Our mission statement says it all: to make the world a better place. That doesn’t just apply to empowering our customers to make life-saving and life-changing products. We also strive to make the world a better place through our connection with our community and the efforts of our employees. Motion Solutions may do business internationally, but we are very focused on acting locally.
The last several years has been a period of significant growth for Motion Solutions as a company. It’s not enough for us to prosper, however. As an organization, we only succeed when our customers, employees, and our community succeed, as well. As a result, one of our goals for 2018 was to actively give back and get involved.
Community outreach started with reaching out to our employees. We didn’t want this to be a management-driven effort. We wanted to find out what our staff was passionate about and what mattered most to them. Their response was they wanted us to choose a local organization and they wanted to be personally involved. They didn’t just want to write checks. They wanted to connect with people face-to-face. That led us to Families Forward.
Located in Orange County, California, Families Forward helps families that are among the working homeless. The economy of Orange County is booming, and the population is booming along with it. Unfortunately, those factors, coupled with a tight housing market, have made it difficult for many families to afford homes or even rental housing. They might be working multiple jobs and yet living out of their cars.
Families Forward was launched in 1984 by a group of community members in collaboration with the City of Irvine and the Irvine Company, with the goal of providing affordable housing for homeless and at-risk families. The agency began with only five apartment units and one part-time counselor. Today, it has housing units across Orange County and a food pantry that provides food for nearly 7,000 people each year. It also offers services to prevent homelessness.
Families Forward is a local charity, which is what our employees wanted. It was important to them that the majority of donations go to assisting recipients rather than paying corporate salaries.
Back to School
We kicked off our partnership with Families Forward by participating in their Back to School program. Particularly for disadvantaged families, getting ready for the school year can be difficult. They are responsible for providing not just clothing, but supplies like paper, pencils, and crayons—often for multiple children. The expense can be overwhelming. The Families Forward Back to School program distributes backpacks and school supplies to low-income elementary, middle, and high school students. These supplies will help students start on the same footing as their peers and build their confidence for the coming school year. Our volunteers joined in enthusiastically.
The Back to School program involves gathering donations of school supplies and clothing, then holding events at the organization’s distribution center. Children can choose backpacks full of supplies and their parents can help them find clothing. Volunteers from the Motion Solutions team worked the distribution event. They spent the day organizing materials and running backpacks out to the families. Separately, we orchestrated a school supplies drive at our own facility. Employees formed teams and competed with one another to collect the most supplies. The results of that drive were used to stuff backpacks for the next distribution event.
Our first distribution day was special for all of us. It was really overwhelming to see the looks on the faces of the children when they received their new clothing and backpacks. And it has meant a great deal to our employees as a team. People who normally wouldn’t interact with each other on a typical day—assembly, sales, customer service¾were suddenly working together on a project. It has made all of us feel more connected as colleagues and as a company. It has really taken our corporate culture to the next level.
The Back to School program is the first of many events we plan to support with Families Forward. What makes me most proud is that it’s not just a matter of collecting money from people. Our employees donate their time to this program and we’ve had tremendous participation so far.
It’s really fun to get together for a single purpose—the greater good. We work toward that goal every day as a company. Those aren’t just words to us. They represent a guiding principle for the projects we choose, the team members we hire, and the framework for our entire operation. It really comes down to our mission as an organization, and that’s really to make the world a better place.
About the Author
Debbie Newman is Human Resources manager at Motion Solutions.