and the employees contributed a quarter from each paycheck to the box. The funds in the shoebox would then be given to the individual that had fallen ill to help he and his family through the
challenging time. Over time, the individual came back to health and was able to return to work. All of the employees at Wright Field decided to continue to contribute to the shoebox so the next person that needed help would have support. This shoebox, named by the workers of Wright Field, was called “The Sunshine Community Fund”. The Sunshine Community Fund was the beginning of Wright Patt Credit Union and it is something that still exists today. I share all of this to say that Wright Pat Credit Union was founded on the act of giving and supporting its community. Aside from our continuous internal fundraising to support the Sunshine Community Fund, we are stewards with our time and other resources. We host networking events that allow a space for our non-profit partnerships and veteran owned businesses to be featured free of charge, we have collected coats and goods to be donated to those in need, we participate monthly in community volunteer days with Small Biz Cares., and he list goes on. We are out in the community doing all that we can to help the people around us. That can take many different forms such as donating items, creating helpful spaces, educating our communities on financial literacy, and advocating for our members to help them keep their hard earned money in their pockets. Wright Patt Credit Union is a special place. We give back all year round, not just in December. If you would like to see the other amazing things that we are doing in the community, give us a follow on our social platforms!”
Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio
“Fourth-grade students at Starling Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio have a challenging goal this school year: To Make the Word a Better Place. They are working toward this goal with a team of volunteers from the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio in partnership with the local nonprofit, See Kids Dream.
This partnership is through the Project Dream Program, a youth service program created by See Kids Dream to help students build confidence and skills outside of the classroom to help make the world a better place. Melissa Rogner, Vice President of Marketing and Communications with the BBB of Central Ohio has been a Project Dream volunteer for the past four years and was excited to be a part of the program with the BBB. ‘It is inspiring to see how much students grow through the Project Dream program,’ said Rogner, ‘I am excited that the BBB team embraced this community leadership program to support the work of See Kids Dream.’
During the 2021-2022 school year, the Central Ohio BBB team will meet with 10 fourth-grade students every week to connect and help them learn about community issues and how they can make a difference. This past week the group chose to address homelessness by conducting a survey with the student body.
The program also includes opportunities for students to explore and share about themselves to build character and confidence. Each weekly meeting with the students begins with a time to share Highs and Lows from the past week to allow them to share their thoughts. The group meetings also include Connection Time, a time where the class breaks into small groups and BBB volunteers help lead meaningful discussions about the topic of the day. “These moments each week are truly powerful, the students share their feelings and learn to listen to other opinions and feelings as well.” Rogner said. The BBB team will continue to lead discussions about how the group can create solutions and support for community issue of homelessness. The team will research local organizations and resources to determine how they will choose how they can help. Creating an advocacy campaign, food or clothing drive, or fundraising opportunities are all initiatives the students will discuss together.
About See Kids Dream
Founded by Bill and Laura Grindle in 2008, See Kids Dream is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization with a mission to empower youth with the skills, motivation and confidence to make the world a better place. Working with central Ohio educators and other non-profits, See Kids Dream creates and supports youth-driven service learning programs for ages 8-14. To learn more, visit seekidsdream.org.
Better Business Bureau is a community based resource, a trusted advisor, and a partner in business. BBB exists to advance Trust in business and believes that businesses who embrace Trust as a core principle in their organization will see that it leads to growth in employees, customers, community and their bottom line. Through evaluation and Accreditation, education and training, and celebrating great role models, BBB builds a community of like-minded businesses and loyal customers. BBB believes in the power of trust to grow people, businesses and communities. Visit bbb.org to learn more.”
