Saluting The Organizations That Serve Our Community, Country
Whether it’s for country or community, there is no greater calling than to serve.
America would not be the same without our military and first responders, nor the good works of area nonprofits and their legions of volunteers.
Today, for many employers, the importance of service has become an integral part of their business model, helping to attract top talent (veterans included), foster customer relationships and boost community pride.
“‘Being of Service’ is what drives our employees and our organization,” explains Loesel-Schaaf Insurance Agency Vice President T.J. Richter, CIC. “We strive to make a difference in people’s lives – our employees and our clients. We deliver on our promises and stand behind our word.”
At Loesel-Schaaf, headquartered in Erie, helping others understand their policies, coverage, benefits, gaps, etc., is a rewarding part of the agency’s work. “One of our goals is to help not only our nonprofit sector by finding savings in their insurance products, but we support our community by supporting the nonprofit sector’s needs. We participate on various Boards of Directors, hold food drives, clothing drives, Christmas gift sponsorships and various other donations throughout the year,” explains Richter. “Helping people when they have a need and being able to take that burden off their shoulders, combined with the caring and empathy of our staff has helped to drive our agency’s success for nearly 100 years.”
At Humes Chrysler Jeep Dodge RAM of Waterford, the family-owned dealership and its employees have been actively involved in the community since its founding in 1946. Humes has financially supported area nonprofits, donating more than $20,000 to volunteer fire departments over the past year, $5,000 to local food pantries as well as supporting area Little League teams, school sports and extracurricular programs. The dealership has even been honored as a Pennsylvania’s TIME Magazine Dealer of the Year for community support and engagement, a multiple Erie’s Choice Award Winner, and a Commitment to Erie Award winner.
General Manager Matt Clark and his wife Karen have personally chaired fundraising events and campaigns for the Crime Victim Center of Erie County Moonlight on the Bay and Roarr Against Crime events raising almost $200,000. The couple also chaired the Sisters of St. Joseph Neighborhood Network capital campaign and Guess That Tune Gala, the Neighborhood Art House annual fundraising campaign, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Race for Cure, American Heart Association Heart Ball, as well as contributing to Erie Homes for Children and Adults, the Flagship Niagara League, and Hagen History Center, among others.
“We owe much of our success to our local community and feel an obligation to help the area community,” says Clark. ‘
Larger employers share these sentiments as well. At Wabtec, community engagement is an essential responsibility for the Pittsburgh-based company, a leading global provider of equipment, systems, digital solutions, and value-added service.
“At our Erie facility, our mission is to connect Wabtec and our employees to the community to create a positive impact, focusing on children, health, relief and sustainability,” explains Business Operations Specialist Christine Breski. “In addition, we work to leverage our available resources to create change and help our hometown flourish.”
Wabtec also recognizes that its employees feel more fulfilled and recharged after taking the time to support others.
“From sharing their love of STEM with a group of students, cleaning up trash along Presque Isle, serving turkey dinner to the Erie City Mission, collecting items for a toy drive, or building wheelchairs for local veterans, our employees are motivated, compassionate, and selfless when it comes to creating change,” Breski says. “We hope that each time we engage with a local nonprofit, we can establish a lasting and positive impact on our community and workforce so both continue to thrive.
America’s 1.3 million nonprofits play a significant role in service to communities across the country, especially those close to home. For example, the Mercy Center for Women (MCW), which was founded by the Sisters of Mercy, has been serving the Erie community since 1994. The Mercy Center’s mission is to help the most vulnerable members in our community — those experiencing homelessness — by providing a safe path toward a permanent home.
“Whether responding to a crisis call from a woman escaping abuse or a request from another agency to serve a Thanksgiving meal, our passion is to serve others in our community experiencing the most dire situation anyone could face: homelessness,” says MCW Executive Director Jennie Hagerty. “Thanks to support from individuals and other organizations who believe in our work, the new Mercy Anchor Community Center expands our impact by doubling the number of people we’re able to including men.”
The Crime Victim Center of Erie County, headquartered in Erie, has been having a profound impact on the community for the past 50 years. In 2022 alone, the Center provided services to almost 1,000 victims and significant others of sexual assault, and over 2,700 victims, witnesses and significant others of other crimes in Erie County.
“Our counseling, prevention education, court advocacy, restitution and victims’ compensation services are the reasons why we are able to continue meeting our mission of ‘reducing crime and the impact of crime, including sexual violence, through counseling, prevention education, and advocacy,’” states CVC Executive Director Paul Lukach, MSW, LSW.
CVC’s Prevention Education team are the individuals responsible for informing children and adults in the community about age-appropriate topics that prevent perpetration and victimization. In 2022, Prevention Education delivered more than 450 presentations to more than 9,000 participants and provide educational resources at almost 100 community events.
“We take pride in being the only comprehensive victim service center in the area, having the ability to work with victims of all crimes through their trauma processes,” Lukach adds.
Community Health Net (CHN) is another nonprofit resource helping to make a difference through service, starting out as a small medical and dental clinic in Erie in 1985. Today, as the Lake Erie region’s largest Federally Qualified Health Center, Community Health Net provides high-quality medical, dental, vision, pharmacy, behavioral health, and other health-related services, to the community, regardless of a person’s ability to pay.
“At Community Health Net, our culture and mission are deeply rooted in community service. We understand that a thriving community relies on quality and consistent health-care services,” says CHN Chief Executive Officer Craig Ulmer. “Our commitment to service is driven by the belief that quality health-care should be accessible to all people and empowers individuals, fosters economic growth, and nurtures the overall well-being of our community.”
Community Health Net prioritizes addressing the health-care needs of all community members, particularly those who are underserved. By focusing on community service, the organization strives to bridge health disparities and promote equity.
“Our dedication extends beyond our facilities as we actively collaborate with organizations and participate in local initiatives,” says Ulmer. “Through these partnerships, we maximize our impact and create a stronger, healthier and more vibrant Lake Erie region, the place we call home.”
To learn more about ways to get involved, join us for the MBA’s IMPACT Luncheon & Nonprofit Fair on July 19. Visit mbausa.org to register.