Twice as nice: Associates go all out to meet doubled match

Twice as nice: Associates go all out to meet doubled match

Empower associates sort food donations at Empower Field at Mile High

When it comes to giving back to their communities, Empower employees have a strong tradition of giving it their all.

All the time.

So when the company raised the bar by doubling its donation match in April and May, associates were ready to go all in to help those in need during the coronavirus crisis. In fact, over the course of the past two months, the united effort helped raise more than $1.3 million for many different valued organizations (on top of the separate $250,000 Empower pledged to nine proud partners in March).

“The overall response was truly amazing,” said Angie Ruddell, engagement and corporate social responsibility manager. “I knew from the beginning people were going to show up and champion many important causes, because that’s the culture we’ve built at Empower — we always do the right thing.”

During the promotional period, from April 1 to May 31, associates combined to provide a total of 1,398 monetary contributions to nearly 850 of their favorite charitable foundations. Some of the most passionate purposes included hunger, housing and healthcare, as well as both human and animal services.

“That’s what sets us apart — the unique and diverse spirit of each individual,” Ruddell said. “When you have such a wide spectrum of dedication, those dollars can have a huge impact on so many positive fronts.”

In addition to supporting hundreds of local initiatives throughout the Denver, Boston, Milwaukee,

Kansas City and Somerset areas, associates stayed committed to offering financial gifts to many leading nonprofits:

  • Food Bank of the Rockies
  • Harvesters Community Food Network
  • Hunger Task Force
  • American Red Cross
  • Colorado COVID Relief Fund
  • Children’s Diabetes Foundation

According to Food Bank of the Rockies CEO Erin Pulling, the collective amount the pantry received from Empower and its associates will be enough to supply 140,000 meals to families all over the Rocky Mountain region.1

“So many of our neighbors need help right now,” Pulling said.

“Because of organizations like Empower, we will be there to assist them today — and for as long as it takes.”

Dan Bergman was one of several loyal associates who contributed funds to the Food Bank of the Rockies. But with the upcoming bowl-a-thon for Junior Achievement (an annual fundraising event he attends and coordinates) being canceled due to social distancing concerns, he also used the enhanced match to increase his own regular donation to an establishment that inspires students across Colorado.

It wasn’t like scoring a perfect game in person, but it was the perfect alternative given the current landscape.

“Empower associates generally put thousands of hours into their communities every year,” said Bergman, a senior client service manager based out of Denver. “Since most of us can’t do that at the moment, the 2-to-1 match gave everyone a chance to support their primary organizations in a different way.”

With an average of 175 requests submitted per week, associates pitched in all over the map, too.

“As things began to escalate with the pandemic, it became clear that I needed to do more to help — and it was great to see Empower was on the same page,” said Kelly Kogelmann, a senior quality control specialist in operations support services who provided financial aid to four significant nonprofit bodies.

Julie Morrison, a senior manager of data reporting and business analytics, didn’t think twice about stepping up once the 2-to-1 financial match was announced earlier this spring. She typically lends a hand during the holiday season, but the opportunity to amplify her generosity was “pretty unbelievable.”

“We were able to touch on the issues that are important to us as a family,” said Morrison, who is located in Boston. “We’re very fortunate. We’re safe and healthy sitting at home while many folks are out of work.”

Morrison even let her oldest daughter, who attends college in New Hampshire, choose charities “that are near and dear to her heart” where she studies as a way to expand their philanthropic endeavor during the COVID-19 outbreak. As an avid volunteer already, she selected a food bank for the elderly, a daycare center for underprivileged children and a refugee program for pregnant women.

“A life lesson I’ve tried to instill in my kids is that, ‘If you have it, you should share it,’” said Morrison, who also donated money to the Boston Rescue Mission, the Massachusetts COVID Fund and the Brockton Education Foundation. “With everything going on today, it feels good to take action and make a difference.”

All together.

“At Empower, we’re invested in our participants and customers — they’re always at the forefront of everything we do,” Bergman said. “But the extra match also enabled us to lift up and serve our communities.

“We all went above and beyond to make that happen.”

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1 Food Bank of the Rockies,