Employees at Meritor Inc. world headquarters are opening their wallets and their hearts during jeans days fundraising events to support nonprofit organizations across southeast Michigan, raising more than $1 million since 2012.
Employees entering the facility on Friday mornings donate $5 to wear jeans to work. The collections are matched by contributions from the Meritor philanthropic fund and provided each week to a different charity selected by an employee, groups of co-workers or a department. Typically, charities are selected because a Meritor employee, family member or friend has received support from the organization during a challenging time in their life. Approximately 900 employees work at Meritor's Troy headquarters.
"We recently surpassed $1 million given to local nonprofit organizations, most of which have in some way supported an employee, family member or friend," says Krista Sohm, Vice President and Chief Marketing & Communications Officer for Meritor. "It's moving to hear the stories about the way these organizations have impacted the lives of the extended Meritor family. The passion that our employees demonstrate for these organizations every week, year after year, reflects the giving nature of our culture, not only in Troy but around the world."
Jeans day sponsorships have included well-known nonprofits such as Habitat for Humanity, Paws for Life Rescue, Susan G. Komen, Humble Design and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. However, employees also sponsor much smaller organizations, such as Captain Cathy's Cruise for Kids, a program offering children with cardiac health problems an all-day cruise on the Detroit River to forget about their daily health struggles; Rainbow Connection, a nonprofit dedicated to making dreams come true for Michigan children with life-threatening medical conditions; and Camp Casey, a horseback riding program for children in southeast and west Michigan with cancer, sickle cell disease and aplastic anemia.
Some teams host lunchtime sporting events and silent auctions, ice cream socials and other activities to raise additional funds. Engineering teams, for example, that support FIRST Robotics Competitions at local schools encourage students to bring their robots to the Troy facility for demonstrations.
"Reaching $1 million is a major milestone for this popular program that employees appreciate because they can go casual on Fridays while helping to support a cause being championed by their colleagues," Sohm says.