“Ahola Payroll & HR Solutions Supports Homeless and In-Need Families
Community involvement and philanthropy are core to our mission and values at Ahola. As a family-owned and operated business, we feel that supporting our community strengthens our culture and aligns with our goals as an organization. Our employees share in our vision of creating a legacy that provides for the communities we are part of. The Employee Engagement Committee at Ahola Payroll & HR Solutions selected St. Malachi as a recipient of its Holiday Giving Campaign. St. Malachi works with various groups of individuals who are in need and homeless in Ohio. This year, Ahola collected donations for The Family Bag Program at St. Malachi. Employees donated household items, toiletries, clothing, treats, and family games. Employees were invited to help put the Family Bags together and write holiday cards for the recipients. They will then be dispersed to homeless families in need in Ohio. Ahola was able to fill over 10 bags and boxes for less fortunate and homeless families in our community!”
“Our mission at Virtue Salon is: ‘We celebrate community + inspire individuals to be authentic selves’. We believe that we are only successful as individuals and as a business when the community around us is flourishing. One of our core values is ‘We Give A Damn’. We care about the environment, humans and animals and believe it is our role to help support as much as we can. We work hard every year to plan for ways to give back in creative ways.
Recently we had our 2nd annual pumpkin drive for Sunrise Sanctuary. We collected several truckloads of pumpkins that would have otherwise been discarded and the pumpkins went to the sanctuary for them to feed their animals. There were so many pumpkins that several other surrounding farms and sanctuaries were able to use the pumpkins as well. We love to see the community pull together in this way and love to be a ‘hub for this sort of thing in our community.”
“FocusCFO has a long history of supporting community causes. However, starting in 2020, the firm wanted to respond to challenges made worse by the worldwide pandemic. In addition, the FocusCFO footprint had grown to cover 5 states and so the community outreach needed to equally support all of the communities where the firm operated. That year, FocusCFO designated food scarcity and insecurity for our fundraising cause and since, our associates have raised over $100,000 for food pantries in the 15 markets where we operate. Not only do we support local food pantries with financial support, many of our associates volunteer and serve on boards for those organizations. At our all hands conference this fall, we raised an additional $41,500 to fight food scarcity for a total of $82,500 for 2021.”
“EasyIT has had another record year in 2021. EasyIT made the fast 50 list for the second year in a row, received the Consumers’ Choice Award for the 6th year in a row, CEO, Kurt Hoeft, was a Smart 50 finalist, and EasyIT was named one of the most generous companies in central Ohio by Business First. We always focus on philanthropic goals as well as business and growth goals. In November, EasyIT participated in the Byron Saunders Food Drive.
This was a great opportunity for our team to bring in donations to serve those in need in our local community, and provide a Thanksgiving meal to families who would otherwise not be able to have a Thanksgiving meal. We also opted to support a local business this year, Bake Me Happy, for holiday gifts for our clients – we received great feedback on the treats, but even better feedback on supporting a local business.”
“This holiday season, we at Borja Virtual are supporting Cancer Can’t Stop Christmas organized by The COC. Our goal is to provide gifts to children whose family is currently battling cancer. As local business leaders, it’s important for us to give back in everything we do. Serving others isn’t a checklist item, serving others is a way of life.” The COC is a 15 yr old, donation funded organization which helps active treatment cancer patients succeed on their road to recovery by providing them with emotional support and financial assistance to prevent eviction, utility disconnects, vehicle repossessions, and more.
“At Maven, giving back is in our DNA. It’s who we are. The Central Ohio area has a special place in our company’s heart – it’s where we were founded and where our headquarters remain today. We are grateful to have the opportunity to give back to a community that has provided us with so much.
This holiday season, the team at Maven gathered to purchase, assemble and distribute more than 100 Thanksgiving bags to the Columbus Blessing Box mission. This effort helped to provide local families with all of the items needed for a Thanksgiving meal. The mission of Columbus Blessing Boxes is one that has resonated deeply with the Maven leadership team. On a monthly basis, members of the team take the opportunity to fill local boxes. When it came time to determine where our team would give resources for the holidays, there was no question, Columbus Blessing Box was the obvious choice.”
