Note from the Chair

Know Your BVN Member

2016 We are off the a great start

BVN Sponsored Truax Apartment Rehab Project

BVN is on LinkedIn

Upcoming Events and Opportunities

Note from the Chair | 2015 Year in Review

By Pam Stampen, Chair, Nordic

BVN Logo PMS659

Thank you for being a part of the Business Volunteer Network (BVN), We’re a group of companies large and small, new and established; those with formal employees volunteer programs and those without. The common thread between our organizations is that we want to learn from each other. We understand the benefits of offering our employees various ways to give back and all organizations are committed to make a difference in our community.

2015 was an exciting year for the Business Volunteer Network – both with doing some great things and also putting in place a foundation that positions BVN for future success. We wrote a new vision, mission and strategic objectives with support of Peter Anderson and our membership.

  • Our vision: Driving, leading and supporting business volunteering in Dane County.
  • Our mission: The Business Volunteer Network provides businesses with education, resources and networks to further their workplace volunteer programs.
  • While BVN has had a solid foundation, our 2015-2016 strategic objectives were all about increasing the impact.
    • Increase awareness and action through educational experiences and opportunities
    • Increase BVN brand recognition and identity
    • Improvement and increase membership recruitment

Increase action
In addition to helping foster company volunteerism, we do smaller service projects each meeting, in 2015 expanded our involvement in signature project for:

  • Days of Caring – Helped with supporting adults preparing to get back into the workforce
  • United Way Holiday Teen Gift Drive – Helped families shop for gifts for their children and held gift drives to collect gifts

Increase BVN brand recognition and identity

  • Continued our quarterly BVN newsletter and committed to extended outreach through social media presence
  • Started the process of redesigning the BVN Logo to better align with our new vision/mission
  • Surveyed membership regarding where to focus our social media which will lead to the creation of a Business Volunteer Network Facebook Page

Improvement/increase membership recruitment

  • Welcomed 4 new organizations in 2015:
    • BlueTree Network
    • Reynold Transfer & Storage
    • Unity Health Insurance
    • The Rock Agency

Dane County has many opportunities for volunteerism. On behalf of the Business Volunteer Network, we would like to thank you for your interest in growing the connection between business and the volunteerism in our community.

Know Your BVN Member | Unity Health Insurance

By Laura Gmeinder, Laura Gmeinder Coaching & Consulting, LLC

unity logo finals

We are excited to introduce you to new member company, Unity Health Insurance, who joined BVN in 2015.

Unity offers a variety of health insurance plans to meet every individual’s or employer’s needs. Unity, an affiliate of UW Health, has been recognized as one of the nation’s highest-rated private health insurance plans.

Unity employees, 340 in total, have consistently participated in activities related to the United Way in Dane County and Sauk Prairie. Employees arrange raffles, organize special events, hold silent auctions and more. Unity’s Employee Campaign raised $28,831 for the 2015 campaign total donation of $47,971 (included a generous corporate gift). As testament to Unity’s engagement, the United Way honored the company in 2015 with their Best Practices Award, a Bronze Award recognizing individual generosity and the Red Feather Award, presented to organizations with the largest increase in employee giving. Very impressive!

“Giving back to the community is one of the most rewarding acts of kindness you can do. It helps others and also makes you appreciate more things in life. It provides an opportunity to meet people, and form a connection with them.” said Debbie Delabarre, Senior Human Resources Generalist and BVN representative

A number of volunteer activities sponsored and encouraged by Unity management impact the stated goals of United Way’s Agenda for Change. Their direct support of programs at the YWCA and Madison Metropolitan School District address disparities in education and employment through the AVID/TOPS High School Mentorship program. The emphasis these programs have on persons of color will help them to succeed academically and find gainful employment. Providing vocational and social guidance to others is also an important goal. Employees are encouraged to participate with the leadership program of the YWCA’s Women Lead. Unity executives sit on many nonprofit boards including the American Heart Association and the Boys & Girls Club.

Staff engages in volunteer activities year-round especially during the Christmas season. They deliver mobile meals, participate in group activities at a local assisted living facility, volunteer at the Vilas Zoo, help out at food pantries and engage in mock interviews with clients of the YWCA. During the 2015 Christmas season, staff organized volunteer activities that directly benefited the Sauk Area Toy Drive, the Empty Stocking Club Toy Drive and the Salvation Army.

Staff is also very much involved in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk. Since 2003, Unity employees have raised a total of $74,617.48 specifically for the American Cancer Society.

“I enjoy seeing how a fundraiser creates excitement and success for our United Way goals. Employees value the creativeness of our planned activities and this often leads to other ideas along with participation for future fundraising events. To see how successful our efforts have become is truly rewarding. We try to tie in events with holidays and company activities during the year. It’s a nice tangible reminder that United Way also provides services to so many during their calendar year.” shared Carole Brown, Customer Service Supervisor.

Corporate citizenship is very important to Unity. To emphasize that, they provide employees with up to eight hours of compensated community service hours for volunteer activities that occur during regular work hours. In 2015 Unity compensated employees for 221 hours of volunteer time and are employees to post photos of their volunteerism on the Unity’s Volunteer Opportunities page. The page posts current opportunities via the website.

