Giving of ourselves to help people in need is a way of life at Ultimate. UltiPeeps often say that they have been inspired to become better people from the experience of participating in Ultimate’s many charitable events and by just seeing the frequent emails that our Chief People Officer, Viv Maza, and others send to everyone asking for donations to causes in America and worldwide. Ultimate typically matches the total amount of donations made by our UltiPeeps dollar for dollar. Based on Ultimate’s charitable spending for the first half of 2015, we expect the company’s full-year 2015 contributions to be approximately $1.6 million. If we add that amount to the estimated $3 million Ultimate donates by giving all employees 2 paid days to work for charities of their choice, Ultimate's total annual spending on charitable giving is ~$4.6 million.
UltiService Days: Estimated Value of $3 Million
Everyone at Ultimate has two full workdays that they can contribute to a charity of their choice. Often our UltiPeeps decide to help a charity as a group, but they have the flexibility to choose a charity that is a personal favorite and participate as an individual. This option is especially convenient for people who work remotely and may want to donate time locally. When our people request an UltiService Day, they are sent Ulti Service T-shirts to wear. If all of our people choose to participate in 2015, that roughly equates to $3 million in donated hours.
The Ultimate Makeover: Helping Adults with Disabilities
Ultimate renovated several adult learning spaces for ARC Broward, a nationally accredited, not-for-profit organization providing services to children and adults with various disabilities. Our people completely remodeled several of ARC Broward’s Achievement and Rehabilitation Centers, including its Center for Financial Stability, School of Hire, Culinary Classroom, and Herb Garden. We partnered with our vendors to donate a portion of the new furniture, materials, and tools required for redecorating, and Ultimate donated the balance. UltiPeeps gave of their time generously to paint walls and ceilings, replace floor coverings, redesign spaces, put furniture together, and improve landscaping and the herb garden by weeding and planting.
Spending Fun Time with Disabled Adults
Our Marketing team has an ongoing relationship with disabled adults in Broward County, Florida. They spend quality time talking, enjoying excursions, and celebrating with them. One excursion was a trip to the bowling alley.
Rebuilding Together: Seven Houses
Through the organization Rebuilding Together, our UltiPeeps worked in three areas of the United States alongside homeowners to repair their houses, paint exteriors, and enhance landscaping.
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A 7-Year Tradition: Habitat for Humanity
Ultimate sends a large team to build homes for Habitat for Humanity annually. Our Development team started this tradition in 2009, and other departments have since joined in. Wearing Ultimate shirts and hats, UltiPeeps work shoulder-to-shoulder in the heat, laughing and teasing one another the whole time.
STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics): Expanding our Commitment to Robots
Ultimate has been continuing its commitment to STEM, and in particular to programs that are designed to interest America’s youth in developing skills for our future world through robot building. Ultimate has donated robots to elementary, middle, and high schools in South Florida, sponsored a competition for best robotic concepts for solving environmental issues, and sent multiple teams of UltiPeep engineers to various local programs that focus on robotics technology and engineering. Our engineers ordinarily volunteer for one- or two-day workshops, but they have also donated time to a 10-week class. At the end of the 10-week program, the students showcase their robots at Miami Mini Maker Faire. Over those 10 weeks, the students become more comfortable with their mentors and ask questions that they normally wouldn’t ask in front of a room with many other young people. At a recent Miami Mini Maker Faire, the students of our UltiPeep engineers gained so much confidence that they were able to teach an introductory robotics class to elementary school children as well as demonstrate the robots they had created.
Clothing and Necessities: Aiding the Homeless
UltiPeeps often lead and participate in events to help the homeless in America. For Operation Beat the Heat in Atlanta in June 2015, for example, our Services people donated hot-weather clothing items, like shorts and T-shirts, as well as shoes, windbreakers, backpacks, bedrolls, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, and money for buying other similar items and gift cards for fast-food restaurants like Subway and McDonald’s. In the fall of 2014, for Operation Keep Warm in Atlanta, they collected and handed out coats, blankets, and other items to help the homeless face the cold months more comfortably. Also in the fall of 2014, our UltiPeeps in South Florida bought and assembled new beds and acquired sheets and other hygiene products for the homeless at ARC Broward.
HOPE Outreach's Canstruction: Donating to Local Food Pantries
A small team of UltiPeeps decided to participate in HOPE Outreach’s event to collect cans of food for people in Broward County, Florida, who are experiencing a life crisis. UltiPeeps donated 6,000 canned food items by building a replica of Ultimate’s logo out of food cans.
STOP Hunger Now: Helping to Feed 60,000 People
In April of 2015, our Marketing team donated the food and time to assemble 10,000 meal packages for Stop Hunger Now. With each meal package capable of feeding six people, this represents meals for 60,000 people─or 10,000 people enjoying 6 meals each.
Wounded Warrior Project
In August of 2015, we are holding an auction of Apple and Dell computers, and all the proceeds will go to the Wounded Warrior Project. It was last year when the people on our Knowledge Services team came up with the idea to support the Wounded Warrior Project, and then involved everyone at Ultimate. With the help of our Chief People Officer communicating the plan, our Knowledge Services team spearheaded the effort for UltiPeeps to donate WalMart, Visa, or Mastercard gift cards in small increments, like $20 or $25, for wounded warriors and to write letters thanking them for their service to our country. They set up signs and collection stations in all our buildings. Again, on Memorial Day 2014, our Chief People Officer requested that our people donate to Wound Warriors by having $5 or more deducted from their paychecks. The Memorial Day contributions alone amounted to $37,212.
