Community Impact Awards: SOLitude Lake Management
By Susan Haas
PO Box 969, Virginia Beach
Number of Employees: 216
With so many challenges facing the world today, SOLitude Lake Management, a sustainable lake, pond, wetland and fisheries management company, has made it a team-wide mission to pave a path toward a better tomorrow through The SOLution, a company-wide program that encourages employee and team volunteerism, activism and community outreach. Since the program’s inception in 2012, more than 7,000 total volunteer hours have been logged, and contributions of $183,000 in donations, goods and in-kind services have been accumulated.
As part of the program, SOLitude encourages staff to volunteer during company hours and provides rewards and gift cards, matched donations to a nonprofit of the employee’s choice and recognition for their efforts as Volunteer of the Quarter and the Heart and SOL award for Volunteer of the Year.
In addition to staff efforts like foodbank backpack programs, grass and tree plantings, river, bay, lake and beach cleanups, fishing tournaments and outdoor kids’ events, SOLitude hosts several charitable initiatives each year:
Love Your Lake helps restore ecological balance to lakes or ponds that play a pivotal role in an organization’s mission. If a nonprofit foundation’s lake or pond is unhealthy and causing limited recreational activities, SOLitude helps restore ecological balance through a free lake makeover.
Through Little Gobblers, SOLitude works with elementary and middle school guidance counselors and principals to offer turkeys or grocery store gift cards to help under-resourced families enjoy a healthy, happy meal on Thanksgiving.
Clients, vendor partners, social media followers and staff are encouraged to be part of The SOLution and help spread HOLiday Cheer to health-stricken children spending their holiday at CHKD, as well as other children’s hospitals throughout the area. For every new SOLitude social media follower in the month of November, the company adds another $10 to their purchase of toys and gifts for young children. Staff, clients and partners also nominate and adopt multiple families in dire emotional and/or financial need due to unforeseen circumstances. Each staff member is encouraged to purchase wish list items, such as toys, games, winter clothing and gift cards to donate and help get these children through a trying time with a few extra smiles.
Marketing and Outreach Coordinator Ann Marie Dori shares that one of the most significant moments through The SOLution was their 2014 Wounded Wear campaign. While establishing their charitable commitment to Camp Grom, a Virginia Beach adventure camp dedicated to enhancing the lives of disabled children and veterans, SOLitude became aware of Jason Redman, a Navy SEAL severely wounded during an Al Qaeda ambush. After overcoming great odds, Redman founded the Combat Wounded Coalition to support injured warriors and raise awareness of their sacrifices. Inspired by Redman’s story, SOLitude deployed a social media campaign to raise money for Wounded Wear, a fundraising arm of Redman’s nonprofit. For every new social media follower SOLitude received in July 2014, $10 was allocated to the total donation. That year, SOLitude donated $8,290 to Wounded Wear and has continued to support the Combat Wounded Coalition through additional campaigns, sponsorships and volunteer outings. “That campaign helped set the tone for the future of The SOLution, illustrating we are very capable of coming together as a company and community for a common cause,” Dori says.
To our company, community impact looks like healthy communities and a healthy environment. By building bridges in our local communities and across the country through volunteerism, activism, restoration projects, clean-ups, fundraisers, food drives and the donation of our time, we hope to increase our sustainability footprint and make our mark as a company that sincerely cares about the world we live in.