Q4 Charitable Initiative

Spreading Joy this Holiday Season

 

‘Giving is not just about making a donation.  It is about making a difference.’

~ Kathy Calvin, President & CEO of the United Nations Foundation

 

Each quarter, PMG Employees make it our purpose to do our part in this crazy world we live in and do something good for someone in need.  Each quarter feels a little different to everyone, depending on where you’ve been and what you’ve seen in your life.

Our Year in Review

In Q1 this year, a team of 12 of us threw on our most ridiculous onesie pajama’s and jumped into a frozen lake to support Special Olympics of Minnesota.  My interest in Special Olympics stems back to my early childhood, when my best friends’ brother, Jeffie, was a participant.  In high school, I volunteered at a Special Olympics camp held at Iowa State University, and helped Olympians practice their desired sports, cheered them on, and just let them be them for a few days – no judgement, no second glances, no questions!

For Q2, we partnered with a local mom who created a non-profit (Sweet Dreams for Kids) after her youngest daughter was born with cancer and spent the next several years in and out of hospitals.  We purchased pajamas and donated them to kids in hospitals, giving them an opportunity to feel a little bit more like a normal kid during a time of uncertainty, fear, discomfort, and what I can only imagine, unbelievable hopefulness.  As a mother myself, my gratitude for my kids’ health cannot be put into words.  I’m thankful every single day for their health, their comfort, and the incredible hope that they will never have to experience such uncertainty and fear.

Recently, Q3 nicely coincided with the start of the school year. We joined forces with Kids in Need Minnesota to not only stock them up with all the school supplies Minnesota children should need, but 18 of us also donated two hours of our time to pack 1,231 backpacks for those same children.  Remembering back to my early school years, my parents lived paycheck to paycheck. I remember not having the best of school supplies (often handed down from one of my older sisters).  It might sound silly, but the difference between brand-named crayons and generic crayons really did make a difference to a child.  I remember that feeling of dread and embarrassment so vividly and I vowed to never allow my kids to have that same unnecessary shame, no matter how immaterial that sounds.

FamilyWise

To close out the calendar year, we are teaming up with an organization called FamilyWise, whose mission is ‘strengthening families by promoting the safety, stability, and well-being of children.’  Through their Adopt-A-Family program, we have adopted three families this holiday season:

  • We have an 18-year-old woman who just went back to school this fall and is expecting a child in early 2020. She currently lives with her mother and four younger siblings.
  • Then, we have twin sisters in their mid-20’s who have five children between them and are looking forward to purchasing a home in 2020.
  • Finally, we have a young mother of four who just moved to Minnesota to be closer to family. They will be experiencing their first Minnesota winter (starting this week if the weather man has it right).

For each of these families, I choked up going through their wish lists.  While there is the sporadic request for a board game, slime making kit, or some sort of electronic device, the majority of their requests are basic human necessities: socks, personal hygiene supplies, warm winter mittens, hats, and boots.

I’m honored to share, that through an anonymous donation, we will easily be able to purchase everything on their wish lists and more.  Knowing that 19 women, boys, and girls will be smiling from ear to ear on Christmas morning is a gift in and of itself, and knowing that I have some little part in that is so incredibly fulfilling.

Working for a company whose mission is literally to help people on a daily basis, these special little side projects are so rewarding.  I hope you’ll take a moment this holiday season to think about someone less fortunate than you, and without putting thought into how they got to where they are or passing judgement on their situation, just consider doing something good, something that will make a difference.

Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and happy holiday season!

 

If you’re interested in learning more about FamilyWise, check out their website at www.familywiseservices.org

 

About the Author

Beth Bangtson, HR Manager

KINMN – PMG Charitable Event

On August 1, PMG partnered with a non-profit organization called Kids in Need Minnesota (KINMN) to help support their annual 24 Hours to Empower event.  KINMN’s mission is to ensure that every child is prepared to learn and succeed in the classroom by providing free school supplies to students most in need. This was PMG’s second year donating time and supplies to the cause.

To learn more about PMG’s first year supporting KINMN’s cause, click here.

