Companies that give back seemingly share a common characteristic — a commitment to supporting the communities in which they work. They also share a desire to give their employees a voice in the giving process.
These companies include Georgia Power, ERB Industries and Troutman Sanders, companies with a strong Atlanta presence that enthusiastically support local nonprofit organizations, including Shepherd Center, through corporate-level donations and employee giving programs.
Georgia Power, for example, houses the Club of Hearts initiative, a unique employee-giving program founded by employees in 1953 and incorporated in 1954. Through Club of Hearts, Inc., Georgia Power (and Southern Company) employees and retirees in metro Atlanta contribute about $1 million annually to local health and human services organizations.
Whether through a personal connection with Shepherd Center or a general awareness of the Center’s life-restoring work, Georgia Power employees have proudly contributed $140,472 to the hospital since 1978 and are on track to donate more than $7,700 this year.
“At Georgia Power, we’re known for being a citizen wherever we serve,” says Donice Wood, project manager at Club of Hearts, Inc. “Whether it’s with your time or your dollars, we think it’s important to give back to our communities.”
Employees at safety products company ERB Industries feel equally as passionate about supporting Shepherd Center — a passion largely inspired by the company’s founder and longtime Shepherd donor Bill Erb. Ranging from factory workers to executives, ERB employees contribute to Shepherd through weekly or bi-weekly payroll deductions.
Since 1998, employees have given almost $450,000 to Shepherd — initially to the injury prevention program and now to the Dean Stroud Pain Institute, which is named in memory of Bill Erb’s grandson.
“Our employees like knowing their money goes to Shepherd Center and are excited that Shepherd gives hope to those who’ve gone through incredible adversity,” says Sheila Eads, president and CEO of ERB Industries.
The law firm, Troutman Sanders, has supported Shepherd in many ways through the years, including sponsorship of the Center’s annual golf tournament and Derby Day fundraisers. Wanting to find a fun way for its employees to give back, however, the Atlanta office launched its annual Jeans Day fundraiser.
In exchange for a donation, employees can wear jeans the last Friday of each month. Employees enjoy dressing casually in a traditionally formal environment and helping organizations like Shepherd Center, which they supported in 2011 and 2012.
Sallie Adams Daniel, chief development and diversity officer at Troutman Sanders, says: “Shepherd Center is the best facility of its kind in the country. Our employees find it rewarding to support a local organization of this caliber.”
Dean Melcher, director of development operations at the Shepherd Center Foundation, says that while Shepherd appreciates all of its contributors, there is something special about the support that comes from individual employees.
“Having people choose to take money out of their paychecks — money that could make a real difference in their lives — and donate it to Shepherd Center helps demonstrate to us that every dollar makes a difference.”
Companies interested in supporting Shepherd Center through an employee giving campaign should email Dean at Dean_Melcher@shepherd.org.
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neurological conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 740 inpatients, nearly 280 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.