For a group of Johnson Controls employees, last year’s United Way Annual Days of Caring became something more than a way to get out of the office on a gorgeous September day.
While mending fences, cleaning, and painting walls at Neighborhood House of Milwaukee, their encounters with the community center’s children and staff fostered a lasting relationship. As a result, Neighborhood House has seen its individual donor contributions through United Way nearly double this year, largely through the generosity of Johnson Controls employees and the company’s matching funds.
Neighborhood House board member and Johnson Controls Vice President Mark Katz has been a key motivator in getting his fellow employees to connect with Neighborhood House. “Johnson Controls encourages employees to be active in local communities, and it’s been great to introduce the Neighborhood House to many of my colleagues. When they learn what special things happen here, they want to help the organization be successful and often that turns into personal donations. I’m proud to work for a company that does such a wonderful job of supporting employees that give back to the community.” says Katz.
In fact, it’s a relationship Katz has nurtured through the years:
- In 2013 Neighborhood House kids were among 50 local students who kicked off the summer at a special Build-a-Bike event. Wrenches in hand, they adjusted handle bars, put on pedals, and set seats at the right level with a little help from Johnson Controls and volunteers from the Optima Batteries Ultimate Street Car Invitational. It was a day to make new friends, try out new skills, and ultimately take home a new bike.
- In 2012 Sherrie Williams of Johnson Controls passed along a $10,000 check to Neighborhood House, from her design team’s award for Building Efficiency. Both she and team-mate Jason Strom are long-standing volunteers who connected with Neighborhood House through United Way Days of Caring. Sherrie also hosted a group of Neighborhood House kids at Johnson Controls Global Technology Center for a very special hands-on introduction to the touch-screen building control technology that her team helped develop. This was a great opportunity for kids to explore careers in science and technology.
Neighborhood House is grateful to board member Mark Katz and the employees of Johnson Controls for their generosity, enthusiasm and commitment to sustaining this community center – and the children and families it serves – in so many ways.