Successful Bay Area Companies Serve Their Communities in Myriad Ways

June 14, 2013

MercuryNews.com

MercuryNews.com

From paid time off for their workers to volunteer at the charity of their choice, to fundraising through AIDS walks and bike rides, to serving seniors and at-risk children - Bay Area Top Workplaces share their time, their profits and their passion for the betterment of their local communities - and the world.


Here are some examples of local businesses' philanthropy which are among the Top Workplaces in the Bay Area 2013.

In 2012, Workday of Pleasanton employees raised nearly $30,000 for American Cancer Society's Livermore Relay for Life. They also support the following organizations: Alameda County Science and Engineering Fair, Alameda County Food Bank, the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women, Movember - which raises awareness of men's health issues, Primo's Run for Education (benefiting the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation) and the PulsePoint Foundation. The company is the top Large Company in this year's Top Workplaces.

G.I. Jobs Magazine ranks 24 Hour Fitness in the "Top 100 Military-Friendly Employers." Employee Jessica Maddin launched Jessica's Hope Project three years ago to send fitness care packages to U.S. troops overseas. The company has to date donated $17,000 worth of products, including vitamins and protein bars, to fill 1,400 care packages. In another effort, the company furthers youth fitness with sports camps such as the Harlem Globetrotters Summer Skills Clinic. The company has multiple locations across the Bay Area and ranks 12th in the Large Companies category.

Dozens of Top Workplaces of the Bay Area support the various Second Harvest Food Banks in multiple counties. For example, employees at A10 Networks in San Jose pitch in with the Second Harvest Food Collection by donating, delivering and sorting at Second Harvest's Sacred Heart Community Center. A Christmas Giving Tree with gifts for all ages has become an employee tradition. A10 ranks seventh among the Midsize Companies.
 

Pet Food Express, based in Oakland, supports police dogs by donating bulletproof vests to every police K-9 in Northern California that needs one. They have provided more than 200 vests and also pay for medical care for retired police K-9s. They support animal search and rescue efforts of California Rescue Dog Association (CARDA) and created My Mutt program, which has raised over a million dollars for pet rescue in the last six years. The firm ranks fifth in Large Companies.
 

Sereno Group Real Estate, with multiple offices in the South Bay, and ranked as the second Top Workplace in the Midsize Companies, supports organizations in all the cities in which it has offices. "At Sereno Group, we are always encouraged to see the good, and uphold it," the company reported. Sereno Group has pledged to give 1 percent of its gross commissions to a charitable or community-minded program in these communities: Palo Alto, Los Altos, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Willow Glen and Santa Cruz. Among the beneficiaries are Rebuilding Together Peninsula, Paralyzed Veterans, Saratoga Senior Center, CancerCare Point, local schools, American Diabetes Association and Santa Cruz Search and Rescue, plus many others.

Last year, Bon Appétit Management Company, in Palo Alto united efforts with accounts in Northern California for a month-long campaign to raise $6,000 (the equivalent of 3,000 hot and healthy meals) for Project Open Hand, which offers daily meals to seniors and people with serious illnesses. In 2012, Project Open Hand named Bon Appétit the recipient of its "Most Outstanding Community Partner"

Like many Silicon Valley companies, Microchip Technology Inc. , supports both local charities and those specifically tied to technology. Through the company's participation in United Way, they help many area non-profits; through their other contributions to FIRST - For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology - they support education for area school children. Also, The Microchip Technology Charitable Foundation supports additional agencies and matches employee donations to many additional charities. The San Jose-based firm ranks eighth in Midsize Companies.

At Addepar, in Mountain View, named 26th in the Small Companies, community involvement "comes from the top down." CEO Joe Lonsdale is chairman of ONEHOPE Wine, which donates 50 percent of its profits to causes such as pediatric AIDS prevention, ending childhood hunger and forest preservation in the U.S.

