Owens Corning committed to giving back to communityWritten by Danielle Stanton | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Millions of Chinese children have been left behind by parents who leave their rural communities to work in cities.
These children need help and Owens Corning has stepped in with employee volunteers to build eight kitchens that will feed an estimated 5,500 kids.
Owens Corning is dedicated to giving back to communities through employee volunteerism and financial and product donations, said Don Rettig, president of Owens Corning Foundation.
Don Rettig, president of Owens Corning Foundation
The kitchens in Jiangxi Province, which Rettig recently visited, are just one way the company has been a force for good.
“It was a very powerful trip to spend the day with the kids and see how we are able to make a difference in their lives,” Rettig said.
Owens Corning actively encourages volunteerism in its employees, both within the United States and overseas. Owens Corning has a presence in 27 countries on five continents, employing 15,000 people, Rettig said.
“We are located around the world, as active participants and not just as a building,” Rettig said. “The way we encourage volunteerism is through example.
“We have 1,200 people in the Toledo building,” Rettig continued. “We are very, very active in the community in Toledo from the CEO down the line, from the community board member at the symphony or a local organization like Boys & Girls Club to the Goodwill.”
Rettig said the company is frequently approached by community organizations who want a board member from Owens Corning. Currently, there are Owens Corning employees sitting on 40 different boards at area organizations around Toledo, he said, including the Cherry Street Mission and Valentine Theatre.
“Most volunteers are doing it because they believe it’s the right thing to do,” he said.
One employee volunteer incentive is the Global Volunteer of the Year Award. The award includes winners from three categories: individual, team and retiree. The winners get to direct a $10,000 gift to the charity of their choice.
Applications came in from all over the world, Rettig said, including Europe, China and Canada.
This year the individual winner was an employee in Utah who had been active with an Ecuadorian program that helps schoolkids. The team prize went to a group in India and the winner of the retiree category was a Toledo man who volunteers in an education-based program.
“It’s gratifying to see when those applications come in how dedicated our employees are and it’s great to recognize it,” Rettig said.
It’s difficult to track the number of employees who volunteer, Rettig said, so Owens Corning no longer keeps those statistics. However, the company did track the number of volunteer opportunities for employees. This year, the company set a goal of 75 events in honor of its 75th anniversary, he said.
“We hit that goal,” Rettig said, “and just kept going.”
Another way Owens Corning contributes to the local community is by supporting the Aspire initiative. Aspire was formed earlier this year through the collaborative efforts of local corporations, government, labor, educational and philanthropic organizations.
Aspire focuses on the healthy development and education of children through a data and measurement accountability system that drives better results. Owens Corning has loaned a full-time executive to the project and provided further financial support.
Owens Corning gives away several million dollars each year in cash and products to communities it serves, Rettig said. Donations come from the foundation and other areas such as sponsorships, he said.
The company has partnered with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, HomeAid, Good360 and World Vision to help with product donations. In 2012, Owens Corning donated enough shingles to re-roof more than 283 homes and enough insulation to insulate 1,091 homes for those in need.
“If there’s a homeless shelter out there that needs a new roof and we can donate to that, fantastic,” he said. “We find a way to do philanthropy that makes sense to (our) business. … When you hear what Owens Corning is doing with Habitat for Humanity —that makes a lot of sense.”
Mike McIntyre, executive director of the Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity, said he’s thrilled to be affiliated with Owens Corning. He called Owens Corning a “multifaceted” company that never stops thinking of creative ways to give back to the community.
Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit that builds affordable homes for low-income people, is Owens Corning’s largest partner in the United States. In three years, Owens Corning has donated $1 million in cash and product to Habitat for Humanity, Rettig said.
This year will mark the 10th house Owens Corning will finish in partnership with Habitat for Humanity.
“The key here is when they approach a community partner, they provide financial support, product support. They provide leadership,” McIntyre said. “There’s no partnership we have that can deliver on every front like Owens Corning can. They are the quintessential community partner because they can deliver on so many fronts.”
Owens Corning has built several homes with Habitat for Humanity this year, including homes in California, Minneapolis, Houston, Jacksonville and Atlanta. Rettig just recently returned from the build in Houston where he climbed ladders and hammered away with 20 other employees from its Houston plant.
“There’s a Habitat in every community and in every community that we have a plant, we get the employees involved,” Rettig said.
Tags: Boys & Girls Club to the Goodwill, Canada, Cherry Street Mission, China, Ecuador, Europe, Global Volunteer of the Year Award, Habitat for Humanity, Owens Corning Foundation, Utah, Valentine Theatre