Amplified Giving: local office teams up to make significant impact

30 / April / 2018

Nonprofits in multiple states continue to impact their communities thanks to assistance from the Barge Design Solutions Community Fund. In 2017, the firm once again matched employee contributions with donations to 501(c)(3) organizations. Twenty-two grants, totaling $52,000, were awarded to charitable organizations in five states. These organizations include those focused on disaster relief, health and wellness, education, and workforce development.

The Community Fund supports the company’s inherent spirit of giving back to local communities where employees live and work. Bi-annual grants are employee sponsored, but funded by employee contributions, either through one-time donations or payroll deductions, and a company match.

Employees who sponsor a nonprofit’s Community Fund application already volunteer and have a deep understanding of how these organizations serve the public.

Aaron Powell, mechanical engineer in Dayton, Ohio, says that giving to the Community Fund means that employees can do something bigger than what one person can do and support boots already on the ground. “Each year, my family participates in our local American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event,” says Powell. “Securing a Community Fund grant meant that my employer and coworkers support my family’s efforts to honor my late grandparents and the fight against cancer.”

Since 2014, the Community Fund has awarded multiple grants to Ohio-based charities like American Cancer Society such as Dayton Regional STEM School, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, and Rebuilding Together Dayton.

Client Service Leader Vanessa Glotfelter and the Dayton team believe that community engagement makes an even greater impact when accomplished as a team.

“Teamwork is in everything that we do – and that extends into our community engagement in the Dayton office,” says Glotfelter. “We recognize that pulling our resources and efforts together can make a bigger impact. We take pride in our philanthropic efforts and try to have fun while doing it.”

The greatest impact sometimes requires minimal effort. Dayton employees responded with a solution to meet everyday needs that may not meet Community Fund requirements. The office created the now famous “Jean Jar.”

One day or even a whole week is set aside to wear jeans, and employees are then encouraged to donate $5 for the privilege. The Jean Jar was once used to raise a rather sizable donation when one employee’s Community Fund application lacked criteria to receive a grant. The Jean Jar has since raised over $6,000 for less fortunate families at Christmas, American Cancer Society, ALS-Lou Gehrig Disease, and the local Miamisburg nonprofit One Bistro.

The Dayton office has partnered several times with One Bistro, a faith-based nonprofit and social enterprise that is in nearby Miamisburg and Xenia as a haven for those in need. Founder Robert Adamson, a former executive chef, left a rewarding culinary career for a much higher calling. Adamson was troubled by Miamisburg’s struggle with food insecurity and a rising heroin epidemic.

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2017, 1 in 6 people in the Miami Valley didn’t know where their next meal would be prepared, and 1 in 5 children are food insecure (the condition related to the supply of food and individuals’ access to it).

Adamson opened One Bistro to ensure that individuals in the community could find a meal, but most of all a community. The restaurant is open throughout the week and embraces a “pay what you can afford” concept. Patrons can pay the full suggested amount but also a little extra to pay it forward. No questions are asked if someone cannot pay. Patrons pay what they can afford or give their time in service as payment.

The Dayton Office’s involvement with One Bistro began with securing a Community Fund grant. This contribution has provided more than 700 healthy meals to individuals who are struggling with finances, depression, and addiction.

Glotfelter also recruited the office to volunteer at One Bistro’s Community Meal event held each Wednesday evening. Here, neighbors are given the opportunity to enjoy a good meal and the pleasure of good company without having to volunteer due to lack of money. Barge Design Solutions employees volunteered to set tables, serve food, and clean dishes.

Whether it was purchasing lunch with fellow employees or a client or contributing funds, the Dayton Office is committed to helping Adamson and his One Bistro fight against poverty and addiction.