At Huntsman we foster a culture where passion, dedication, and service have a real impact on the lives of those we design for. These values are instrumental in the work we do, but they also extend beyond our projects to our communities. As a firm, we participate in a number of charitable events and fundraisers yearly. This year, I’d like to highlight a unique program that has become one of our favorite holiday traditions.
Since I started the firm in 1981, we have distributed bonuses to our staff at mid-year and again during the winter holidays. With the year end bonus, each of our employees also receives a second check which is not made out to anyone. The idea was to pass the check along to an organization, a cause, or even an individual to whom it would make a difference. While many firms make a united donation to charities on behalf of their employees, this program was borne out of my desire to enable our staff to actually help direct the firm’s philanthropy. As it is their year-long efforts that make it possible for us to have money to donate, it is only fair to have our staff help identify at a very personal level where their share of our contribution goes.
The rules of the program are simple. We only ask that our employees send the check someplace where they think it will truly be helpful. They can even simply cash the check and give the cash to an individual whom they know is in need. I know that in many cases the second check gets added to contributions our employees are already making on their own.
And the program is completely anonymous. We do not know where the donations go until weeks later when thank you letters come into the office from many of the recipients. They are written by real people who sincerely appreciate the generosity of our employees. The number of letters we receive and the sincerity of the gratitude validates the breadth of our program and that our contributions are getting to where it matters.
Often these letters are from non-profit organizations that we did not necessarily know about before. Some are new and some have been active for years, but they all bring to our attention the social, economic, and environmental issues present in our communities. It has been fulfilling to see the diverse mix of causes that our staff chooses to support.
Whichever way we all choose to give back to others, it’s good to remember the importance of making that experience personal and the difference those connections can genuinely make in our world.
From all of us at Huntsman Architectural Group, we wish you a successful and impactful 2015!