When it comes to community engagement, NALP is continually looking to find ways to inspire members to get more involved. Our Community Partnership Award—presented to companies that are actively engaged in community outreach—is one of the ways we do that.
Giving Back to the Community: Rooted in Community Service
According to Marty Grunder, president and CEO of the company, community service has always been an integral part of the company’s culture. They’ve always looked to try and give back in a variety of ways.
“Grunder Landscaping Co. is dedicated to improving the lives of those in our community,” he says. “We do that on a daily basis by providing the highest quality landscaping services to our customers. But we also achieve that goal through our community service program which allows us to give back to our community.”
Among many efforts, Grunder supports (either financially or by donation of goods and/or services) organizations such as the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, Artemis Center for Domestic Violence, Upper Valley Career Center, The Victoria Theatre/Schuster Center for the Performing Arts, local schools and athletic teams, and the United Way.
This year they also committed to a disaster cleanup effort, as well as donating time and resources to a local foodbank.
Giving Back to the Community: Disaster Cleanup
In terms of where to direct the company’s community outreach commitments, the exact focus can change from year to year. But this year, with several tornadoes having impacted the region, deciding to focus on assisting with clean-up efforts was a given. Grunder says the destruction was devastating to many communities, but the Harrison Township area in Old North Dayton was one of the hardest hit areas.
“Our entire company took an afternoon and went to three different streets to help with the cleanup of the debris,” Grunder explains. “Our design/sales team, office staff and production teams all assisted and hauled out approximately 250 cubic yards of debris. Many residnets just didn’t understand how we could do that. They asked if we were being paid by the county or the city and were shocked to find out we just wanted to help.”
Giving Back to the Community: Ending Hunger
When the tornadoes struck locally, there was no question that Grunder Landscaping employees wanted to be able to use their skills—and their willingness to help—to get involved, says Grunder. But the company has also long been involved with The Foodbank of Dayton, which relieves hunger in the community through a network of partner agencies by acquiring and distributing food.
Grunder Landcaping Co. donates mowing and LandKeeping™ services to the Foodbank to keep their property looking its best for their clients, employees, and volunteers, says Grunder.
“We feel that having a property that looks inviting and attractive is important in helping to support their goal of ending hunger in the Miami Valley,” he adds. “In addition to these services, instead of a holiday party or event at the end of the year, our team spends an afternoon at The Foodbank sorting and boxing up food that is then distributed to other local food pantries throughout the area.”
Giving Back to the Community: Budgeting for Outreach
Grunder Landscaping Co. typically spends around $30,000 on community service projects. As the company continues to grow, Grunder continually looks for ways to expand those outreach efforts.
“We feel it is crucial to set aside some funds and some labor hours to participate in community projects,” says Grunder. “Having our teams work together on a community project also inspires our employees and builds internal relationships in a meaningful way. One way that other companies can begin a community service program is to start small with a feasible project. Then as you are able, you can build your program from there.”
Grunder adds that finding community service projects that meet multiple goals is also beneficial.
“When we volunteer at the Food Bank each year, it is also a team building exercise,” he explains. “It allows different team members to work together who rarely interact with each other. This helps build internal relationships, while contributing to a local non-profit. It is also a fun event, and team members enjoy participating in it each year. The key is to find something that people enjoy doing that also makes an impact.”