Employee Selected and Managed Corporate Charity

Nate DeRoseby Nathan DeRose, Communications Coordinator

In October 2015 I nominated St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for KCI’s rotating corporate charity, and was voted in, along with another nominee, as Corporate Charity Co-Chair. We both chose the organization because of a personal connection to its cause. After our year-long tenure, and thanks to the generous support of our coworkers, we were able to raise over $27,000 for the charity, surpassing our initial goal in the first 6 months. It allowed us to not only raise money for a charity we believed in, but also spread awareness for a cause to employees in multiple states around the country.

For a new employee just out of college, it helped me overcome the daunting task of getting your name out to employees at all levels within the company, whether they’re on the floor below you or 10 states away. Each month at a companywide town meeting, we stood in front of an audience and a camera to give an update on the charity, our successes, and what’s to come. It helped me to reach out to, engage, and interact with employees from all of our offices that I may not have had the opportunity to otherwise in my job duties (and also helped me get a bit better at public speaking). We had fun, made friends and most importantly helped a great cause.

Throughout the year, our fundraising events ranged from bake sales and homemade lunches to silent auctions and prize wheels. Every few weeks, the charity committee would meet over lunch to brainstorm ideas, focusing not only on the charity but also ways for our employees to enjoy a nice treat or break from their work day. Our most successful event was a silent auction where, thanks to the help of our coworkers, local businesses from all over the Baltimore area donated items ranging from gift cards and coffee to electronics and vacations. As the countdown neared zero and the bid sheets were ready to be pulled, employees were fighting for pens to get their last minute bids in. In only a single night, we raised over $4,000.00 for St. Jude which is a testament to the giving nature of the people we work with.

For many like me, it’s a great opportunity to get yourself in a position where you have the entire company turn their attention to you, even if just for a few minutes at the end of each month. Now that the experience is behind me, I will encourage all employees, new or otherwise, to nominate a charity or to explore some of the other extracurricular opportunities that KCI offers, to move beyond their comfort zone and put themselves in front of their fellow coworkers. The sense of accomplishment achieved from chairing the charity committee extends beyond just raising money for a cause, but also continuing the philanthropic spirit in the company and reminding everyone that it feels good to give a little bit back.