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Good Corporate Citizen Award - Robert Henry Corporation

Posted on 5/29/2008 1:01:48 PM
Author: Andrew Lynn

At this year's Philanthropy Summit, the Robert Henry Corporation received a 2008 Good Corporate Citizen Award for their partnership with the Diabetes Association of St. Joseph County.

The partnership reaches back 20 years and is built upon the passion that Bob and Judy Henry share for helping those with diabetes. Having seen the challenges that a family member with diabetes faced, Bob and Judy and other family members have made numerous contributions to the Diabetes Association to fund efforts to educate and support medically underserved people with diabetes. They have at times asked friends and family members to make contributions to the agency in lieu of personal gifts.

With rising numbers of people diagnosed with diabetes both nationally and locally, the number of people who are uninsured or othewise medically underserved continues to grow. The Diabetes Association of St. Joseph County is grateful for the contributions that have allowed them to purchase life-saving medication and supplies for hundreds of individuals. Most recently, Robert Henry Corporation served as the title sponsor for the Diabetes Association's Bad Pants Golf Outing in South Bend.

Congratulations to Robert Henry Corporation for their award. Their generosity has made a difference in the lives of many people.

Volunteering - A Big Deal

Posted on 5/29/2008 12:37:28 PM
Author: Andrew Lynn

I read an interesting discussion a few months ago about the term "volunteering" going out of style among younger people (under 30), while the concept itself is as popular as ever. Maybe it is time to come up with a new term that resonates with people entering the workforce today, since volunteering seems to be growing more and more.

Some interesting new items about volunteering and corporate volunteerism:

Deloitte released their 2008 Volunteer IMPACT Study that, like the 2007 report, sang high praise for skills-based volunteering. An impressive 91% of survey respondents agree that skills-based volunteering would add value to training and development programs, but only 16 percent of companies intentionally offer such programs for employee development on a regular basis. The 2007 report made a strong case that people entering the workforce today will factor skills-based volunteering into their selection of an employer, so there is strong motivation to invest in these programs. Those of you who attended the Philanthropy Summit got to hear some details of Deloitte's skills-based volunteerism program from Laura Eilts, their Midwest Community Involvement Leader.

The Wall Street Journal ran an interesting story about employers that not only invested in these programs but paid their employees to volunteer, even covering their travel expenses. The tagline on the article: More Companies Subsidize Donations of Time and Talent: Bait for Millennial Generation.

I know I blogged about Millennials' strong desire to have a positive effect on the world before, so I wanted to mention this article: Young Donors Just as Generous as Other Generations. Apparently once income and religious attendance are controlled for, younger donors financially support non-profits at a rate comparable to other generations.

Not everyone is so high on millenials and their generous offerings to the world: one academic calls them the dumbest generation ever. I'm in no position to be objective here, so I will let you decide for yourself.

Good Corporate Citizen Award - Century Center

Posted on 5/29/2008 12:31:24 PM
Author: Andrew Lynn

Earlier this month Make a Difference Michiana awarded the 2008 Good Corporate Citizen Awards to area businesses who demonstrated exemplary partnerships with Michiana non-profits. This week we'll be highlighting the three winners of the awards.

At this year's Philanthropy Summit, the Century Center in South Bend was recognized for their work in partnering with Junior Achievement of Michiana. Their partnership began in 2004 when Junior Achievement began to provide its services to St. Joseph, Marshall, and LaPorte counties. Some of the ways Century Center has worked with JA have been: providing in-kind contributions, providing individuals for board membership and committees, and providing volunteers for JA's in-class programs.

Kelly Matti from Junior Achievement highlights some of the specific contributions made by the Century Center:

The Century Center has provided event support throught the in-kind donation of its site and all of its technical equipement and setup for JA's high school studente event, the Stock Market Challenge and its fundrasier, Michiana's Best and Brightest event. In addition, David Hicks, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Century Center, has served as a Board of Directors member and classroom volunteer at both Penn High School and Adams High School. He has served as Committee Chairperson of JA's Stock Market Challenge event to educate local high school students about the stock market. Finally, David has encouraged others in his organization to volunteer as JA classroom volunteers. In 2007-2008, the Century Center's office staff provided three new volunteers to work in the local JA high school programs.

We've blogged before on the importance of businesses partnering with non-profits, and the Century Center's strong relationship with Junior Achievement serves as a great example of how businesses can help non-profits provide services to the community. Congratulations Century Center on your 2008 Good Corporate Citizen Award.

Michiana Non-Profit Sector and the Economy

Posted on 5/21/2008 1:06:49 PM
Author: Andrew Lynn

Earlier I blogged about the inverse relationship between social needs and funding sources during times of economic downturns. We're definitely seeing that effect locally as our economy heads deeper into what most economists agree is a recession. According to this WNDU report, St. Vincent de Paul has seen a 15% increase calls for emergency assistance. I spoke with the staff at The Bridge at Studeo 315 last week, and they also reported a sharp increase in clients coming through their doors. Increased needs in the community has led to them now serving 2,200 clients a month, compared to only 200 clients a month less than a year ago.

Two interesting statistics regarding non-profits support during recessions: support from foundations actually increased in 2007 and is not expected to fluctuate even with economic challenges, and religious households generally hold steady at 10% giving despite economic fluctuations. That second fact is good not just for churches but all organizations because religious households tend to be America's most generous givers even to secular organizations.

Most economists believe things will get worst before they get better, particularly with unemployment rates. Here in Michiana, the safety net that local non-profit organizations provide relies upon steady community support, and Make a Difference Michiana is all about making new connections to provide that support. Take a look at the Recent Donation Needs or Volunteer Opportunities to find out the latest needs and opportunities of over 280 local agencies.

Philanthropy Summit Brings Together Non-Profit and For-Profit Sectors

Posted on 5/14/2008 5:34:29 PM
Author: Andrew Lynn

Last week Make a Difference Michiana held their annual signature event, the Philanthropy Summit, at the Century Center in downtown South Bend. The event brought together over fifty of our online collaborating agencies and hundreds of area business leaders to build stronger relationships between the non-profit and for-profit sectors of Michiana.


Perhaps the most rewarding part for me was seeing the website come alive for a day: meeting the many non-profit staff members who serve as contact people on the site, learning more about the agencies that we collaborate with, and seeing community members browse through the Non-Profit Expo to get information about the agencies.

You can read the accounts of some agencies that participated here and here.

We'd like to thank our sponsors that made the event possible and allowed us to offer free tickets to many of the non-profits we collaborate with. Thank you to: American Electric Power, Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center, Federated Media, South Bend Tribune, AM General, Crowe Chizek, Gurley Leep, Martin's Supermarkets, Memorial Hospital, Merrill Lynch, MFB Financial, and Teachers Credit Union.

Thank you to everyone who took part in this year's event! If you have any feedback, feel free to share it in the comments below.