1600 Staff Members Join together for Feeding America’s Backpack Program
— Plante & Moran, PLLC, one of the country’s largest accounting and business advisory firms, launched its P&M Cares Initiative in 2007 as a formal way to coordinate firm-sponsored volunteerism and charitable giving efforts. With P&M Cares, the firm selects a worthy cause each year and works with staff in its 18 offices throughout Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio to support it. Three years later, the firm deems it a growing success with a mission that goes beyond meeting immediate community needs, according to Plante & Moran Managing Partner Gordon Krater, CPA.
"With the P&M Cares Initiative, we have created a meaningful way for staff to understand or deepen their sense of being part of a larger community through contributions of time and talent. Equally important, we see this as an opportunity to shape a life-long commitment to volunteerism and giving back – especially for the younger staff," observes Krater.
With a long-held “We Care” internal motto that drives the firm’s approach to clients, staff and the community, giving is part of Plante & Moran’s DNA. A few years ago, staff were given an extra eight hours of paid time off in their PTO bank with the express direction that it was intended for time spent on community initiatives such as P&M Cares.
The firm’s previous P&M Cares initiatives include supporting Quilts for Kids, which resulted in Plante & Moran staff creating 30 quilts to comfort children with life-threatening illnesses, and adoptaplatoon.org, which resulted in the staff sending 500 care packages and raising more than $4,000 for our men and women serving overseas. The 2009-2010 focus was Feeding America’s BackPack program. Feeding America is a national domestic hunger-relief charity with a network of member food banks throughout the country. Through the BackPack Program, Feeding America food banks provide backpacks filled with food that children in need can take home on weekends. The program is not only a way to feed children, but also to keep them coming to school.
Immediately after announcing the BackPack program at the firm’s annual firm conference in July 2009, staff began donating pallets worth of can goods to fill the backpacks. In an effort to raise monetary donations, staff volunteers organized pancake breakfasts, held bake sales, competed in cook-offs, developed and sold cookbooks, and displayed their creativity with handmade jewelry, photo frames, blankets, baked goods, and other items they auctioned off in a fundraiser. Staff throughout the firm also volunteered their time to local food banks to help sort food and pack the backpacks.
Krater continues that the firm’s coordinated volunteer effort has had a positive effect on team spirit and spawned contagious generosity.
“Our Human Resources department passed on their 2009 holiday party and opted to spend an afternoon sorting food at a Detroit food bank instead,” notes Krater. “Also, when staff members were offered a $5 gift card to celebrate the firm’s 12th year on FORTUNE Magazine’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” in January 2010, nearly half opted to pass on the gift card and donate the money to Feeding America, which amounted to a total donation of nearly $3,000.”
The end results of the firm’s collective efforts for Feeding America’s BackPack program are impressive:
- Plante & Moran staff donated time to pack nearly 5,000 backpacks with food
- More than 5,000 lbs. of food were donated
- More than $25,000 was raised to purchase food beyond the food donated by staff
What’s next? The firm announced at its July 1, 2010 annual conference that the P&M Cares initiative for the fiscal year beginning July 1 is the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an organization that has a presence in every city where Plante & Moran has a U.S. office.
About Plante & Moran, PLLC
Plante & Moran is among the nation’s largest certified public accounting and business advisory firms, providing clients with tax, audit, risk management, financial, technology, business consulting, and wealth management services. Plante & Moran has a staff of more than 1,600 professionals in 21 offices throughout Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois with international offices in Shanghai, China; Monterrey, Mexico; and Mumbai, India. Plante & Moran has been recognized by a number of organizations, including FORTUNE magazine, as one of the country’s best places to work.