Appirio's CEO Chris Barbin is passionate about community programs that give back via employee time and talent. When the San Francisco-based company was still young, Barbin brought on an expert to lead the company's community outreach through the Silver Lining Program. Each employee has eight hours of volunteer time off annually to use as they wish. In 2012, Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties recognized the company's contributions. Appirio is 25th in the Small Companies category.

Now in its 37th year, Contra Costa Child Care Council, based in Concord and ranking 40th in the Small Companies category, improves the lives of children, families and communities. Counselors and specialists help some 15,470 parents, grandparents and foster parents each year by providing information about early childhood education and development. Employees also donate gifts to low-income families.

"Some families with extreme needs are in tears when they receive presents for their children along with gift cards they can use for food or other essentials," the non-profit noted.

The CEO of San Mateo-based Composite Software, Inc. focuses the company's efforts on two charities: CARE, which has been helping the world's most in-need people since WWII, and The Shelter Network, a San Mateo County organization that helps the homeless. Each year the company provides school supplies to young local shelter residents through its Back-to-School program. The company ranks 42th in the Small Companies category.

To support employee involvement in their communities, EVault, Inc., with offices in San Francisco and Emeryville, created an Office of Corporate Responsibility. As of July 2013, the Voluntary Time Off program will give employees 24 hours of paid time each year to volunteer. On EVault's first Volunteer Day last April, employees around the world spent a half-day in volunteer service. The company's goal is to help improve the lives of people who are struggling with poverty, disaster and other challenges. EVault ranks 38th in the Small Companies category.
 

Coupons.com, Incorporated's, Coupons for Change (CFC) Awareness of Local Hunger campaign raises awareness of hunger in the Bay Area. CFC created a giant lunchbox that was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records. The lunchbox was filled with 400 new backpacks and donated to Second Harvest Food Bank and InnVision shelters. The event was supported by the San Francisco 49ers - including the team mascot. The company is 21st in the Midsize Companies ranking.

Last year DaVita, in San Jose, the dialysis division of DaVita HealthCare Partners, Inc., dedicated its three-day, 200-mile Tour DaVita bike ride to Bridge of Life, a non-profit that brings kidney treatment to underserved communities worldwide. Participants raised more than $911,000 and funded dialysis for more than 500 people. The tour also shone a light on the health risks of a sedentary lifestyle. By rallying almost 500 cyclists to join in the ride, the tour helped establish healthy behaviors that may last a lifetime. DaVita ranks 14th in the Large Companies.
 

NetSuite, Inc., the corporate citizenship arm of the San Mateo-based software company, leverages staff and product to improve the operations of non-profits and give back to charities on a local and global scale. The company has supplied product to over 350 organizations around the world. SuiteVolunteers provides NetSuite's various professional services through its global workforce, helping charities locally and globally become more efficient and effective at running their organizations. Another program, SuiteImpact Teams, empowers employees to give back through traditional volunteer efforts in their local communities. These employee-led teams operate in each office and plan activities around the themes of children and youth, environment, homelessness and hunger and health. NetSuite was ranks 13th among Midsize Companies.
 

Diablo Valley Oncology/Hematology Medical Group , among many outreach programs, presents a series of free cancer-specific educational events that give patients an opportunity to learn from medical experts and ask questions regarding their cancer journey.
Last year, "We developed 'Pints for Prostates' at a local alehouse as another way to create awareness. Our doctors briefly talk about early detection of prostate cancer while the crowd enjoys a pint of beer, good food and a silent auction," noted the company, which is 37th in the Small Companies rankings. They participate in many other Bay Area awareness walks and fairs.

Through its Charitable Giving Match Program, Environmental Chemical Corporation, (ECC) in Burlingame helped employees donate more than $135,000 in 2012 to organizations including Children in Need International, the American Cancer Society, Nepal Youth Foundation and the Wounded Warriors Project. This year ECC teams with Rebuilding Together when volunteers do hands-on home repairs and renovations for low-income, elderly and disabled homeowners and community centers. ECC ranks 24th in the Small Companies category.

