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LAVIDGE IMPACT Honored to be Named a Top-3 Finalist for Corporate Volunteerism

October 19, 2021

The Phoenix Business Journal recognized IMPACT in its 2021 Corporate Philanthropy Awards


PHOENIX (Oct. 19, 2021) – LAVIDGE is proud to be among the top-three finalists honored today in the small business category for Corporate Volunteerism in the Phoenix Business Journal’s 2021 Corporate Philanthropy Awards.

The annual awards luncheon hosted this year at The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess hotel and resort filled a ballroom with representatives of companies large and small from across Arizona whose employees had given their time, talents and resources to benefit the communities they serve.

RuthAnn Hogue, Betsey Griffin, Sandra Torre, Laurie Schnebly and Sasha Knock represent LAVIDGE at the Phoenix Business Journal's awards luncheon for Philanthropy 2021.Ten LAVIDGE employees attended representing 42 IMPACT volunteers who in 2020 performed a combined total of 280 hours benefiting more than 13 causes—along with roughly $167,000 in charitable contributions, in-kind donations, and sponsorships.

IMPACT, formally organized in 2019, is an extension of LAVIDGE’s long-standing tradition of giving back since its inception as a Phoenix ad agency in 1982. Executive Vice President/Chief Financial Officer Sandra Torre accepted the challenge three years ago to create and oversee the employee volunteer program for the agency.

Each year, the IMPACT committee selects areas of focus based on employee interests and community needs. In 2021, the focus has been on hunger, animal shelters, medical supplies, homelessness and housing, and suicide awareness and prevention.

Despite the pandemic, and in part due to increased need because of Covid-19, IMPACT has completed more than 15 events and contributed nearly 350 hours of service—all on the company dime.

“Volunteer opportunities were scarce in 2020 as many organizations shut down in-person volunteering because of the mandated COVID-19 lockdowns,” Torre said. “As a result, we made a commitment to ‘double our impact’ in 2021 with a plan to contribute more than 500 volunteer hours for the year.”

Torre adjusted the agency’s initial volunteer plan and looked for virtual opportunities, especially those related to COVID-19 and needs that were exacerbated by the pandemic. For example, IMPACT volunteers:

  • Handed out masks at through a drive-through hosted by The Salvation Army and sponsored by Ford Motor Company to provide 1 million masks to Arizonans.
  • Sorted medical supplies at Project C.U.R.E. which distributes them to patients, families and children in the 135 countries it serves.
  • Participated in a virtual “Talk Saves Lives” event with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), where employees discussed the impact of the pandemic on suicide rates.
  • Cuddled pigs at Better Piggies rescue and took out dogs and cats at the Arizona Humane Society for playtime and exercise.

Every hour donated, quite literally, was worth far more than what it costs to pay each employee’s salary.

“We are a service organization, and we make money by billing our time,” Torre explained. “Given the type of organization that we are, one might think that having a policy that allows employees to use 16 hours per year of company time to volunteer at events and causes that we support would lead to a decrease in the bottom line, but we have found the opposite to be true.

“Employees want to know that the organization they work for is driven by more than the bottom line. When you create a culture that gives back to the community, and does so consistently, you create a happy, more productive team. Billable hours and volunteer goals are met at the same time. It’s a balance of the two—and we feel passionate about both.”

While it’s nice to receive recognition from the Business Journal, Torre said motivation to serve goes deeper than public visibility.

“Honestly, we don’t do it for the awards,” Torre said. “We do it because it’s good for the employees and it’s good for the community. The employees can see the cause and the effect of the volunteer hours they are donating, and that leads to happier, more engaged, and more productive people.”

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