By Todd Cohen
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — As marketing manager for Tar Heel Basement Systems, Jackie Hoffman regularly received calls from organizations looking for monetary donations and sponsorships.
“It was hard to turn down any of them,” Hoffman says, “but being a small business, our pockets were only so deep.”
Over the last three years, for example, the company has donated over 30 crawl space encapsulation systems valued at over $100,000 in products and labor to Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Caldwell, Avery and Watauga counties.
The steady flow of requests led to Hoffman’s idea to create “Pay It Forward,” a company program that combines financial support with employee volunteerism.
With 47 full-time employees, headquarters in Winston-Salem and an office in Boone, the company now gives each employee five paid hours a year to use to volunteer at any organization it supports through the program.
Launched a year ago, the effort has generated contributions of money, products and services totaling over $30,000, plus roughly 250 hours of employee involvement, Hoffman says.
About 25 percent of employees have volunteered through the program, and about half have made a donation.
Every month, for example, company employees volunteer to prepare a meal for families at Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem.
The company held a school supply drive that filled two three-foot boxes with supplies for teachers in Forsyth County to use in their classrooms.
In February, it held a food drive among employees and in the community that collected over 200 food items and $101 in cash to donate to Second Harvest Food Bank of North Carolina.
And it provide a $2,000 sponsorship for the annual golf tournament for the Watauga Humane Society.
“I wanted this initiative to be more than simply writing a check,” Hoffman says. “The goal is to improve the wellness of our employees through helping local nonprofits in our community.”