Chipping in for Rebuilding Together is Electronic Arts Inc,. in Redwood City, which ranks 20th in the Large Companies. Also, for the past 15 years, employees, family and friends have raised money and awareness through the San Francisco AIDS Walk and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure for breast cancer. They also support funding and awareness of heart disease through the Peninsula Heart Walk.

April marked the 40th anniversary of Federal Express, which ranks "giving back" as a core value. In the past, local employees have supported Friends of Faith Breast Cancer Walk, Children's Backpack Program and Boo at the Oakland Zoo, to name a few. FedEx Oakland teams with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy on EarthSmart, to restore the Presidio Bluff with native plantings and removal of invasive species. FedX is 17th in Large Companies.
 

Jillian's Billiards, in San Francisco continually strives to serve the Bay Area community. Each quarter, they schedule a staff community service outing with an organization or nonprofit. Over the past 12 months, they have participated in a resume writing workshop with Goodwill Industries, painted street poles for the city of San Francisco, assisted the gardeners on Alcatraz and fed homeless people at sites throughout the city. They rank 43rd in Small Companies.

For the past seven years, Ask.com, has sponsored and volunteered at the Fishing Derby for Special Kids, organized by the East Bay Regional Park District. The EBPD hosts 150 kids with special needs from local elementary schools, and the employees "buddy up" with them for fishing, arts and crafts, face painting and games. Company CEO, Doug Leeds, is very passionate about participating each year, and the company ranks 11th in Midsize companies.
 

Stonebrook Healthcare Center, in Concord actively supports the local community by participation and leadership in the Chamber of Commerce; sponsoring the East Bay Senior Resource Expo; support of the SHC-Concord High School Fan Club; through their Deck The Halls Holiday House exhibit; a Spring Art Show supporting local high school artists; and by participating as the long-term care representative for emergency services in Contra Costa County. The center is third among the Midsize Companies.
 

HFS Consultants, budgets up to 15 percent of its prior year's profits for community support in the form of cash, pro bono work and 16 hours of paid time that each employee can use for volunteer work. When the George Mark Children's House, which provides pediatric palliative care, closed in 2010, HFS prepared a strategic plan to help the organization fundraise and re-open its doors. HFS supports food banks and soup kitchens and strives for a "greener work environment" by eliminating water bottles and plastics and reducing water and energy consumption. The Oakland company is 33rd in the Small Companies category.

A team of employees formed The Cal Water Cares Committee, a function of California Water Service Group, in San Jose. It coordinates Bay Area projects including "Share Your Lunch," in which employees collect money for summertime lunches for underprivileged kids. During their annual United Way pledge drive, they auction off items contributed by employees, such as guided fishing trips, the CEO's homemade Cherries Jubilee, gift baskets and crafts. The company also hosts Fishing Day for families at Ronald McDonald House. The firm is 17th in the Midsized Businesses.

San Jose-based Loring Ward contributed to 50 organizations across the U.S. last year, including Hillel of Silicon Valley, Habitat for Humanity and the NAMI Walk 2013. They also match employee contributions to their charity of choice and donate to their clients' non-profits. Employees chip in to help at local food banks, Ronald McDonald House and the Sacred Heart's Toy Box event. Loring Ward is 32nd in the Small Companies.

Once a year in May, Keller Williams Realty, in Santa Cruz closes so that associates can give back to the communities where they work. This year they worked with New Life Community Services, a local in-patient rehabilitation center, performing painting, gardening and other maintenance jobs. The company also collected donations for everyday items used at the center, such as bed linens and kitchen accessories. The realty firm is 10th in Small Companies.
 

