2019 Community Impact Awards: Businesses Giving Back to the Community
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Leebcor Services, LLC
Number of Employees: 67
What They Do: Leebcor Services, LLC is a full-service general contractor and design-build firm that specializes in the development and construction of commercial real estate. The company has designed and built a number of quality facilities that directly serve the military population of Coastal Virginia.
How They Help: With a close relationship with the military community, Leebcor Services’ vision is to help build a stronger military by providing world-class construction services. “Our rapidly growing company [has] made huge strides in establishing strong and lasting relationships within the military community locally as well as beyond,” says Kelly Compton, proposal and marketing coordinator for Leebcor Services.
The company maintains their mission to benefit the physical wellbeing of military personnel as well as promotes their cognitive wellbeing by giving back. Co-founder and CEO John Karafa, a service-disabled veteran and avid fisherman, sought to establish a strategic program that would continuously support the United Service Organizations (USO) and their mission to strengthen the connection between military service members and their families, home and country.
In 2017, the company established their Fishing for Our Troops initiative while partnering with local businesses, professional fishing groups and veterans. Throughout the year, Fishing for Our Troops events are held at military bases in the eastern and southeastern United States with a purpose to bring together and enrich the lives of veterans and active duty families through fishing. Attendees learn new skills and have an enjoyable experience with seminars and sessions out on the water with pro bass anglers. All proceeds from Fishing for Our Troops benefit USO.
To our company, community impact looks like: an ongoing and everlasting relationship; one in which all parties benefit.
757-561-2117 | LeebcorServices.com
One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning
Number of Employees: 77
What They Do: Family-owned One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning provides residential heating and air conditioning services throughout the Coastal Virginia region. The company places a strong emphasis on punctual and personable service, quality of work and professionalism.
How They Help: For One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning, giving back has gone back with the company since their establishment in 1979. They’ve donated at the American Red Cross blood drive, collected food for the Judeo-Christian Outreach Center and have partnered with Ferguson to donate products as well as time installing new heating and air conditioning units in multiple houses for Habitat for Humanity of South Hampton Roads. “Being able to provide the in-kind donation of our skilled technicians’ time to help local families who are receiving a new home is humbling,” remarks Lauren Smith, marketing coordinator.
For the past five years, One Hour has partnered with WTKR and sponsors for their annual Holiday Helpers toy drive. Their teammates volunteer to drive all over Coastal Virginia collecting toys from donation drop-off locations and deliver them to ForKids so they can be distributed to local families in need around the holidays. At the annual KindFest at Hunt Club Farm, One Hour’s “Donation Station” has gathered over $4,000 each of the past two years at the event for local nonprofits.
Earlier this decade, One Hour introduced their One Hour Cares initiative where during each quarter of the year the company donates $5,000 to a local organization in need of funding. To date, they’ve raised awareness for over 200 area organizations and have donated more than $100,000 to over 50 groups through the program. Each organization is nominated through OneHourCares.com and is selected through a voting and lottery-like drawing. They also partner with WTKR to feature these organizations on Coast Live as well as through radio shows and on social media with MaxMedia and Local Voice.
To our company, community impact looks like: people with a lot of heart. Money is great, but sometimes not as meaningful of a contribution. Our goal is to raise awareness for those who need it most in our community.
757-868-7600 | OneHourComfort.com
Number of Employees: 5,000 in 17 countries
What They Do: Throughout the past 20 years, PRA, through its subsidiaries, has grown to become one of the largest debt buyers in the world. They strive to deliver nonperforming loan solutions to clients and customers in a respectful, ethical way using data and analytics.
How They Help: PRA Group, headquartered in Norfolk, encourages volunteerism and helps employees maximize their involvement through the PRA Group Volunteers program, providing regular opportunities and paid time off for eligible employees. In the last six months, employees shared their skills and knowledge with their communities through more than 593 hours in the Coastal Virginia area. In 2018, the company accrued more than 2,280 hours of volunteer service. Each year, the employee with the most recorded volunteer hours is acknowledged and presented with the Volunteer of the Year award at the company’s annual awards banquet.
Nonprofit donations and sponsorships are an essential part of the company’s philanthropic initiatives. PRA Group adds strength and vitality to their communities through Corporate Contributions and the Employee Matching Gift Program. Corporate and employee giving spans nonprofit categories from health and human services to youth development, financial literacy and the arts. PRA has also been a top participant and contributor to the United Way. To make giving easy, the company implemented a portal which gives employees the ability to designate gifts to organizations that resonate most with them. This portal will continue to be used for future workplace giving campaigns. PRA has donated millions of dollars to various charities since its inception.
