Garland was recently honored with a Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service for its annual tradition of supporting non-profit organizations through fun, creative and thoughtful fundraising. Garland’s philanthropic initiative called Spirit Week began in 2010 with Garland employees helping raise more than $400,000 for charities in northeast Ohio and across the country over the last nine years. The company was honored at an event Thursday, December 6 along with seven other 2018 Pillar Award honorees.
Garland’s Spirit Week initially began as a weeklong fundraising event, but has since transformed into a several months long initiative that kicks off well before the official date in May. Garland has supported a variety of charities throughout the years, including Make-A-Wish Foundation, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity, Ohio Cancer Research and most recently, the Achievement Centers for Children. In addition to providing Garland employees with a way to give back to the community, Spirit Week has also served as a way for employees to support their fellow partners through cancer diagnoses.
In 2013, Garland supported the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, an organization that funds lung cancer research and advocacy. The organization was providing help, support and comfort to the wife of a California-based Garland sales rep after she was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer at 28 years old. One of Garland’s own board members was also battling the disease.
Three years later, two more Garland family members received cancer diagnoses. Once again, Garland’s employees rallied behind their colleagues not only by offering support personally and professionally, but also by raising money for Ohio Cancer Research, a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding aggressive cancer research.
“Garland’s employees truly have embraced the goal of Spirit Week, which has always been to support non-profit organizations who are doing so much good in our local community and also across the country,” said Chuck Ripepi, Garland’s CFO. “To see the impact we’ve had over the years through our fundraising and volunteerism is what keeps us going year after year. Spirit Week has become part of who we are as an organization.”
Garland’s 2019 Spirit Week charity is Santa’s Hide-A-Way Hollow, a completely volunteer-run organization that brings the spirit of Christmas joy to seriously and terminally ill children and their families all throughout the year.