Two school-age children, hand-in-hand, head down the sidewalk on the first day of school, their backpacks filled with notebooks, pencils and pointy new crayons. The two first graders, like many elementary students at Countryside Village in Columbia, Tennessee, begin the school year with a backpack full of supplies provided by the community’s Annual Backpack Giveaway. The event is just one of the many UMH Properties, Inc. participates in throughout its 98 locations across the United States.
Volunteering is an integral part of a company’s culture. Like many organizations, UMH has found their employees feel good knowing the company they work for supports its communities by more than just providing an affordable housing option. Employees feel invested in a company that understands corporate and community responsibility, tying companies to the people they serve on a more personal level. Volunteering is a way for employees to outwardly express a company’s core values, making them more engaged and even more productive.
However, volunteering doesn’t just look good on paper. Sure, many companies are proud of the long lists of charities they sponsor. For example, Microsoft cited it generated about $1 billion for 31,000 nonprofits and community organizations globally from 1983 to 2012. Universal Studios in Hollywood sponsors philanthropic events at its theme parks, with a special emphasis on giving respite to terminally ill children. Their mission is to “impact our community by cultivating a positive change.” Their list of partners and beneficiaries is extensive!
But even if your company can’t donate billions, volunteering and donating your time on a manageable level still has incredible benefits. “Helping out is a double whammy: You help others and benefit yourself in the process,” says Laura Schwecherl in “Why Volunteering is Good for Your Health.” It makes you healthier, adds years to your life, and has a “self-affirming effect,” according to Alex Korb, a Ph.D. and neuroscientist.
So what’s next? Finding a volunteer organization that aligns with your company values is important for a multitude of reasons. Employees given an opportunity to lend their time and skills to a volunteer organization are more likely to be satisfied with their career. Teamwork among employees is likely to be increased and companies can make a real, positive difference in their community. Volunteering can also help companies increase brand awareness, trust and loyalty among consumers.
Many companies work together to find charities that fit with their own mission statements or work with organizations they have personal ties to. A good example of this is the way UMH sponsors and participates in several outstanding charities both within UMH communities and on a national level. They have chosen organizations to support that their company finds valuable and important.
“We support our communities and residents and want them to feel a part of something bigger than themselves,” adds UMH President and CEO Samuel A. Landy. Every UMH community offers residents as well as employees an opportunity to give back and sponsors events such as resident appreciation days, summer barbecues, Easter egg hunts and open houses. They host Fire Department, EMS and Police Department appreciation luncheons, yard of the month contests and much more.
UMH also supports local chamber of commerce organizations in the cities where UMH communities are located. By supporting the chamber of commerce, UMH promotes community growth as well as keep on top of any local issues that arise. Supporting their residents is a top priority which aligns neatly with volunteering on a municipal level.
In New Jersey, home of the UMH Properties, Inc. corporate offices, Open Space Pace gets enthusiastic participation from employees. The event, held at Freehold Raceway, works to publicize the importance of preservation and protection of open space in New Jersey. (Insert picture of Sam Landy at Open Space Pace here.) UMH also sponsors Boy Scouts of Monmouth County, including sponsorship of the 43rd Joshua Huddy Distinguished Citizen Award Dinner last November, providing support for community youth through this longstanding organization.
UMH has been a sponsor of a non-profit organization called Special Strides, a therapeutic horseback riding center which provides hippotherapy (physical and occupational therapy), adaptive riding and therapeutic riding to individuals with special needs.
“Having UMH Properties as a major sponsor proves their generosity goes above and beyond in helping to make a difference. UMH supports our mission and allows us to continue to service the community at large, improving lives…one stride at a time,” says Karen Goldberg, Director of Marketing for Special Strides.
Sponsoring community events and charities can be a great teambuilding experience, and UMH employees, like many businesses and organizations across the country, take pride in knowing they’re participating in something bigger than themselves. If you’re looking for a good match that aligns with your own company websites, allforgood.org, volunteermatch.org or unitedway.org can help your business find local volunteer opportunities.
About UMH Properties, Inc. UMH offers 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom single-family homes with backyards at rents or mortgage payments equivalent to renting a one bedroom apartment. Whether you’re just starting out or downsizing from an empty nest, you’ll find a 24-hour, amenity-rich community that’s just right for you. UMH has been building high-quality, affordable lifestyle communities since 1968. Visit umh.com to find an affordable UMH community near you. Or call 800-504-0670 for more information.