Company accolades include the Corporate Volunteer Excellence Award for Volunteer Hampton Roads, Roaring 20 Award for Business Excellence and Community Involvement from Inside Business and most recently, the Trailblazer Award from United Way.
To our company, community impact looks like: dedication, determination, selfless commitment, investment and to support community revitalization and resiliency.
800-772-1413 | PRAGroup.com
Security Storage & Van of Norfolk
Number of Employees: 85 in summer; 45 in winter
What They Do: Security Storage & Van of Norfolk is an Allied moving agent since 1930, with Aspinwall-Security joining them in 1968. Together, they are a full-service moving and storage company operating approximately 60 vehicles and offering specialized services such as international moving, fine arts relocation, document storage and management and more.
How They Help: Security Storage & Van has a truck wrapped for the Susan G. Komen nonprofit organization. They loan to the organization for event transport. They support the HER Shelter when it needs furniture for a family that is being relocated to a safe house. They have provided services to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore as well as the Salvation Army when they need help with distribution or just extra labor during the holidays. They have supported the "Write Stuff," program through the Salvation Army that provides school supplies to needy children, for many years. They are currently members of the Virginia Beach Task Force on Aging and the Norfolk Task Force on Aging.
They have been trying to make an impact in our community for more than 105 years and appreciate how our community has supported their company. They use talents and position to encourage other people to serve the community by donating food or furniture, particularly when they are downsizing. Each employee is encouraged to give back to the community, even if it is only one hour a week.
To our company, community impact looks like: understanding the needs of the community by opening our eyes and ears. There is nothing more rewarding than the feeling you have when you know that you were a part of community service and helping others.
757-466-9000 | BigOrangeTruck.com
The Smiles Group
Number of Employees: 33
What They Do: The Smiles Group is a practice offering patients comprehensive dental services and treatments including orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, restorative dentistry, preventative care, implants and emergency dentistry. The office is equipped with the latest technology such as 3D imaging, same-day crowns and Veloscope oral cancer screenings.
How They Help: Dr. James Burden of The Smiles Group in Williamsburg is known for his extensive involvement in the community and has been giving back for more than 25 years. His contributions include a 9/11 walk and giving back to our local firefighters, police officers and first responders; ovarian cancer walk (contributions go to Olde Towne Medical Center); Dental Health Month at the local schools; James City Youth Football Camp; James City County Tri-Color Race (bike race); Breast Ball Charity Golf Tournament (Here For The Girls); Here For The Girls race; company-sponsored blood drive; school team sponsorships; The Shrimp Fest (Kiwanis); Bartenders for Babies Battle (March of Dimes); Signature Chefs Auction (March of Dimes); XM 99.1 The Drug Drive (opioid crisis); I Am Enough Retreat (abused women); Natasha’s House Fundraiser (abused women and children); Bacon Street Gala (youth programs); The Arc Gala and Sponsorship (programs for adult children with disabilities); The Avalon Events (abused women); Humane Society donations and fundraising events; DoG Street Strut (Humane Society); Trunk or Treats (WISC & Mathews YMCA); Latasha's House fundraisers and sponsors (abused women, human sex-trafficked victims); DAV donations; Helping Hands organization donations; White Marsh Mobile Homeless Shelter; Suit Case Program (donating Health Bags to the homeless); Williamsburg James City County Community Gala and sponsor (Head Start Program); PWN Power Summit (Empowering Women); Uncorked Here For The Girls fundraiser; Miles for Smiles Race (Burden’s race for Olde Towne Medical); PWN Women's Fundraising Events (scholarships for women); Hospice House donations; Purple Heart Veterans Golf Tournament; and Canstruction Food Drive.
To our company, community impact looks like: a smile!
757-229-1224 | SmilesOfWilliamsburg.com
What They Do: TowneBank offers a host of financial services from checking and savings to lending, mortgages and more. Whether business or personal, all services provided through TowneBank are backed by the company’s culture of caring and commitment to exceptional customer service.
How They Help: Since its conception in April 1999, TowneBank has honored its roots of volunteerism, leadership, fundraising and philanthropy and now boasts a cumulative total of $56.9 million raised for local charities and initiatives. Many of the bank’s community efforts fall under the bank’s Going to Towne program. “Going to Towne encompasses the many times that Towne employees reach out to their community to help in a variety of ways. The Going to Towne T-shirts are instantly recognizable wherever the Towne Family goes and the feeling of camaraderie is contagious,” says Vice President Meredith Elliott. “In 2018, more than 1,000 Towne family members donated 4,371 hours of service to organizations and events that were part of the bank’s corporate Going to Town initiative.”