The Competition

To prepare for the 24 Hours to Empower event, PMG divided its corporate employees into three teams: Team Rock, Team Paper, & Team Scissors.  We had two weeks to see which team could collect the most backpacks, notebooks, highlighters, glue sticks, crayons, and pencils – each item having a specific points value attributed to it. As a competitive group of people, we quickly accepted the challenge and got to work.

Donations for KINMN

Through social media fundraising, requests for donations from vendors, and personal donations, we were able to collect:

  • 81 boxes of 24 count Crayola crayons
  • 387 Elmer’s glue sticks
  • 31 bottles of Elmer’s glue
  • 894 #2 pencils
  • 1,249 highlighters
  • 158 notebooks
  • 416 backpacks
  • $2,846.62 in cash

For a total fundraising effort of $11,549.54

Final Team Scores

  • 31,870 points – Team Rock
  • 135,022 points – Team Paper
  • 55,625 points – Team Scissors

TEAM PAPER FOR THE WIN!

The Real Winners

The real winners are the 7,309 students who will have the school supplies they need to completely rock this school year following the 24 Hours to Empower event!  Kudos to the KINMN organization for hosting a well-organized event and a HUGE THANKS to our PMG team for stepping in and helping out where it’s needed the most.

For more information about KINMN, visit their website at https://www.kidsinneedmn.org/.

 

About the Author

Beth Bangtson, Human Resources Manager

Sweet Dreams for Kids Charitable Initiative

For our 2nd Quarter Charitable Initiative, PMG partnered with a non-profit located here in the Twin Cities called Sweet Dreams for Kids.  Sweet Dreams for Kids is dedicated to bringing smiles to the faces of hospitalized children across the country by collecting and donating pajamas – taking the ‘ick’ out of sick!

When Dalya was born with cancer 14 years ago, her mother Wendy knew she had to do something, and thus, Sweet Dreams for Kids was born.  Due to the incredible generosity of PMG employers and a couple of anonymous donors, we were able to present Wendy & Dalya with 100 pairs of new pajamas plus $540 to help purchase more pajamas, assist with shipping expenses, and help pay for their storage facility.  What an amazing organization!

If you’d like to learn more about Sweet Dreams for Kids, click here to view their Facebook page.

2019 Polar Plunge

Every year, across snow-country in America, do-gooders and thrill-seekers choose to jump into freezing water to warm hearts. If you’re thinking that sounds crazy, you’re right! It is crazy fun and called the Polar Plunge.

This year, in 21 communities across Minnesota, volunteers from law enforcement agencies, emergency medical services, and fire departments will erect warming tents, inflate giant polar bear balloons, and cut holes in ice thick enough to hold a small city of spectators and volunteers in preparation for their Polar Plunge events to support Special Olympics Minnesota. All that just so more than 11,000 well-intention weirdos can don wigs, tutus, and adult onesies as they jump into a few of our 10,000 lakes in order to raise more than $2 million dollars statewide.

“The plunge is a most gratifying experience. It’s an event for all ages and stages; for those who are looking to stretch their ‘norm’ and do so for a cause. My favorite part of the plunge is walking off the shuttle to a welcoming line of people I’ve never met before, but who are willing to high-five me and encourage me in my efforts for the day. I sense community when I’m at the plunge,” said Kim, PMG TST member.

For the second year in a row, PMG chose to support Special Olympics Minnesota for its Q1 charitable initiative by forming a plunge team and raising funds. The 2.0 version of Team PMG almost doubled its total plunger count (from 7 to 12 PMG-ers) and more than quadrupled its funds raised (from just under $1200 in 2018 to just over $5100 this year). All donations supported the Plunge event held at Prior Lake on February 16, 2019. Money was donated by friends, family, coworkers, partners, and client companies. These efforts led to Team PMG ranking as the top fundraiser among small businesses, top three among corporations of any size, and number seven overall from all donor entities combined for Prior Lake’s Plunge event. PMG is still currently in the top 10 Small Corporation Fundraisers which consists of participants for all 21 plunge events statewide!

