St. Louis Community Foundation

FAOG Conference Spotlights Employee Care Program

On September 8th through 11th, the Fiscal & Administrative Officers Group (FAOG) for Community Foundations hosted their fourth annual conference in San Antonio, Texas. They aimed to discuss how staff can advance their knowledge of fiscal and administrative roles as a community foundation. This year, Dwight Canning, Chief Financial Officer, and Jenny Praytor, Operations & Administration Officer, represented the St. Louis Community Foundation.

The conference typically deals with investments and finding new business, but this year, there was an addition to the agenda. Dwight, a member of the Fiscal & Administrative Officers Group’s planning committee, decided to spotlight the Employee Care Program (ECP) with its own section in the conference. Jenny was selected to be a panelist to talk about her eight years working with the program.

The Employee Care Program helps companies highlight their most valued asset – their employees. Charitable funds are established by companies to provide financial support for their employees in a time of crisis, whether it be natural disasters or personal emergencies.

As most employees must ask their companies for donations in personal or natural emergencies, it can feel uncomfortable to request financial help. Whereas with ECP, employees can anonymously receive funds from their company’s account. “Every dollar that you give to this program goes to help one of your employees in need. I think that has been remarkable,” Jenny said.

Alongside two other panelists and a facilitator, Jenny spoke on how companies in attendance can implement the program, why they should implement it, and how to create a program with results and impact. With panelists from all different areas of the country, they spoke about funds for disaster relief and personal emergency.

While the idea of speaking in front of an entire conference sounded “a little terrifying, to be honest” Jenny said, she also realized the importance of helping other Community Foundations implement similar programs. “These programs are near and dear to my heart and I’m always grateful for the opportunity to speak about them,” she said.

The Employee Care Program originally started at St. Louis Community Foundation through Hurricane Katrina, which devasted many businesses in the south. In the aftermath, a casino moved their headquarters from an affected zone to St. Louis. Upon moving, they wanted to set up their ECP with the St. Louis Community Foundation. The Community Foundation currently manages over 13 ECP programs across the country such as Drury Hotels, Barry-Wehmiller Companies, and McBride & Son Properties, to name a few.

Though the program started through coincidence, the job of implementing it in many other companies throughout the country has been a very thoughtful process.

“These programs are really my heart and soul. A lot of my job is dealing with people who are hurting and in need,” Jenny said.

Among the assortment of thank you cards that Jenny receives, a common theme seems to be that people didn’t know that they worked for a company that cared so much about them. For her, this is the true success of the program – showing employees that they matter to their company.

The Employee Care Program is one area where organizations can directly benefit their community. Being able to share the successes from it with other groups at the Fiscal & Administrative Officers Conference was not only a victory for Jenny, but also for the St. Louis Community Foundation.

Interested in learning more about how your company can start an Employee Care Program for your organization? Click here to learn more or contact Jenny Praytor, Operations & Administration Officer, at 314-880-4966.