Additional TowneBank efforts include building playgrounds with ROC Solid, participating in the annual JT Walk, volunteering during United Way’s Day of Caring and gathering more than 10,000 non-perishable food donations to the Fall Extravaganza Food Drive.
TowneBank’s outstanding community efforts are also rooted in the 18-year-old TowneBank Foundation founded in 2001. The Foundation hosts two signature events, a golf tournament and fall extravaganza, and is supported by a percentage of net profits from Towne’s board or directors. “The Foundation has provided charitable grants and donations to hundreds of nonprofit organizations throughout Hampton Roads, Richmond and North Carolina,” says Elliott. Chairman Bob Aston adds, “While some companies see charitable giving as a never-ending expense, Towne sees it as a never-ending investment. That’s part of the Towne difference.”
To our company, community impact looks like: a hometown culture of caring. When TowneBank first opened its doors in 1999, its goal was to be a great hometown bank that would enhance the quality of life in the communities the bank serves.
757-392-3400 | TowneBank.com
What They Do: USAA is a relationship company dedicated to serving military members by offering the best options for insurance, banking, investment and retirement. All USAA services are delivered to former and active duty members and their families with loyalty, honesty and integrity.
How They Help: USAA not only protects its members on the frontlines, overseas and at home, but strives to give back to its local communities as well. Aubrey Thomas, regional site director at USAA’s Chesapeake office, claims that nationally, the company’s leading cause for corporate citizenship is military resiliency. Of the hundreds of thousands of hours and millions of dollars USAA employees give each year, approximately 60% is donated to military-specific causes that support the company’s mission. Thomas states that USAA employees contributed over $10 million in charitable donations and more than 500,000 volunteer hours in 2018 alone.
Many of employees’ volunteer hours are completed during their two paid volunteer days. USAA implemented volunteer days in 2016 to help its workforce realize its passion for giving, a task that is often hard to achieve within the time constraints of work, family and the like. To further alleviate that challenge, the Chesapeake office also organizes periodic drop-in events. “Drop-in events are often combined with giving opportunities to create greater awareness and to provide employees with the opportunity to give in multiple ways,” explains Thomas. “Chesapeake events in 2018 included activities like creating handwritten thank you cards, making comfort stuffed animals for military children, laundry care packages for homeless veterans and Norfolk University students and [cooking] hundreds of meals for families in need.”
Among USAA’s other philanthropic efforts is The USAA Foundation, Inc. which invests in causes pertaining to education, natural disaster relief and homelessness support. Specific to the Chesapeake office is a Giving Campaign. “We host a Giving Campaign each year in which we invite nonprofits across Hampton Roads to visit our office and share their organization’s mission. During this season of giving, employees are provided an opportunity to make a charitable donation to their nonprofit of choice,” says Thomas.
To our company, community impact looks like: the embodiment of our core values. USAA encourages its employees to go beyond their job responsibilities and serve their communities.
800-531-8722 | USAA.com
Virginia Eye Consultants
What They Do: For over half a century, Virginia Eye Consultants has served as the region’s leading eyecare practice. The Hampton, Norfolk, Suffolk and Virginia Beach offices are home to recognized ophthalmologists specializing in advanced eye care treatments and surgeries for LASIK, cataracts, glaucoma and more.
How They Help: While Virginia Eye Consultants is a pioneer in ophthalmological surgeries, the local practice is also a leader in charitable efforts. Noticing a need for emergent eye care among local uninsured communities, Virginia Eye Consultants launched two charities, the Virginia Eye Foundation and Looking Forward...Giving Back, in 2005 and 2013 respectively. Both programs finance thousands of sight-saving surgeries and provide educational funding for aspiring healthcare professionals.
Tami Burke, director of marketing and public relations, illustrates the programs’ impact through the inspiring story of former patient Kenneth. “His cataracts were so dense that he couldn’t see well enough to do the things he loved [like] drive to the store, go on outings by himself or even take walks around the block with his grandchildren,” she says. “Looking Forward...Giving Back helped turn his life back around. He can see clearly and is once again living the quality of life he had before.”
