As we move on from 2020, the year that kept on giving, isolation persists…
Whether donating gently worn coats in the winter, making a cash donation to a worthy cause, or participating in a race fundraiser, volunteering and charitable efforts build a stronger and more connected community. But did you know corporate responsibility is also integral to developing a strong business? Charitable efforts and community involvement create awareness of issues for their employees, allow businesses to market themselves to their locality in a positive way, and assist financially around tax time. But another often forgotten reason that companies should work closely with their communities is for the added people effect. When companies make an intentional effort to give back, their employees are directly affected in a positive way. Businesses that focus more effort on giving back have employees who are more engaged and one study found that a company’s charitable efforts were an influential deciding factor on whether they would accept a job for over half of millennials.
As MTM has grown over the last 47 years, we have stayed true to our core value of showing integrity by devoting time, money, and efforts to organizations close to the heart of our company. Whether MTM Recognition is giving financially, our employees are donating their time personally, or a combination of the two, MTM makes sure to focus on what is important – giving back.
If you’re looking to increase your societal giving and employee engagement, here are a few ideas on how MTM Recognition and our employees participate in the communities and give back.
Corporate Responsibility & its Impact on Company Culture
Our partnership with Special Olympics
Our history with Special Olympics began in 1991 when MTM Recognition supplied the awards and ribbons in the United States Games, as well as sponsored medals for the World and National Games. In addition to creating the ribbons and awards, MTM Recognition cultivates our relationship with Special Olympics by participating in many SO-fundraising initiatives including the Polar Plunge, Over the Edge events, and Torch Runs. “Special Olympics is in our DNA at MTM; so much so that we introduce new hires to Special Olympics on Day One of employment by explaining our unique and cherished relationship with them over the years,” said Donna Lamprecht, Client Relationship Manager for Special Olympics.
Not only does MTM Recognition love to support Special Olympics, but our employees do too! Ashley Hurney, MTM’s Director of Marketing, has been the Volleyball Director for Special Olympics Oklahoma for the past six years. “Volleyball is the thing that helped me make friends when I first moved to a new city in middle school, and playing in high school, college, and at the Junior Olympics level taught me so much. I’m a firm believer that team sports teach tons of life skills.” When Ashley first became involved with SO, she wasn’t sure where her journey would take her. She just wanted to help bring a sport she loves to more areas of the state and to all skill levels. “I love that every year we have coaches take on teams who have never touched a volleyball, but their kids wanted a team so they come out and learn everything they can for their team.” Six years later, she’s now a Director, coaching the coaches and helping run the Winter Games each year. “I live for the moments where I get to see an athlete finally get their server over the net after struggling to get it over all tournament long. The whole gym erupts in the most supportive cheer, it’s amazing. The Special Olympics community is one I’m so incredibly honored to be a part of.”
Run for Recognition
In 2012, MTM furthered our support of Special Olympics through the creation of Run for Recognition, an annual 5K race in which all proceeds go to Special Olympics Oklahoma. “Our race is a great way to recognize champions and raise money for Special Olympics Oklahoma,” said Mike Ketcherside, VP of Sales and Race Director for Run for Recognition. “This race took shape through a love for running, an ongoing effort to promote wellness within our company, and a 28-year partnership with Special Olympics.” Since its creation, the Run for Recognition has more than quadrupled in size, drawing participants from all over the United States!
When one of MTM’s very own Human Resources employees heard from her friend about the needs of a local elementary school, we were ready to jump in and help. We were able to quickly help by donating the proceeds from our concession sales. “When we tell employees that we are collecting donations for the school, we can usually bring a substantial amount of money. We then give that money directly to the school’s staff, and they use it to buy warm winter clothes, school supplies, or whatever else they need.”
American Lung Association
MTM’s very own Ashley Hurney has been participating in The American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb event for the past four years in a row, three of those as captain of her team. She first became involved thanks to a friend, sharing the importance of this event and suggesting it as a new fitness challenge. In the past four years, it has become a famous MTM activity, drawing many MTM employees to support this great cause. These stairs aren’t just a physical challenge, however – all participants raise money for research and represent the everyday struggles of those living with lung issues. “The first year I participated will forever be stamped in my mind. Before the race begins they have people that share their “why they climb” story and each story was really powerful with the message of ‘we climb to honor those who can’t climb for themselves.’ It’s incredibly meaningful and it’s why I still participate.”
Endeavor Games and Corporate Challenge
When MTM first participated in the Oklahoma City Corporate Challenge almost 30 years ago, we had no idea the journey it would take us on. Jack Nortz, MTM’s Lead Sculptor, has participated for 28 of our 29 years, and was recently awarded the “Iron Man” for his dedication. “You name it, I’ve competed in it at Corporate Challenge,” said Jack. In 2000, MTM Recognition was introduced to The Endeavor Games, an inclusive athletic event for the physically disabled of all ages. MTM Recognition’s support of the Endeavor Games grew and now includes creating the medals and awards for the Endeavor Games. In addition to our employee participation in the Corporate Challenge and MTM’s creation of the medals for the Endeavor Games, we also utilize fundraisers like hamburger lunches and chili cook-offs to raise money for this great cause. We’ve donated over $1,200 in the past three years alone! Kevin Manley, an MTM employee and Corporate Challenge Captain, said “I think this is an amazing event because of all the work they do for kids with physical disabilities and helping them to compete and feel like they can accomplish anything. It is also an amazing event for veterans that have suffered injuries and may have amputations. They are given the opportunity to compete and show that they are able to overcome their injuries and maybe give hope to others.”
The Homeless Alliance
Leadership OKC, a leadership training and community education program, first introduced MTM employee, Donna Lamprecht, to the great work of the Oklahoma City Homeless Alliance. By providing day shelters, temporary housing, and distributing much-needed goods, the Homeless Alliance serves a critical role in helping get people back on their feet. When the Homeless Alliance mentioned to Donna during her Leadership OKC training that they are always in need of supplies, Donna took that information back to MTM to make a difference. “MTM helps provide clothing and other donations to the shelter and participates in the Christmas giving program where they give gifts to people within their community. That has been especially satisfying to our employees knowing that a simple Christmas gift would mean a lot to someone lacking life’s basic necessities.” Donna knows the importance of helping out those in the community who are less fortunate. Each Christmas, MTM employees donate multiple large boxes of supplies! “We tend to get busy with our daily lives and take for granted some of the ways in which we are blessed. Our work with the Homeless Alliance has been a transformative experience for our employees as they’ve been able to give to an underserved population within our community and know that their efforts directly benefit those in need. We appreciate the opportunity to partner with such a wonderful organization over the last few years and look forward to more opportunities to serve.”
Our Employees Love to Be Involved in Their Communities!
Here are just a few stories: Theresa Carlson, an Artist & Implementation Coordinator, has been working with the Cannon Falls Education Foundation for over three years. She loves directly helping kids in her community by providing different education and learning opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise get through the school district. Greg Bullock, a Customer Care Associate, has volunteered with his local Midwest City Welcome Center for over 5 years. Whether it is coaching Special Olympic athletes or teaching free art classes to lower-income students, there are more ways than we can possibly list to make a difference in your community and positively impact the world around you.
If you’re interested in more ideas on how your employees could get involved, check out this great list of volunteer ideas.