Employees of The Dow Chemical Company in Pittsburg have been celebrating the company’s 70th anniversary during 2009. But the celebrating has not stopped at the fence line. In fact, the joy is being spread throughout the community in the form of charitable contributions and volunteerism.
The site’s United Way campaign has just come to a close, and a record $70,000 will be given to the United Way’s Bay Area Community Fund to help nonprofit organizations serving our residents. One of the most successful parts of this year’s campaign was Dow’s first golf tournament. With no actual registration fee – Dow paid all greens fees, dinner and prize costs – it was up to the player to decide how much he/she would donate to the United Way.
“The idea came from a restaurant in San Francisco which, in trying to help folks endure the recession, took all the prices off the menu and asked that patrons simply pay what they thought the meal was worth,” explained Patty Deutsche, senior manager of public affairs at Dow’s Pittsburg Operations. “They anticipated a loss of revenues but thought it would be good PR. The result was startling: diners actually paid $1 more than the meal would have cost and were also more generous tippers. We decided to try that tack with the golf tournament.”
The sold-out tournament raised more than $30,000. Contributions ranged from $20 per player to $2,500 for a foursome. Kevin Soper, Dow’s United Way Coordinator, was impressed. “Our goal, in addition to raising money for the United Way, was to involve the community – to reach out to our suppliers, vendors, neighbors, friends and family – and we did,” he said. “More than 30 companies took part, a dozen individuals from the community and, of course, Dow employees and their families. We couldn’t have dreamt of a better turnout.”
Dow also participated in the United Way’s Week of Caring. A total of 51 employees fanned out to 11 projects throughout the community, donating more than 200 hours of their time. Projects ranged from painting a conference room at Meals on Wheels to preparing food at Loaves and Fishes, weeding a garden at Lindsay Wildlife Museum and helping Bay Area Crisis Nursery get ready for a garage sale.
In addition, Dow Pittsburg Operations implemented a new program for its employees to celebrate its 70th anniversary. Called “70-4-70,” the program promised 70 grants of $250 for the 70th anniversary. Employees were asked to nominate nonprofit organizations they wished to receive a donation from Dow. Typically, donation dollars must meet strict criteria – organizations that are focused on science, education or the environment. This new program left it wide open – any 501(c) (3) organization that provides services in our community or in the community where the employee lives. More than 50 separate organizations were chosen (some received duplicate nominations and so received multiple checks) and received in total $17,500.
“We were excited that Dow allowed us to do this,” said Deutsche. “What better way to celebrate our longevity in this community than by letting the employees designate charities of their choice to benefit? It was amazing to see the variety of charities that are near and dear to their hearts.”