Inside Self-Storage Magazine 07/2004: The Giving That Bounces Back

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The Giving That Bounces Back
DBCI raises morale and shares in community effort

By Kimberly Hundley

Giving back” has a boomerang effect. That’s what Atlanta-based door manufacturer DBCI (Doors & Building Components Inc.) has found over the years. The payoff may not be monetary, but helping the community makes employees feel good and strengthens their sense of corporate family. It’s hard to put a price on that.

“The community supports us, and we want to support them in return,” says Julie Doss, human-resources manager. “Especially in these economic times with all the layoffs, we’re thankful to have our jobs and want to help those who may be less fortunate.”

To connect staff with outreach opportunities, managers look for existing charities that are a good match for the company’s resources. DCBI’s corporate office plays the role of director, letting employees know about each charitable program and making it easier for them to participate. For example, during the holiday season, the human-resources department spearheads a division-wide effort to support Toys for Tots, an organization sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corp. “We average about $350 worth of toys each year. It’s one of the main charity events we do,” Doss says. “Sometimes, people give money and I get to go shopping at Toys “R” Us, which is always fun. We deliver the toys to the drop-off site.”

DBCI employees in Douglasville, Ga., help local children enjoy the holidays through a Secret Santa program operated by Douglas County Child Services. “We get a list of kids with their ages and sizes and a wish list,” Doss explains. “I find those who are interested in being a sponsor, and they spend about $40 per child. We’ve adopted as many as 20 kids.”

DBCI is owned by NCI Building Systems and has three manufacturing facilities outside Atlanta. Each plant gets to decide how to participate locally. Doss facilitates by sending information on how to donate or get involved. Working to enhance the lives of others transforms the workplace, Doss says. “You can tell the employees are very excited. It’s kind of a kid-like atmosphere when they are doing this. It really helps raise morale in the office to know we are helping others who are less fortunate than ourselves. It helps us appreciate what we have at home; and at work, we consider ourselves a family.”

Philanthropy can have a powerful place close to home, as it did for DBCI last December. A young family important to the company was facing a lean holiday due to unfortunate circumstances. The managers rallied, providing a literal truckload of goodies for the family’s four children. “Gifts included bicycles, Sony Playstations, Discovery learning toys, board games, paint projects, clothing, gift cards, action figures and skateboards,” says Franklin Young, sales manager. “It was a huge group effort. We filled the back of a Ford F150 truck. The family had a great Christmas.”

DBCI also has had success with Lee National Denim Day, the world’s largest single-day fundraiser for breast cancer. For a $5 donation, employees get a pink ribbon and the right to wear jeans to work for a designated Friday each October. Lee Jeans sponsors the event. “We usually raise $300 to $500, with about 60 employees taking part at our locations,” Doss said. “Sometimes, we have donation warfare between departments, with people bidding extra to raise more money.”

Participation in the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, another breast-cancer fundraiser, is also encouraged. Doss again makes sure information on the 5K event is flowing to employees via e-mail or fliers. She also coordinates enrollment so those who sign up can walk the 5K together as a team.

Patti Long, DBCI’s general manager, says companies can show their support of such events by matching employees’ involvement in terms of time and money. “For instance, DBCI will pay for any employee who can’t afford the entry fee for Race for the Cure; and management walks with all staff members in a show of support for fighting breast cancer,” she says. “As a company, we take pride in the quality and workmanship of our products and services. We think it’s important to share the same amount of pride in our community. These activities also educate the community about our company and our staff. It shows people we are making an effort to be a good corporate citizen.”

Regardless of a company’s economic constraints, Doss is a believer in launching the goodwill boomerang. “I try to incorporate it into our culture,” says Doss. “I write it in our e-mail and fliers: Remember to give back to your community and help others.”

For more information on how your company can get involved in some of the charities discussed here, visit www.denimday.com, www.komen.org and www.toysfortots.org. For more information on DBCI, a major manufacturer of roll-up curtain doors and selfstorage components, call 800.542.0501; visit www.dbci.com.

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