“I love the idea of being able to give this gift to children,” said Emily, PMG intern. “As a college student, I would like to give back more, but I do not have a ton of free time or funds to donate. The polar plunge is awesome because this year, I raised $350 just by sharing on Facebook and other networks. I sacrificed maybe an hour of my time for the jump and froze for five minutes… so worth it knowing what that does for the kids.”

To put those numbers in proper perspective, $5000 can help start 10 new Special Olympic delegations across Minnesota, feed 1000 athletes at a state competition, start 20 new respect campaigns in local schools, or fully sponsor 2.5 Minnesota SO athletes for the USA Special Olympics Games.  Those amazing results, and the fun had achieving them, are just a couple of the reasons why it is easy, as an employee, to be proud of PMG.

Justin W., PMG CST member and first time plunger said, “Getting cold for a great cause never hurt anyone. It’s really cool that PMG backed those within the company that plunged and provided so much support for the cause.”

In an ever-changing employment market that is drawing from an ever-shrinking talent pool, it is worth mentioning that millennial and subsequent generations now entering the workforce are almost unanimously cited as claiming that increased opportunities to give back to their communities and build engagement in their workplaces are as important (if not more so) to them than pure compensation and benefits. To put it plainly, younger workers want to work for companies that care.

“I think it’s awesome that PMG is willing to put so much time and resources in to the Plunge,” said Emily. “The Special Olympics of MN is a great cause. In school, we learn a lot about corporate responsibility and PMG is a great example of it. By sponsoring/donating, it shows that PMG cares about so much more than just generating a profit.”

If you’re looking for ways to make your younger workers inclined to feel the same about your company, maybe you should consider doing something crazy next year and take The Plunge!

PMG Volunteers at TCKINRC!

 

As part of our commitment to community involvement, in Q3 PMG directed an internal school supply drive to collect donations for the Twin Cities Kids in Need Resource Center (TCKINRC). Coupled with the school supply drive, PMG’s Executive Team proposed to match up to $2,500 worth of school supplies raised and donate the money to Second Harvest Heartland, an organization that provides meals to communities most in need.

 

Over the course of three weeks, the PMG team managed to raise a total of 278 backpacks filled with supplies and $8,817.80 in cash donations for TCKINRC. Alongside this, PMG donated $2,500 to Second Harvest Heartland.

 

“I was really proud to see what our organization pulled off in the little time we had,” said Paul Kelly, Office Administrator. “The enthusiasm that buzzed around the office in those weeks was so great to see! Learning about TCKINRC and the impact they have directly on our community really made it easy for all of us to jump on board.”

 

To wrap up the initiative, PMG employees delivered the donation to TCKINRC on August 10 and spent the afternoon working in the warehouse and packing nearly 400 backpacks to be given to kids for the 2018 school year.

 

“PMG and its team never cease to amaze me with their commitment to wanting to give back to the community,” said Senior Accountant, Sonya Troje. “The fundraising everyone did to be able to help ensure kids have the necessary supplies they need, in addition to the donation to Second Harvest Heartland, is nothing short of amazing! It was so much fun to volunteer and see what went into the ‘works’ for the Twin Cities Kids in Need Resource Center. Just an overall amazing experience and I feel very fortunate to be part of this amazing company & team!”

 

To learn more about TCKINRC, visit them online at https://www.tckinrc.org/

 

PMG Gives Back

PMG makes it a top priority to give back to the community whenever possible. At least once per quarter, the PMG team picks a foundation that we can support. In July, PMG is raising money and school supplies to donate to Twin Cities Kids in Need Resource Center (TCKINRC).

TCKINRC provides students in need with the essential school supplies needed to promote learning and excellence in the classroom. The Kids in Need Foundation works with schools facing high poverty rates in St. Paul and Minneapolis by providing eligible teachers the opportunity to select supplies at their free store.

Last year alone, the Kids in Need Foundation helped 200,000 teachers and 6.2 million students! In its 23 years of operation, it has distributed more than $900 million in school supplies to kids who would otherwise go without. PMG is proud to support such an amazing organization. If you are also interested in offering support, visit their website to learn more!