By Barrett Baker, Angela Blue, Susan Haas and Ryan Miller
We’ve all been taught that it’s better to give than to receive. Many local businesses are putting that mindset to action, whether through monetary donations, employee volunteering, creative acts of kindness or a combination of all three. Giving back is built into the business plan of these companies, with owners and founders leading teams to join together and make tangible impacts in Coastal Virginia. We’re honored to highlight these businesses in our 2nd Annual Community Impact Awards, and we’re inspired by the ways in which they make a difference.
How were the businesses chosen?
CoVa BIZ held online nominations Aug. 1–30 for businesses to share the philanthropic ways in which they give back. From there, an editorial team determined the top 12 Community Impact winners based on their effect on the community through innovative work programs, employee volunteering and creative business models that promote the social health of the community.
Arcphor helps small businesses and entrepreneurs seeking advice expand and take the next step in Greater Williamsburg, Newport News, Norfolk and Virginia Beach. The company gives back in two primary ways, including community service and by leading entrepreneurial events and activities.
BizConnect has established itself as one of the area's best networking groups while helping grow businesses with its various resources and tools. Aside from helping entrepreneurs excel, BizConnect helps raise funds for nonprofits' memberships within the group.
Through haircare or spa services, Brittany's Beauty Bar in Yorktown helps its clients feel and look beautiful all while the business makes a community impact through its donations to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The beauty bar often hosts creative fundraisers through raffles, events and product donations.
For years, Charles Barker Automotive has been a leading choice for the automotive needs of those who live in Coastal Virginia, and has found a way to give back to the community through its Champions for Kids nonprofit. Through fundraising events held throughout the year, Champions For Kids benefits children who face social and economic challenges.
Cookie Text helps deliver sweet messages to its customers with its baked-to-order goods and spreads kidness by providing sweet treats to educators and mentorship to students desiring to learn more about small businesses and entrepreneurship. The small business engages the community with public speaking events to students, attending career fairs and sponsoring local fundraising races.
Since 1801, the Hampton Roads Chamber has driven the area's workforce, economic and infrastructuve development by advocating small and large businesses that make Hampton Roads a thriving region. The chamber serves as a powerful economic partner and igniter for businesses to succeed with extensive opportunities for growth.
Hampton Roads Transit's mission is to connect Coastal Virginia through its efficient and sustainable transportation services with a vision to drive prosperity in the region. In a new effort to increase ridership, they created a Student Freedom Pass offering the area's youth free rides on public transportation so that they may learn its value in the community.
As the third largest real estate company in the United States, Howard Hanna has stressed the importance of being a major contributor in the community through its company-wide fundraising campaign "Choo Choo Chow Chow," which raises funds for children's free care at hospitals. Additionally, local offices have made numerous contributions to local nonprofits and community organizations.
ShoreBreak has established its reputation as a local's favorite for its food, atmosphere and involvement with recreational and school youth teams and clubs, donations to nonprofits and hosting fundraising events. For the last 14 years, ShoreBreak has hosted "Cash-Ola Nights," where an organization takes over the restaurant for the evening to host a fundraiser.
SOLitude Lake Management creates sustainable solutions with its lake, pond, wetland and fisheries management and puts forth a company-wide effort for community impact with volunteerism, activism and outreach. The company hosts several charitable initiatives throughout the year while creating a company culture that understands the value of giving back.
The dynamic law firm has been recognized by its peers as being a leader in the legal profession and continues its impact by supporting more than 35 local nonprofits with donations, volunteering and in-kind donations. Additionally, many of Vandeventer Black's attorneys actively serve on committees and boards of organizations that serve the community.
Virginia Beach craft brewery and restaurant Wasserhund graciously donates 5 percent of its monthly revenue to its Cause of the Month, raising over $80,000 to date for local groups since it was founded. Their annual Beers, Dogs and Deployment event provides aid to members of the military by raising funds and gathering resources for the care of their pets while they are on deployment.