Industry Giving, Part Two: Good Corporate Citizenship Connects Dealers with their Communities

As a follow-up to our initial feature on office technology dealer philanthropy, we have more examples of dealers who have given of their time and resources to support individuals and organizations on a local and/or national level.

When Hurricane Harvey ravaged Texas and Louisiana in 2017, Jack Stargel wanted to do his share for the relief effort. The president of Houston-based Stargel Office Solutions knew that the flood-stricken populace would need basic elements, so the company donated 20,000 pairs of Pro Feet socks to hurricane relief centers throughout the Houston metro area. Employees rose to the occasion with monetary donations, and the company itself more than matched the contributions.

Stargel Office Solutions teamed with Dulles High School’s Miracle Club Association to raise money for Texas Children’s Hospital

Stargel Office Solutions has donated more than $500,000 to various non-profit organizations throughout Houston, buffered by its Stargel Gives Back program created in the aftermath of the hurricane. It supports more than 30 local organizations, some of which have national reach, from the American Cancer Society to the American Heart Association, the Salvation Army and St. Jude International.

“It’s a family business, and we enjoy giving back to the community,” Stargel said. “It’s something that all of our employees feel good about, so we like to do different promotions. The employees really drive the (Stargel Gives Back) program.”

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Winston Churchill

Stargel Office Solutions recently teamed up with the Dulles High School’s Miracle Club Association, which over a two-week period helped raise $11,000 for Texas Children’s Hospital. The dealer matched the club’s $11,000 contribution, and also raised nearly $62,000 from 200-plus donors.

According to Feeding America, more than 40 million people struggle with hunger in the United States, a figure that includes 12 million children. In working with a pair of customers—the Utah Food Bank and Three Square Food Pantry of Las Vegas—the Les Olson Company learned some disturbing facts regarding food insecurity and children: because they are not in school, some kids have less access to food. Also, donations during the summer tend to drop drastically, as many people are focused on their travel and vacations.

In response to this trend, the Salt Lake City-based dealer sponsors an annual Summer Food and Funds Drive in conjunction with the aforementioned clients. “We can’t stand the thought of kids going hungry when they are unable to help themselves,” noted Scot Olson, director of marketing. “So we have sponsored this program for several years now, helping to make the community aware of the need in the summer. Since our initial involvement, we have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from our employees and others in the community, as well as hundreds of thousands of pounds of food for families that need assistance.

“As a company, we feel lucky to be part of the great communities in which we work and live. We feel like these communities have given much to us, and we feel it’s important to give back where we can.”

That TOPP Business Solutions of Scranton, Pennsylvania is an ardent supporter of many causes comes as no surprise; founder Angelo Falzett always followed the belief that to whom much is given, much is expected. The philanthropic spirit flows through the Falzett family and to employees. Anne Falzett, mother of current president Chris Falzett, won The Roseann Smith Alperin Award for women in philanthropy for 2018.

One of the ways Edwards Business Systems supports its community is through the Relay for Life, which supports the American Cancer Society

Among the causes championed by TOPP Business Solutions are Outreach, which helps families in areas such as drug and alcohol prevention, parent-child programs, workforce development and job placement. The organization acknowledged the dealer’s contributions with the 2018 Mighty Oak Award.

TOPP also supported The Sisters of IHM Foundation, which focuses on the care of Catholic Sisters. In conjunction with other initiatives done to support children and families, the organization recognized the Falzetts with the 2019 Spirit of IHM Award.

Falzett and his father are honorary chairs for the 17th annual American Red Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania Golf Tournament, which benefits the local Red Cross chapter. “This is their biggest local fundraiser of the year and with the help of our great vendor partners, we are on track to make this their highest revenue year yet,” Chris Falzett noted.

Other family-related causes backed by TOPP Business Solutions are the Women’s Resource Center, Family-to-Family and the Children’s Advocacy Center of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Edwards Business Systems and Virginia Business Systems live by their mission statement, which concludes “…and to be contributing members of the communities we serve.” Here are a few examples of some organizations supported by the dealership duo:

Jeans for Joe was created following the untimely passing of senior field technician Joe Harkins at the age of 47. He left behind a wife and two daughters, and the organization created the promotion to help raise money for the girls’ college tuition. Employees can wear jeans on Friday by making a contribution to the cause, and thus far, more than $60,000 has been realized.

The West Reading, Pennsylvania office created a team to participate in the Relay for Life. The team, CopyCAT Crusaders, was formed to honor an administrative staff member’s battle with breast cancer. The Crusaders have done five of the annual relays that benefit the American Cancer Society. This past year, the team raised more than $8,300 with an additional $2,000 corporate sponsorship.