Contributing to a Charity in the City of a Team Meeting: Shoes for Needy Children
Our Knowledge Services team has made a tradition of working with a charity in the city where they hold their annual all-team meeting. When they had a July meeting in Miami, Florida, the team selected the Miami Rescue Mission’s program, Christmas in July, and focused on shoes for needy children. Since the month before school starts is a difficult time financially for many low-income parents, our UltiPeeps bought, collected, and distributed thousands of pairs of shoes for children of all ages, from under 12 months to 17 years old.
We feel so fortunate for our circumstances in life (great company, great job, great opportunities) that we asked our team’s senior director, Linda Larrivee, to allow us to ‘Pay It Forward’ each year. Believe it or not, even with all the fun things we do at our meetings and all the great places we see, great food we eat, and great training we receive—and the great time of reuniting with our UltiFamily—I think I can speak for everyone when I say our favorite part of every meeting is our charity time.
Helping People with Mental Illness Reclaim Their Lives
Henderson Behavioral Health (HBH) provides healthcare, housing, and hope for more than 30,000 people of all ages with behavioral health conditions in Florida each year. An important part of helping to acclimate these folks to our technology-driven society is teaching them basic computer skills. Ultimate supported HBH in this objective by sending a team of engineers to re-image 70 new PCs and then add encryption software to each of them.
Dunk Tanks and Pie Tosses to Raise Dollars
At our various Services meetings, we have a tradition of pie tosses, dunk tanks, and other carnival-type games to collect money for charities. UltiPeeps pay for the opportunity to dunk managers and directors, and enjoy donating the proceeds to charity.
Donating to Charities Selected by Employees
Ultimate routinely supports employees who are active in particular charities. An example is the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Weston that benefits prostate cancer. One employee, Ross Sabath, a cancer survivor, has served as the event chairperson and is active in organizing this event every year. One year Ross honored an UltiPeep co-worker who died from cancer by wearing his tennis shoes. Ultimate contributed $32,517 to the 2014 event, and has contributed nearly $150,000 over the last several years to support Ross and the American Cancer Society.
When Karen Baran was being commended for going “above and beyond” in her job responsibilities, she asked her boss for a favor instead of a standard award. Karen asked for help with a personal project she was spearheading: feeding nutritional meals to high school football players from low-income families prior to games, so that no player runs out on the field expected to perform on an empty stomach. In past years, players were totally on their own to quickly feed themselves after school before reporting for their games. Many players would buy fast food or convenience store snacks, some would hit the school vending machines with spare change, and some would just go hungry. Thanks to Karen, Ultimate sponsored hot, nutritional meals for all football players before the games.
Cycling for Charity
Some UltiPeeps have created a team that routinely rides for multiple sclerosis and other charities, and Ultimate has bought their uniforms and contributed to the charities of their choice for a number of years.
Running for Charity
At headquarters, a large group of UltiPeeps gather to run or walk at the Corporate Run that supports a number of charities. We understand that Ultimate had the highest attendance of any company at a recent Corporate Run in Fort Lauderdale.
Working in Food Banks
Ultimate has an ongoing commitment to feeding the hungry in America and routinely supports food banks as one pathway to ending hunger. In South Florida, Ultimate has joined forces with United Way and other community partners to assemble 60,000 meals to feed underserved individuals and families. Our people in Atlanta and elsewhere also volunteer at food banks to organize and distribute food for the needy.
For many years, Ultimate has been involved in an annual Angel Tree program. Our employees purchase holiday gifts and clothes for underprivileged children, sponsoring approximately 400 children annually. This event has become a tradition at Ultimate, and our people love looking at all the gifts pile up in the atrium during the holiday season. Before we send the gifts off to the children, we have a lunch and a celebration send-off for our Santa elves who escort the presents to the children’s facility.
Other Holiday Gift Giving
In addition to UltiPeeps giving personalized, requested clothing, toys, and other gifts to individual children via our Angel Tree program, Ultimate sponsors families in need for the holidays. In 2014, we sponsored 14 families, providing them gift cards for buying food of their choice for holiday dinners and gifts for family members. We also had a Christmas party for disabled children where Santa spent time with each of them one-on-one and we helped the children decorate cookies and make ornaments for the Christmas tree.
Environmental Responsibility: Green Certification
The Institute for Green Business Certification, Inc. (IGBC) certified Ultimate as a “green business” after a detailed audit of its business operations in 10 major categories: waste reduction, recycling, reduction in office material usage, purchasing, energy saving, water conservation, pollution prevention, reduction in chemical usage, proper handling of pollutants, and reduced emissions. Ultimate’s green initiatives include business processes, workforce programs, and facility-related activities such as switching to IT equipment that meets Energy Star standards, deploying a stringent recycling program, rolling out commuter programs to its employees, moving to green paper products, and ensuring an environmentally responsible headquarters facility by installing water reducers, tinting windows to conserve energy, and replacing all incandescent lighting.
Emails Requesting UltiPeeps Support Others In Need
Recently the state of Oklahoma was twice hit with massive destruction from tornadoes. Our Chief People Officer Vivian sent emails requesting our employees make donations to help those impacted and saying Ultimate would match the employee total. This request followed on the heels of an email for donations for victims of the Boston bombing.
For those affected by the tragedy in Boston, our employees contributed $66,200 and with Ultimate’s match, we sent a total of $132,400 to the victims. For the people in Oklahoma, our employees contributed $62,498 for the victims of the tornadoes, and with Ultimate’s match, we sent a check to the American Red Cross for $125,000.
These types of emails are so frequent and common that we cannot list all examples, but it is important to note that often these requests are for support of UltiPeeps or their families who are facing a particular crisis and for international disaster situations as well.