Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Our Philosophy on Giving Back to the Community

As our company has grown, so has our presence in the community. Since part of our Vision is to be the "supplier and employer of choice in our marketplace", a higher profile in the community helps us move closer to meeting our vision. That is the positive result of a higher profile. One of the negative aspects of being known, is that we receive a plethora of charitable solicitations that are disproportionate to our ability to satisfy even a small percentage of the solicitations received. The causes are all worthwhile- many are personal requests, some are customer related charitable requests and most are local community-based. Our company's culture is grounded in giving back to the community we serve, but how do we approach giving so that we give and stay profitable.
Here's what we try to do: First, each of our manager's is encouraged to be involved in some community activity. Giving of one's time and the company supporting that commitment, will reap rewards for the individual, the company and the community. Second, the company has adopted a primary charity- The Children's Cancer Foundation. This organization meets several criteria: 1. Locally based; 2. Low overhead so over 90% of dollars donated go to the root of the cause; 3. Many of those involved are food industry based (the grocery industry is the major supporter of this organization). 4. The cause is noble and touches families and children.
By choosing a primary charity, we are able to devote the majority of our charitable time and resources and make a more significant contribution to one cause rather than have a very minimal impact on many causes. That is not to say that others are totally neglected or ignored. The rank criteria for other than our primary cause is as follows: 1. Support for our people's causes. 2. Support for our customer's causes. 3. Support for local community causes. 4. Support for causes that will help the company expand its presence.
In the last several weeks we demonstrated our commitment to the community. The Saval Foodservice Children's Cancer Foundation Golf Tournament gave us an opportunity to spend the day with our vendor and customer community in an environment of comraderie and professionalism. We also raised over $10,000 for the Foundation. The week before, we sponsored the Maryland Hospitality Educational Foundation golf tournament. They raised a significant amount of money for scholarships for those pursuing an interest in the food industry.
The more we are part of our trade community, doing good things, the more we will be recognized as a team player within the industry. Tangible business related results are continually borne from these involvements. I can give countless examples in past years and even over the last two weeks, which directly resulted in our company just giving a little of ourselves. These activities may seem like a lot of work and expense, but giving back to the community and being involved in our trade is an integral part of our vision and is just the right way to be.