“Jessica and I were finishing up some Christmas shopping and this guy pulled out a credit card and paid for our purchase. His name is Jeff and his company Northwoods lets them do these random acts of kindness. They just became our Christmas miracle.”
This is the story of one family the Northwoods Foundation helped this past Christmas as part of its “Layaway Payoff”—an annual program meant to spread Christmas cheer to local families.
However, the “random” act of kindness shared in this story really wasn’t so random at all. It’s one of many ways the Northwoods Foundation provides a platform for Northwoods employees to give back and help fulfill a big mission: work together to leave a lasting and meaningful impact on the world. It exemplifies what the Northwoods Foundation is all about—helping people and communities in need.
This year marks the Foundation’s 10th anniversary, and we’re celebrating with a look back at some notable contributions and stories from the last 10 years.
Locally Making an Impact
The Northwoods Foundation stems from the personal philanthropy of Michael George and Gary Heinze, owners of Northwoods.
Mike and Gary have a long history of giving back to their community and through Northwoods, they were able to help many in need. As the company began to grow, they realized that a more formal means of giving was necessary and the Northwoods Foundation was created.
Here are just a few of the organizations the Foundation has supported over the past 10 years:
|My Very Own Blanket||Welcome Warehouse|
|The Salvation Army of Central Ohio||Local Matters|
|Mid-Ohio Foodbank||Chapel Hill House|
|Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio||Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption|
|Habitat for Humanity|
Reaching Families in Need
The Northwoods Foundation often assists families going through a difficult time.
Sometimes, that’s helping them pay for unexpected expenses, like this touching memory shared by Shannon Hoffman in her reflection as Northwoods Foundation Board Chairperson:
"We had an opportunity to assist a family whose home was destroyed by a fire. As I discussed the family's immediate needs with the mother, I was brought to tears knowing that they would have nowhere to turn if it wasn't for the Northwoods Foundation. We were able to help this family and provide relief as they transitioned to a new home."
Other times, the Foundation helps communities recover from natural disasters and other devastating hardships. For example, this year when Texas, Florida, and many other places were hit hard with hurricanes, the Northwoods Foundation provided funds to support multiple organizations’ relief efforts, and also purchased supplies for Houston evacuees seeking shelter in Austin, Texas.
The holidays can also be a stressful time for families who work hard just to stay afloat. Every year in December, Northwoods Foundation board members and a few Northwoods employees pay for food and gifts for families in need or that have items on layaway at the store. Heartwarming stories were shared about how families who had car trouble, care for foster children, and work long hours were so grateful to the Northwoods Foundation for making their holidays bright.
The Northwoods Foundation has also helped families with children battling cancer. The Northwoods Foundation supported Chapel Hill House, a place where these families can enjoy peace and solitude through a healing retreat.
“We can’t thank the Northwoods Foundation enough.
Our cabins provide kids with cancer and their families a getaway
and the water damage was going to keep us from opening this year,
but thanks to Northwoods, we will be open in time for spring!”
– Mike Morgan, Chapel Hill House
Partnering to Strengthen Community Outreach Organizations
The Northwoods Foundation has a special partnership with the DRIVEN Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization founded in 2008 by former NFL and Ohio State University Football teammates Roy Hall and Antonio Smith.
Hall shared his remarkable story with Northwoods employees and his motivation behind creating the DRIVEN Foundation, which combats community and individual shortcomings through their core principles of perseverance, resilience, assistance, and endurance.
“The only place that was willing to take a chance on my vision was Northwoods. The Northwoods Foundation has really fueled the DRIVEN Foundation from afar. Everything we got done is because of Northwoods. Without you guys, DRIVEN would not be where it is today.”
– Roy Hall, DRIVEN Foundation President
A Strong Culture for Helping Others
The Northwoods Foundation provides volunteer opportunities to Northwoods employees. Giving back is woven into Northwoods’ culture and volunteerism is encouraged and held in high regard. Employees are offered company time to volunteer in efforts together for causes near and dear to their hearts.
Although primarily funded by Northwoods employees, anyone can give to the Northwoods Foundation or apply for financial assistance. Visit the Northwoods Foundation website to learn how to contribute, contact the board members, or ask for help.
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Justin Swain is the Northwoods Foundation Board Chairperson and also the Training Manager for Northwoods’ Implementation team. Justin is passionate about giving back and the work that our customers do. He is committed to making a difference in the community and in the lives of our customers that become like family.