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LSI employee-owners contribute to the monthly Jeans Day fundraisers at LSI in exchange for the opportunity to wear jeans the last Thursday of the month. From left to right: Ray Gottry, EAAC Good Works Committee chair, Ed Turner, Vice President of International and Training Service Programs at LSI, and Good Works Committee members Alex Schreiner and Joe Connors. (Photo by: Keith Q. Hudgens, LSI)

Opportunities to be helpful or supportive not only benefit the recipient but also the giver. For individuals, that benefit often manifests in an increased sense of personal satisfaction, happiness and joy.

When businesses offer this type of support, the intangible, internal element of giving may be less prominent. However, one local company, LSI, has found a way to involve employees in corporate charitable giving that is just as rewarding for the employees as it is for donation recipients.

At LSI, an employee-owned training company based at Cecil Commerce Center, employee-owners are directly involved in choosing some of the 501 (c) (3) organizations the company supports, and they do it in a way that is rewarding for all who choose to contribute.

“At LSI, we observe casual Fridays which allows for a more relaxed dress code each Friday,” said David Edwards, director of Human Resources for LSI. “A few years ago, we implemented an employee-owner driven program that allows participants to make a donation of $5 or more in exchange for a Jeans Day Pass for the last Thursday of the month.”

Anyone with a Jeans Day Pass can choose that additional day to wear jeans each month.

The funds generated from each Jeans Day event benefit a different organization, and the chosen beneficiary is announced on LSI’s internal homepage prior to the sale of passes. The recipient of the July 2018 Jeans Day fundraiser is Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary.

This continues the tradition which began as a quarterly event in 2014. The quarterly event was so robust and popular company-wide, it evolved into a monthly event, often raising hundreds of dollars for deserving, local charities.

The specifics of the Jeans Day program are managed by LSI’s Employee Advisory and Advocacy Committee and all proceeds go directly to the chosen charitable organizations.

Multiple employee-owners approached EAAC Good Works subcommittee chair, Ray Gottry, about adding Catty Shack Ranch to the charities the company supports.

“Recently, on three separate occasions, different co-workers came to me suggesting we support Catty Shack with one of our Jeans Day events,” Gottry said. “That was my introduction to Catty Shack. I researched the organization to verify all requirements established by the committee were met and then took the suggestion to the LSI Board of Directors.

“We look for organizations that benefit the friends and neighbors of our employee-owners so they often are based in Duval, Clay and St. Johns counties. Our most popular charities are those that benefit the military, children and animals.”

Representatives from Catty Shack plan to visit LSI in late August to give a presentation about the organization, its mission and residents, and accept the donation.

“Catty Shack runs entirely on donations and we appreciate everything we receive whether it is monetary, materials or time and effort put in by our volunteers who perform the many daily tasks on-site and keep the rest of the community informed about Catty Shack,” said Kurt Lessenthien, Catty Shack adoption coordinator. “It is always rewarding when people go out of their way to do something to help and we appreciate all the support we receive.”

A little giving can go a long way toward increasing personal satisfaction. At LSI, employees and management work together to find creative ways to achieve this higher level of personal satisfaction through work and giving back to the community. LSI is excited Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary will be one of the local organizations it supports.

Story submitted by Cari Boyce

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