Who: Tiffany Mensah, benefits and payroll specialist.
Company: Creative Computing Solutions.
Charitable giving highlights: The company has donated $100,000 to local nonprofits and volunteered more than 1,000 hours of community service through more than 50 activities since 2009.
Tell me about the company’s philanthropy.
When I joined in April 2008, I saw that the company was doing really well and wondered how else to expand good customer service. We’re out in the community where we work, but what about where we live? That’s how Community Involvement Programs (CIPs) began.
What are some of the activities?
We’ve worked at the Capital Area Food Bank packing and sorting food, and at the Manna Food Center. But when I first started the CIPs program, we did an ice cream social at the Armed Forces Retirement Home. Since that day, we’ve gone back and done tons of events.
How do you determine the activities you do?
Employees come to me with ideas.
How do you choose the nonprofits?
I typically use the Catalogue for Philanthropy.
How do you garner employee buy-in?
When I sent out an e-mail introducing the program and I showed how the owners were involved, people were very interested. My enthusiasm couldn’t be hidden. Every time I would talk to someone, I was telling them about an event. I also created a logo for CIPs to have some professional backing so it’s not just Tiffany’s idea.
Running this program, what have you learned along the way?
You have to pick and choose the events and organizations you work with very carefully. There was one women’s shelter that I was glad I scoped out prior to selecting it. There had just been a fight in the parking lot. It was a secure facility but not the kind of facility I would want to invite employees and their children. Also I learned that you have to do activities that really interest everyone.
—Interview with Vanessa Small