“For me, trying to help others is just another part of everyday life. I’ve been in the position where I needed help from others and vowed that once I’m in a position to help others in need I would. Even though I’m not able to make as many financial contributions to worthy causes as I would like to, I am able to give my time. And honestly I’ve realized that offering my time is much more valuable than any amount of money I could offer. (Maybe not any amount.) I am very appreciative of the time I’m allowed to volunteer by my employer as it gives me the chance to help others without neglecting my family or other obligations. I find volunteering very rewarding and thank Unity for the opportunity to volunteer through work.” stated Felix Giboney, Project Specialist.

Unity joined BVN because our group sounded very interesting, with a focus not only on meeting others within the business community, but reaching out to help others in making a difference. Thank you for joining BVN! We are delighted to have you as a member.

2016 Officers & Executive Committee

  • Chair – Pamela Stampen, Nordic
  • Vice Chair – Mollie Stolbov, Madison College
  • Secretary – Amy Thole, John Deere Financial
  • Treasurer – Sheila Kuchenbecker, Deloitte Consulting LLP
  • Immediate Past Chair – Matthew Schneider, Herzing University
  • Education Committee Chair – Jane Wichman, CUNA Mutual Group
  • Membership/Marketing Co-Chair:
    • Laura Gmeinder, Coaching & Consulting, LLC
    • Char Lodl, Springs Window Fashions
  • Special Projects Chair – Kristi Looze, Great Lakes Higher Education
  • United Way Community Engagement Senior Director – Kathy Martinson
  • At Large Members:
    • Roger Boissonnas, GeoDesigns/Gannett Fleming
    • Jim Jenson, Madison Gas & Electric
    • Bridget Ripp, M3
    • Tom Ward, Unity Health Insurance

Help 27 homeless families have a home! Be a part of the BVN Sponsored Truax Apartment Rehab Project

by Kathy Martinson, United Way of Dane County

There’s still time to sign-up to be part of this amazing effort to rehab 27 currently vacant apartments to provide housing for 27 families who are currently homeless!

Background: These apartments are located across from Madison College near the intersection of Anderson and Wright Streets. These are City of Madison CDA housing. The people who had been living there have moved into new housing in the same area. Meridian Group Inc. will be managing them. Families who will be moving in are working with case managers through our Housing First initiative at The Road Home, Salvation Army and YWCA… there will be case managers on-site to continue to work with the families.

Overall the apartments are in decent shape…Meridian will be taking care of things like new appliances where needed, light fixtures, etc……but the units need a lot of elbow grease cleaning and painting…and that’s where BVN comes in! BVN will be sponsoring the rehab (i.e. cleaning and painting) of these apartments. We will start the project with 8 three-bedroom apartments on Saturday February 27th and another 4 three-bedroom units on Saturday March 19th. We will also be holding Donation Drives to stock each apartment with basic items for the bathrooms, kitchen and cleaning.

Sign-up HERE for volunteer team(s) and/or Donation Drive(s). Teams of 12 are needed for a.m. and aft shifts…you can sign up for one or more a.m. shifts and/or aft shifts….you do not need to have 12 volunteers to sign-up….we will pair teams from more than one company as needed. Although BVN is the sponsor, we welcome teams from other organizations so please spread the word to other companies, associations, clubs, faith groups, etc, etc with which you are affiliated…the more the merrier! We need 192 volunteers on Feb 27th and 96 on March 19th.

We will work on the remaining apartments over the following couple of months….so if you can’t participate this time, there will be other opportunities to do so.

BVN is on LinkedIn

By Laura Gmeinder, Laura Gmeinder Coaching & Consulting, LLC

Did you know BVN is on LinkedIn? Please join us there if you haven’t already.

LinkedIn is a great way for us to build our BVN community between meetings. Here are three ways you can participate and grow our (private) LinkedIn page:

  1. Share an article about volunteerism.
  2. Highlight your company’s volunteer project.
  3. Ask a question as you grow your volunteer program for your company.

These are just a few ideas; you are encouraged to share anything you would be interested in.

Upcoming Events and Opportunities

April 26 – 7:30-9:15am, BVN Membership Meeting, NESCO at Warner Park Community Recreation Center, 1625 Northport Dr.

  • Senior and people with disabilities are able to stay in their homes
    • United Way
    • Home Heath United
    • North-Eastside Senior Coalition (NESCO)
    • Independent Living

June 14 – 5:00-6:30pm BVN Community Conversation, Madison Gas & Electric, 6230 Railroad St.

  • Days of Caring/Signature Project
  • HIRE

Aug 9 – 7:30-9:15am, BVN Membership Meeting, Madison College – Truax Campus, 1701 Wright St.

  • Academic Success – Focus on middle school, children’s mental health, food security

Oct 18 – 5:00-6:30pm BVN Community Conversation, Nordic, 740 Regent St.

  • Decreasing family homelessness

Dec 13 – 7:30-9:15am, BVN Membership Meeting, AAA Wisconsin, 8401 Excelsior Dr.

  • Tentative: Early childhood development

Feb 27, 2017 – 7:30-9:15am BVN Annual Membership Meeting, United Way of Dane County