For more than 20 years, Virginia Business Systems has been a supporter of Connor’s Heroes, a charity devoted to childhood cancers. Last year, the dealer was awarded the charity’s “Hero of the Year” for ongoing support and volunteer commitment.

“Philanthropic giving is not just at the corporate level, but is also supported by our employees through matched giving, volunteering and board service,” said Ray Fuentes, president of Edwards Business Systems. “Many of these are donations that cannot be tallied, but are vital to the quality of life in the communities that we serve.”

Prosource of Cincinnati supports an average of 40 organizations/causes each year, and its employees spend more than 1,200 hours volunteering. All told, the company and its employees have donated more than $500,000 to charitable organizations. In fact, giving is so ingrained within the organization that it has incorporated it into its benefits package via an initiative called Impact Day, in which employees volunteer their time in support of any organization of their choice.

On a monthly basis, Prosource chooses a cause, selected from employee suggestions, to support through its Casual for a Cause program. Employees can dress casually on Fridays with a donation to the fund, which is matched by the dealer and donated to the specific organization.

One of the cornerstone organizations Prosource has chosen to prioritize in its giving campaigns is the Dragonfly Foundation, which supports pediatric cancer patients and their families throughout their journeys, from diagnosis through long-term recovery. Prosource CEO Brad Cates recently joined the foundation’s board of directors.

Last December, Prosource partnered with Dragonfly to adopt 18 families that have been impacted by pediatric cancer. The Prosource team purchased and wrapped more than 130 gifts to bring comfort and joy to these families during the holiday season.

“Kindness is a magical spell—performed by enlightened beings—meant to enchant hearts and lift weary souls that they might fly.”

Richelle E. Goodrich

“Pediatric cancer is devastating for families not only emotionally, but also financially,” Cates said. “Many of these families live below the poverty level and would not have had presents for their children under the Christmas tree without the support of our team.”

Prosource also sponsored the foundation’s eighth-annual grand gala, which raised $356,000 toward its mission. Team members also volunteered at the Dragonfly Foundation’s booth at Glier’s Goettafest, a local food festival, providing fun family activities while raising money for families in need.

Prosource has been involved with the Adopt-A-Class mentorship program, volunteering at Oyler School in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Lower Price Hill

Lastly, the company has been involved in the Adopt-A-Class mentorship program for the past five years. Prosource currently volunteers with two first-grade classes at Oyler School in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Lower Price Hill. Team members visit the school once a month to build relationships with more than 30 students, many of whom are experiencing homelessness and other hardships.

“If you’re in the luckiest one percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.”

Warren Buffett

Blue Technologies has been involved with OhioGuidestone, formerly known as Berea Children’s Home and Family Service, since 1996. One of the original customers of the Cleveland-based dealer, OhioGuidestone’s footprint has grown with Blue Technologies, and along the way they have been helping and supporting children and families in need. Blue Technologies partners with them in three philanthropic ways:

  • Blue Technologies is lead sponsor of the Golf & Club Classic, which generates more than $200,000 in net profit annually.
  • Through its Giving Tree, Blue fills a 22-foot box truck with toys, clothes and gifts for the children served by OhioGuidestone, courtesy of the dealer’s employees.
  • Blue sponsors a holiday party, hosted by employees, during which more than 300 children and their families receive a fabulous meal, gifts, visits and photos with Santa Claus, plus entertainment by Flower Clown.

Rounding out our look at select dealers who are active in corporate philanthropy is Atlantic, Tomorrow’s Office. The Big Apple heavyweight earmarks $800,000 a year in donations to support a laundry list of charitable organizations, including UNICEF, the National Kidney Foundation, The Jillian Fund and Make-A-Wish America.

Santa (and Mrs.) Claus visit Blue Technologies, with the dealer providing gifts for more than 300 children and their families

One recent project the dealer has been working on is the 2019 New York Kidney Walk, which takes place at Foley Square on Nov. 19. Larry Weiss, president of the company and co-chair for the event, noted that nearly 600,000 New Yorkers are living with undiagnosed chronic kidney disease, and 7,870 people are currently waiting for kidney transplants. He has made it a personal goal to raise $1.2 million in donations to fund crucial programs, as well as provide resources and services to patients, health care professionals and the general public.

Erik Cagle
About the Author
Erik Cagle is the editorial director of ENX Magazine. He is an author, writer and editor who spent 18 years covering the commercial printing industry.