By Bob DuBois, President
A unique aspect of working at Pyramid Solutions is our Casual Friday Fund. Employees are permitted to wear jeans and casual clothing on Friday, as long as they donate $2 to the fund.
At the end of every quarter, we total the donations and pick a local organization to donate the money to.
However, we do not randomly choose these organizations, but they are selected for one specific reason – because it’s close to the heart of one of our employees. We don’t think of these donations as something we have to do, but something we get the privilege to do to serve our community. So, here are the stories behind our contributions in 2017 and the impact they have.
Red Cross and All Hands Volunteers
Even though our headquarters are in Michigan, we felt the ripple of consequence from Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Several of our employees in Florida and Texas had to evacuate their homes and many of our clients underwent long-term duress.
Cameron was one of them. Cameron lives in Texas and got a front row seat to the devastation.
“People heard a lot about the Houston area and coastal cities that were hit, but less was reported about many of the little towns that were nearly wiped out,” Cameron said. “The Bastrop area just south of where I live experienced historic flooding after the same area endured multiple wildfires.”
Seeing this, Cameron took action. He signed up as a volunteer to head to Bastrop the weekend after the hurricane took landfall to assist with the cleanup, but due to the overwhelming number of volunteers, his group was asked to stand down and come the following weekend.
Instead of waiting for seven days to pass by though, Cameron and his son joined the Capital Area Young Marines and traveled to Rockport to assist in their cleanup efforts.
“I am grateful that many of the friends I have in Houston made it out with minimal damage, but sadly there are some that lost everything,” Cameron said. “During my cleanup efforts, I talked to one woman that could not even spot her house in an aerial photo because it was completely underwater – and it wasn’t even in an area marked as a floodplain.
“I’m so appreciative that Pyramid Solutions donated to American Red Cross and All Hands Volunteers. These organizations were, and still are, instrumental in assisting Texans. They sent thousands of workers to help residents put their lives back together.
“Despite the tragedy in the disaster, it was inspiring to see people come together.”
Hope for the Warriors and Care Packages to Troops
Another group that pulls on the heartstrings of Pyramidians and myself is our service members.
My Dad grew up during the Great Depression and served our country during World War II in Germany. He survived the Battle of the Bulge and a German prison camp and received a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his service. He then continued on to graduate with honors from the University of Wisconsin, raise six children and 20 grandchildren, and start his own business that he operated into his seventies.
He was truly a remarkable man, and the traits he developed in the military are traits I often see in veterans – dedication, loyalty, passion, a strong work ethic.
My father was passionate about helping wounded veterans and veterans transitioning into civilian life, which is why he enjoyed supporting foundations like the Wounded Warrior Project and Hope for the Warriors.
Hope for the Warriors provides comprehensive support programs for service members, veterans, and military families that focus on transition, health and wellness, peer engagement, and connections to community resources.
We also have several Pyramidians that served in the Air Force, Marines, Navy and Army.
This winter we partnered with Smith and Associates to donate personal items to troops overseas in addition to our financial donation to Hope for the Warriors.
I’m so thankful for the sacrifice that my dad, my colleagues and so many others go through to protect our country.
Monarch Wings – Hope Against Trafficking
This organization is close to the heart of a member of our Marketing Team, Taylor, so I’ll let her explain.
“I started studying human trafficking when I was a sophomore in college. When I learned about this atrocity and how it even happens in Michigan, my heart broke,” Taylor said. “Ever since then, I’ve had a passion for abolishing this form of modern-day slavery.”
Monarch Wings – Hope Against Trafficking is a non-profit based in Pontiac, Michigan. “When it comes to helping survivors of human trafficking, there’s a gap in the system. There are a lot of organizations that help men and women get off the streets, but there are few that stand by them through their entire recovery process. That’s why I like Hope Against Trafficking so much.”
Hope Against Trafficking provides a two-year restorative program for female survivors of sex trafficking. They get to live in a safe house where they receive emotional and spiritual counseling, food, clothing and job skills training free of charge for the entirety of the program.
“Michigan is ranked as number two for the highest number of human trafficking cases in the United States. Our donation to Hope Against Trafficking will help women recover and enter back into society as healthy and happy individuals. That’s so incredible to think about.”
Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeast Michigan
Now this experience was truly exciting. We have a longstanding relationship with Gleaners Community Food Bank where we’ve volunteered at the organization and donated to it several times in the past.
This year, Pyramid Solutions decided to have a Holiday Food Drive.
We set a goal to raise 300 pounds of items (canned food, non-perishable food and toiletry items) in 13 days.
Many Pyramidians generously contributed pushing us to collect 186% of our goal! (Which doesn’t factor in the many remote employees that financially contributed online.)
Our total donation weighed in at 559 pounds!
The food and personal items we contributed from our Holiday Food Drive will go towards the 89,000+ meals that Gleaner’s Community Food Bank distributes each year. These meals provide nourishing food and nutrition to approximately 171,000 children in the area every year.
Big Family of Michigan
Many Pyramidians have kids. I have four boys of my own. One reason I love the holiday season is that all the boys come home. With four boys, you can imagine there are lots of laughs and stories, but for many kids, the winter and holiday season is far from joyful.
Big Family of Michigan serves the needs of kids in Michigan’s foster care system. During the holidays, Big Family of Michigan collects games and toys and winter clothing gear to give to kids. We were happy to donate toys and winter coats to support the many kids in Michigan that don’t get to open a present on Christmas day or don’t have the means to purchase a proper winter coat.
As you can see in these stories, our casual Fridays are more than just a relaxed day at the office – they support the passions of our employees and they improve the communities we live in, and we are honored to be part of that.
About the Author: I am one of the founders of Pyramid Solutions – it’s crazy to think we began this journey 27 years ago. What gets me up every morning is the opportunity to help our clients achieve their business goals and help my colleagues achieve their personal and career goals. Outside of work I enjoy golfing, boating and spending time with family and friends.