NAI Ohio Equities
“NAI Ohio Equities is one of Columbus’ largest independently-owned commercial real estate company and because of that, we care about both the growth of Columbus, as well as the well-being of the people that live here. We recently started a Community Engagement Committee with a goal of volunteering each quarter at non-profits that had goals and missions that aligned with ours. At Home by High provides support for the 50+ community in and around the Short North, with weekly coffee meet-ups, cultural outings and walks in the park. We volunteered with Besa and At Home by High to deliver a few cars worth of presents to lower-income senior citizens. Each year, Besa has an Adopt-A-Senior event, which allows members of the community to “adopt” a senior and purchase items from their wishlist. While we did not participate in that portion, Besa and At Home by High also needed volunteers to be “elves” and deliver the presents to the seniors. Half of our group went to a building in Victorian Village and the other half went to a building in the Short North. We were able to spread some holiday cheer with recipients receiving gift and calendars!”
Orangetheory Fitness- New Albany
“Orangetheory Fitness New Albany, along with other OTF studios in the Columbus region, is collecting gift cards for teens in foster care. During the holiday season, donated toys and games frequently target the younger demographic, and teens can be forgotten about or underserved. We are willing to make sure that teens are able to have a little spending money of their own to enjoy a holiday shopping experience. Our members have enthusiastically gotten behind this project and have generously donated many gift cards to area retailers!”
“Cramer & Associates is a nationally recognized philanthropic consulting firm that has been serving nonprofit organizations, corporations and foundations since 1987. Our full-service firm offers clients a wide range of services, including feasibility studies, campaigns, strategic planning, board training, development audits, events, executive searches and much more. The Cramer Team identifies organizations’ strengths and opportunities and develops campaigns that succeed, empowering organizations to impact their communities.
At Cramer & Associates we constantly strive to practice what we preach and foster a culture of giving, so it was a no-brainer when we decided to block off November 30th for #GivingTuesday on our calendars and spend that time volunteering for local organizations who support these traditionally underserved groups.
Through Jewish Family Services, on the sunny morning of Tuesday, November 30th, we geared up with leaf bags, rakes, leaf blowers, mulch, and other necessary equipment and headed over to the home of the sweetest elderly couple – one of which is a holocaust survivor and both of which are making every effort to stay in their home and keep healthy as a global pandemic looms – to do a fall cleanup of their yard.
After finishing up with raking and mulching in the morning, we headed over to see longtime clients and dear friends Ramona Reyes and Alma Santos at the Catholic Social Services (CSS) Our Lady of Guadalupe Center (OLGC) and assist with cleaning and sorting their food pantry. For many in the Columbus area, OLGC is the voice of the Hispanic community – their needs, concerns, opportunities and their culture. It is where families go for help and a place to connect in a way like no other in our region.
As a team, we could not be more grateful for our experiences getting out in the community and volunteering on #GivingTuesday. It’s refreshing and exciting to see the impact initiatives like this have on our communities.”
Founded in 2010, nonprofit leaders conceived HSC to help the health and human services sector come together, with one voice, to improve services to the people they served, and the Columbus Region as a whole. The Human Services Chamber serves and represents over 130 health and human services nonprofits in the Columbus Region. Recently, the Chamber launched an initiative to assemble and distribute Corsi-Rosenthal portable air filters to over 50 area nonprofits. Many opportunities to contribute financially, in-kind, or volunteer are available, with the option to select which of the human service nonprofits in need you’d like to support.
“While it remains of utmost importance to follow our incredible public health officials’ guidance of getting vaccinated and boosted, and of wearing high-quality, well-fitting masks, it is also important to filter indoor air to minimize the spread of Covid.
That’s where Columbus residents come in!
Just like hospitals, the health and human services nonprofits we support must continue providing the bulk of their services in person. Earlier this month, nearly 50 of our members told us they could use portable air filters. These particular portable air filters–called Corsi-Rosenthal Boxes–are just as effective but a fraction of the cost of commercial air filters, and take only 15-20 minutes to assemble from parts you can find at any hardware store.
Folks can sign up here to assemble and then donate portable air filters to any one of the nonprofits listed.”
For more details on the Human Service Chamber’s current air filter drive, visit here.