Cash bonuses or gifts can boost morale at the end of the year, making employees and vendors feel rewarded for a job well done. At Liberty Diversified International, Chairman and CEO Mike Fiterman believes “employees who are engaged with community work are stronger employees because of their efforts.” So he keeps his employees happy and motivated each year by giving them the opportunity to pay a check forward to a charity of their choice. A member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), Fiterman has received a SEN SUSTAINABILITY AWARD in the philanthropy category for his efforts.
Sponsored by the Social Engagement Network (SEN), a network of members within YPO, the annual awards – launched in 2008 – highlight a key value for YPO members: the responsibility and challenge of improving the planet by making choices to enrich the communities in which members work, play and live.
The economic downturn of 2009 sparked the company’s Pay it Forward initiative. The traditional holiday mailer of a coffee table book and card to employees, customers and vendors seemed less relevant when so many less fortunate in the community could make better use of the money. During the first year, Liberty Diversified International made a donation on behalf of everyone.
But, Fiterman thought they could improve the program by involving the recipients in the proverbial “gift of giving,” and it would be much more impactful if each person could see the positive impact of their generosity. The next year, each individual received a check to pay forward to the charity or individual of his or her choice.
“As the program has evolved, we have continued to make yearly modifications,” says Fiterman. “For example, we added a small corrugated bank that families could assemble, use to collect their spare change and then decide as a family where to donate the money they had saved. It’s one more way of continuing to build a community of caring in current and future generations.”
About SEN and YPO
The SEN SUSTAINABILITY AWARDS cultivate awareness about inclusive business and community, philanthropy, sustainability and the environment. Sponsored by the Social Engagement Network, the annual awards – launched in 2008 – highlight a key value for YPO membership: the responsibility and challenge of improving the planet by making choices to enrich the communities in which members work, play and live. The awards recognize outstanding, innovative members who have made a significant, measurable impact in their business, community and personal journeys. They honor member companies for their good work while raising the profile of sustainable initiatives around the globe. Inclusive Business and Community Awards: Recognize YPO members whose companies provide valuable social impact to disadvantaged communities by integrating them into their core business models. Philanthropy Award: Distinguishes YPO members for their philanthropic and charitable initiatives. Sustainability and Environment Awards: Celebrate YPO members whose companies offer positive sustainable and environmental solutions through business model, products, services and processes. Best of the Best Award: Presented to the best of the best among awardees from all SEN Sustainability Awards categories.
YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization) is a not-for-profit, global network of young chief executives connected around the shared mission of becoming Better Leaders Through Education and Idea ExchangeTM. Founded in 1950, YPO today provides 20,000 peers and their families in more than 120 countries with access to unique experiences, world-class resources, alliances with top learning institutions, and specialized Networks that help them enhance their business, community and personal leadership. Altogether, YPO member-run companies employ more than 15 million people around the world and generate US$6 trillion in annual revenues.
For more information, visit ypo.org.