For people like Kenneth, Burke reiterates that both charities have helped alleviate the highly unmet need for eye trauma care for patients lacking the necessary means for proper medical attention. “Giving back to our community has been a natural part of our business for decades,” says Burke. “In addition to our initiatives and [contributions to local causes like the Foundation Fighting Blindness, Western Tidewater Free Clinic and Lackey Free Clinic of Williamsburg to name a few], a demonstration of the number of years we have committed to giving back to Hampton Roads is our President Dr. John Sheppard. [He] was recently honored by EVMS for his 30 years of volunteer academic service to the institution.”
To our company, community impact looks like: independence and freedom. Through Looking Forward...Giving Back and the Virginia Eye Foundation, Virginia Eye Consultants provides hundreds of charitable eye procedures to uninsured people in the region to help them regain their independence through improved vision.
757-742-3902 | VirginiaEyeConsultants.com
Virginia Natural Gas
What They Do: Virginia Natural Gas delivers safe and reliable gas services to over 300,000 residential, commercial and industrial patrons in Virginia’s southeastern corridor. The natural gas provider not only promotes cost-effective and productive services, but environmentally sustainable options as well.
How They Help: For Virginia Natural Gas employees, volunteering is not a professional requirement, rather a personal mission. Nearly all 300 of Virginia Natural Gas personnel have participated in community events and volunteered both time and money to a number of organizations and foundations including the Boys & Girls Club of Newport News, the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank, ForKids, Virginia Beach Tragedy Fund, Elizabeth River Trail and the Salvation Army. In 2018 alone, the Virginia Beach-based company donated more that $389,000 to 43 local charities.
“We have long been a model for corporate citizenship in the areas of charitable giving, volunteerism, environmental stewardship and workforce development,” says Community Affairs Manager Kenneth Magee. “Each year, Virginia Natural Gas supports our community through charitable giving, organized fundraisers and volunteering our time with many charitable and community projects centered around improving the lives of those living across our service territory.”
One of the company’s most recent charitable acts includes their participation in Something in the Water festival. Virginia Natural Gas partnered with Seatack Elementary School to overhaul and expand its community garden. The gas provider also supplied recycling bins throughout the three-day event to keep the beaches clean.
“At Virginia Natural Gas, our commitment is to our customers and to social responsibility. Every decision we make as a company is focused on using our talents and resources to improve the community we serve,” says Magee.
To our company, community impact looks like: our employers being a force for good within the community we serve. Our employees live, socialize and volunteer within this region and we pride ourselves on finding ways to improve the quality of life for everyone who calls this home.
866-229-3578 | VirginiaNaturalGas.com
Warwick Mechanical Group
What They Do: Warwick Mechanical Group strives to be the leading mechanical systems provider to general contractors and end users in Virginia’s southeastern and central regions and North Carolina’s northeastern corridor. Warwick systems are designed specifically for commercial, industrial, mechanical and institutional facilities.
How They Help: The Newport News-based company has a longstanding tradition of philanthropy. Promoting the corporation’s charitable efforts is the Warwick Foundation, an internal program that helps connect employees with volunteer and fundraising opportunities with regional charities. Arguably the foundation’s most impactful partnerships are with the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank, Walk to End Alzheimer’s and St. Jude Research Hospital.
Executive Assistant Rhonda Noble notes that Foodbank donations have been a staple in the Warwick office, but recent competition with local construction group W.M. Jordan Company has led to a substantial increase in philanthropic efforts. “We started competing with W.M. Jordan Company in 2017 and we were able to increase our food and monetary donations [to over $8,000 and 15,000 pounds of food over the last three years],” says Noble.
Similar earnings were raised during the company’s participation in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, an initiative that hits close to home for CEO G. Royden Goodson III. “Alzheimer’s awareness is very near and dear to our hearts as our CEO’s wife was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s a few years ago. We also have several on our staff who have been personally affected by this terrible disease,” explains Noble. She further adds that Warwick’s involvement in last year’s walk was slated to raise $8,000 but grossed over $16,000 with the help of community partners.
What Warwick donates in time and money, the company also contributes in educational advancement. In addition to offering college internships, Warwick Mechanical Group partners with New Horizons Advanced Technical Careers Academy to enroll high school students into a five-year apprenticeship that offers full-time employment while completing classwork.
To our company, community impact looks like: bringing people together to support those in need. Whether it’s helping a charitable organization or kids graduating from high school that need to transition to employment, we are honored to be able to help.
757-599-6111 | WarwickMechanicalGroup.com
How were the businesses chosen?
Online nominations were held March 1–April 28 for businesses to share the philanthropic ways in which they give back. Using the information provided in those nominations, an editorial team determined the top 20 Community Impact winners based on their effect on the community through innovative work programs, employee volunteering and creative business models that promote the social health of the community.