Those within the industry said events are more meaningful when company employees have a chance to participate. Bendix, a component supplier based in Ohio, has a giving strategy as well as a volunteering strategy. Employees can take up to 16 hours a year off to participate in company-sponsored volunteer activities.
“We try to find activities that resonate with our employees. Our biggest one is Habitat for Humanity,” said Maria Gutierrez, director of corporate responsibility and sustainability for Bendix. “When you just give money, you don’t know who you’re impacting. When you see a face, you see how your labor makes a difference.”
Bendix provides donations through its North American Global Cares initiative as well as its Get Involved! grant program, which supports requests submitted by employees.
“When we impact the causes the employees support, they feel proud,” Gutierrez said, adding that a team evaluates all of the grant requests and selects the winners.
In 2018, Bendix Get Involved! grants supported 48 projects with more than $120,000. One of the recipients of a grant was GiGi’s Playhouse, an achievement center for people with Down syndrome based in Lakewood, Ohio. Matthew Lombardi, financial sales analyst at Bendix, and his family have participated in many Lakewood GiGi’s Playhouse programs with their son, Carter, who has Down syndrome.
Lombardi submitted a grant to support the Speech and Language Program, and Bendix contributed $3,500 for classroom equipment and training materials.
Drivers and carriers support local schools through ATA’s Share the Road program, which teaches students how to share the road with large trucks, and through the Trucker Buddy program, which connects elementary schools with professional drivers.
During back-to-school season this year, XPO donated $10,000 to Operation Backpack, which provides school supplies to children. James Valdez, executive director of human resources for supply chain at XPO Logistics, said the company also held a school supply drive for a school near its facility in Arizona.
“We’re new to the area and wanted to support the community for this terrific cause. We helped by coordinating a donation box in our facility, and employees jumped on the chance to donate. Our employees donated everything from backpacks and markers to paper and pencils, along with tissues, hand wipes, and more,” Valdez said.
Bendix sponsors engineering events for students, hosts a discovering engineering day on site, offers school tours, and has employees volunteer at robotics events, which Gutierrez said draws on its employees’ expertise.
Cargo Transporters has also supported technology in local schools through donations of Chromebooks. It also donated a tractor to a local hospital, so it could move medical trailers and has donated equipment to community colleges for diesel training programs.
ATA’s Barna said there are countless examples of companies that give back by providing donations and scholarships, sponsoring highways, serving meals, volunteering at local foodbanks, and serving meals to those in need. She added that many drivers are emergency medical technicians and fire department volunteers and are working in their communities when not driving.
Dellinger said Cargo Transporters’ leadership embraces giving. “We as management are expected to give back,” she explained. “It is just what people do here.”