Giving at Work: Standing Behind Your Core Purpose
If you go to Short Elliott Hendrickson (SEH)’s St. Paul office, it won’t be a secret the company puts giving back at the forefront of their work. Large boxes of employee-donated food are displayed in the lobby, and posters in common areas and bathrooms educate viewers about how far even just $1 goes when donated to Second Harvest Heartland.
And it’s not just for show—SEH puts hunger relief as a priority, and they do it because the idea came right from the employees. Deb Lee has been running with SEH’s employee giving efforts for five years now, and she said the first thing they did was survey employees to find out what really mattered to them.
When the results came back, two causes surfaced as important to almost everyone: cancer support and food assistance. SEH responded accordingly. In the spring, they give time and funds to cancer research, and in the fall, they do a Food & Fund Drive and volunteer at Second Harvest Heartland.
“There’s so much hunger and need right here that you can have an impact,” Bob Cohrs, one of the Food & Fund Drive coordinators said. “For me, it’s you can’t help the whole world. But you can do something.”
Every year, SEH volunteers at our Maplewood facility the day before Thanksgiving. They bring a group of 25 employees. “And we usually have more,” Deb said. “Our company doesn’t offer PTO time to volunteer. I think it speaks volumes that people in our company take their own time off to volunteer.”
To date, through employee donations and the company match, SEH has provided more than 96,700 meals.
Bob says part of the reason SEH employees care about hunger so much is because both the need and the relief are immediate. “People eat and they feel better,” Bob said. “People’s lives are better, people are healthier if they feel good and eat the right food.”
Deb agreed, and said giving at work like this has made a big impact in her 14 years at SEH. “Standing behind what your core purpose is, that’s what resonates with me when I work for a company—that’s what makes engaged employees,” Deb said. “And that’s what makes me happy going to work.”
We are so grateful SEH has been such a strong partner with Second Harvest Heartland. Join one of the many companies and organizations working with us to help end hunger for the one in 10 Minnesotans who don’t know if they’ll have a meal on the table tonight. Start a conversation with our partnership team today!