Wilmer Hale's, Opportunity Fund is a not-for-profit social enterprise helping thousands of California families build financial stability - now California's leading microfinance provider. The Palo Alto office partners with Citizen Schools, a national nonprofit organization that works with middle schools to expand the learning day for low-income children across the country. Lawyers work with local sixth graders on a mock trial program in which students have an opportunity to learn the basics of the trial process, develop their public speaking skills and, most importantly, have fun learning. The program culminated on May 2, with a trial in front of a real judge and volunteer jury. Recently, members from the firm's Women Leadership Initiative also volunteered with Citizen School girls in empowerment workshops. The company is ranks 20th in Small Workplaces.

Staffing company Nelson Family of Companies, of Sonoma takes a leadership role in job fairs, open houses and skill assessments and trainings to help candidates find jobs. They've built a rapport that fosters the connections needed for successful job placements. The company offers paid time off to employees to volunteer in job-search networks such as Tomorrow's Leaders Today and Social Advocates for Youth. The firm is 16th in the Small Companies.
 

First Databank, which ranks 41st in Small Companies, is set in South San Francisco and grants employees eight hours of paid time off each year to volunteer with a charity of their choice. Also, the employee-led Charity Committee supports Recycle for a Cause, Ronald McDonald House, American Red Cross, Second Harvest Food Bank and the Family Giving Tree.
 

Hitachi Data Systems Corporation, which ranks 11th in Large Companies, is based in Santa Clara and donates to organizations in need of help during disaster recovery such as the earthquakes in Japan, Haiti and China and the Boston Marathon tragedy. In partnership with the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, Hitachi helps animals through "Dog Days of Summer" when employees bring their well-mannered dogs into work for a day of fun that also promotes animal awareness.

At The Ascent Services Group, in Walnut Creek, management has taken a leadership role in working closely with a large non-profit organization providing technical training for economically disadvantaged individuals seeking careers in technology. The Ascent Services Group founded and continues to underwrite three professional associations, contributing hundreds of volunteer hours to improve the data (http://www.dmprofessionals.org), contingent workforce (http://www.cwprofessionals.org) and project portfolio (http://www.ppmprofessionals.org) management disciplines for their consultants and clients. The company ranks 27th in Small Companies.
 

Bridge Bank, in San Jose and its employees support the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Boy Scouts of America, and many others. The bank ranks 15th in Midsize Companies and focuses much of its volunteerism on education; the bank is an active supporter of San Jose State University through an annual endowment and the development of a Banking Chair at the Center for Banking and Financial Services at SJSU's College of Business; supports Santa Clara University's Golden Circle; and underwrites KBAY's Teacher of the Month Innovation Grant in partnership with the Silicon Valley Education Foundation.
 

The ABD Team, in San Mateo is as passionate about community service as it is about professional service. Their employees are actively involved in community and charity groups as donors, volunteers and leaders. The team kicked off 2013 by sponsoring a Red Cross blood drive at its office. CEO Brian Hetherington is particularly passionate about Rebuilding Together. The ABD Team will be painting, hammering, building and rebuilding on National Rebuilding day, noted the company. The insurance consultant ranks fifth in Small Companies. Santa Cruz-based NHS, Inc. , donates to local schools and sports teams. They adopted a beach that employees clean three times a year. The company also supports the non-profit Board Rescue, which provides skateboards and safety equipment to underprivileged and at-risk children. They are 35th in the Small Companies category.

Fremont Bank, rated 10th in Large Companies, reports that its Fremont Bank Foundation has funded many major projects with grants in excess of $100,000. Many staff volunteer to help local causes. "Unlike larger banks, we are able to support local businesses as service providers to us, placing our dollars right back into the community," the company noted.
 

The Container Store provides product donations (such as shelving and storage), cash sponsorships, gift cards and storage and organization makeovers to support the myriad causes that their customers are passionate about. When opening a new store, the company with multiple Bay Area retail stores donates 10 percent of all sales from the grand opening weekend to a local nonprofit. The retail operation is ranks fourth in the Midsize Companies.

By Maggie Sharpe

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