Building dreams, changing lives
FCCI’s Corporate Citizenship and Volunteerism
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On a sunny day in August 2017, Erika and her sons Caleb, Christian and Colin stood on the foundation of a dream coming true.
Despite working full time, Erika demonstrated a financial need to help her transition to a more permanent housing situation. She and her children shared a small, two-bedroom house with Erika’s 89-year-old grandmother, who was in failing health. There was no space for the boys to play or do homework, and there was no privacy for Erika at the end of a long day. Worse, the living situation was far from secure.
After writing down a list of her dreams and goals, Erika decided to apply for Habitat Sarasota’s homeownership program. She was accepted, and the physical work of building the dream began. With the help of Habitat Sarasota’s staff and more than 50 FCCI volunteers, the land had been cleared, the ground broken, and the slab poured.
Top image: Pictured (L to R): Caleb, Erika, Christian and Colin Berrones; Renée Snyder, President & CEO, Habitat for Humanity Sarasota; Chris Shoucair, FCCI EVP, CFO & Treasurer; Lisa Krouse, FCCI Board Member, EVP, Chief HR & Corporate Communications Officer; Bonnie Dezii, FCCI AVP, Claims
Called a “Slab Blessing” by Habitat for Humanity Sarasota, the event was their first opportunity to stand on the concrete foundation of what would soon be their home.
Projects like this mesh well with FCCI’s Volunteer Policy, which was established in 2012 to give each teammate four hours of company-paid time each year to serve at the nonprofit, charity or community organization of their choice. In the last five years, more than 12,000 company-paid hours have been volunteered at organizations throughout the states in which FCCI operates, such as the Midwest Food Bank in Indianapolis, Ind., the Trusted World Foundation
Erika’s home is the fourth Habitat for Humanity Sarasota build FCCI has sponsored through the Community Contribution Tax Credit Program (CCTCP). In addition to the financial contribution, FCCI pledges at least 200 volunteer hours to each building project.
They do it not because they have to — the Volunteer Program is completely optional — but because they want to. They are All In for helping others. “One of the great things about FCCI is the way the company encourages teammates to get involved in the community and to give back through organizations they are truly passionate about,” says Bonnie Dezii, Assistant Vice President, Claims, who also sits on the Habitat for Humanity Sarasota board and helps spearhead FCCI’s volunteer program.
Whether it is by building homes with Habitat for Humanity or serving hot meals at a local homeless shelter, by reading to schoolchildren in a Head Start program or visiting with veterans in nursing care, FCCI volunteers are helping individuals and families overcome the struggles that life can sometimes throw their way.
Erika and her sons wrote down their thoughts and dreams and placed them, along with well-wishes from others, in the place where the concrete would soon be poured for their front porch. Each time they step into their home, they will remember those words and blessings.
The experience was life-changing, not only for Erika and her children, but also for the FCCI team.
“When you foster that kind of volunteerism, people really get a sense that they are transforming lives. It’s powerful, and it changes all of us.”
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