When the employees of commercial real estate investment firm Holualoa Companies asked if there was a way they could provide aid to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, the management team took it upon themselves to think of a unique way to help out.
How about letting the employees make the decisions?
Each of the company’s 30 employees were each allocated $2,000 to personally donate to the charity of their choice. The only requirement: make sure the money goes to a group providing coronavirus-related aid.
“It’s interesting to have agency in the decision making,” said Holualoa Investment Analyst Kevin Gebert. “It asks you to get a little more involved. A lot of companies give to a lot of different causes...but this made me look into a couple of charities that I may want to give to.”
With his money, Gebery donated to Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse, which operates an emergency shelter for survivors, a 24/7 bilingual crisis helpline, prevention and intervention services, support groups and several education-based programs aimed at ending domestic abuse.
As previously reported by Tucson Local Media, the pandemic and the statewide stay-home order puts individuals facing domestic violence at greater risk.
“A quieter impact of the shelter-in-place order is that people with abusive partners are further isolated and confined with those abusers, and I think Emerge offers a lot of resources and crisis management that’s needed now,” Gebert said.
Senior financial analyst Tara Scherrer said she feels like everyone at the company is concerned about the community’s well being—and is glad Holualoa is able to provide aid.
She made her donation to Casas Church and christian school, where her kids go to school. The church is partnering with local charities to provide food and aid.
As for Lani Baker, Holualoa’s Chief Financial Officer, her $2,000 was split between Tu Nidito and the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. The former specializes in providing emotional support to those impacted by the diagnosis of a serious medical condition or death, while the latter provides aid and resources to five different counties in Southern Arizona: Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, Pima, and Santa Cruz, totaling 23,000 square miles and over 1.2 million people.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in Southern Arizona, the food bank is now producing approximately 8,000 meals a week.
“We understand that we’re all going to have to work together as a community in order to best get through this challenging time,” Baker said, in a statement. “We are confident that by continuing to support our communities and to be creative and understanding of the current conditions, we will emerge from the other side of this crisis stronger.”
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