Feedback: March 2019

by Jeff Kirke, Renee Parsons, Randy Rusing

Question: What inspired you to create a nonprofit arm or affiliate of your business, and what was the biggest challenge you overcame?

Jeff Kirke

Vice President
Holmes Murphy
Sector: Employee Benefits

At Holmes Murphy, we aren’t strangers to charitable giving and strategic philanthropy. Prior to establishing the Holmes Murphy Foundation, we were contributing more than $1.3 million and logging more than 10,000 volunteer hours annually to serve our communities. But at Holmes Murphy, we’re always thinking ahead.

By establishing the Holmes Murphy Foundation, our goal was to be more attentive to the charitable needs of our community and the causes that our employees find important. In today’s culture, employees are looking for companies that are socially responsible and driven by causes. Through the Foundation, we hope to streamline giving and create an atmosphere that encourages employee participation, whether it is financially or by giving their time. Additionally, we are looking to community partners to engage by contributing or applying for grants. We focus on the following causes: health, education, and arts and culture. 

In establishing the Holmes Murphy Foundation, our biggest challenge was ensuring that charitable requests were handled smoothly. To ensure this, we formed a corporate giving committee that includes employees from multiple office locations, including Scottsdale.  

Jeff Kirke is vice president of Holmes Murphy and is responsible for the leadership of the Scottsdale, Arizona, operations. Kirke holds 20 years of experience in the employee benefits consulting industry. He specializes in creating employee benefit strategies which exceed both the expectations and financial goals of the clients he serves. 

Renee Parsons

The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation
Sector: Philanthropy

I’ve always had a deep desire to help people. While working at GoDaddy, I launched the company’s community outreach efforts and developed its giving program. Through this work, I earned a greater understanding of the nonprofit landscape and it helped me identify several urgent areas of need in our community. 

In 2012, Bob and I started The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation as part of YAM Worldwide. One challenge we faced was determining how to give in a way that would make the most impact, and it became clear that we needed to focus our philanthropy in order to make a significant difference. That’s when we developed six core causes to guide our giving: youth, healthcare, veterans, education, homelessness and the American Dream. We seek out nonprofits that are doing great work but are overlooked by traditional philanthropy. We firmly believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to reach their greatest potential, and we work to provide hope and life-changing assistance to vulnerable populations.  

Renee LaBelle Parsons is an American businesswoman, YAM Worldwide executive and passionate philanthropist focused on making a difference for underserved populations and causes, bringing hope to those most in need. She and her husband, Bob, started The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation in 2012, which has since made more than 300 grants to 110 partner organizations.

Randy Rusing

President of the Board of Directors, Sundt Foundation
Employee-Owner, Sundt Construction, Inc.
Sector: Construction 

The vision for the Sundt Foundation came from J. Doug Pruitt, the then-Sundt president and CEO. He was inspired to spearhead the creation of a charitable giving organization that would be impactful and unique to the company. It offers our employee-owners opportunities to give back to the communities they live and work in. 

From day one, our employee-owners have embraced the idea and supported the Foundation with great enthusiasm. The Foundation receives most of its funding through employee-owner contributions, which are matched dollar-for-dollar by the company. The grants are awarded in the communities where the employee-owners work. Local committees made up of employee-owners review their corresponding grant requests and determine funding within their communities prior to passing their recommendations to the board of directors. The grants are making a positive difference by supporting charities that improve the lives of numerous disadvantaged children and families in places where we conduct business. Annual grant awards are approximately $750,000 each year.  

Sundt Construction specializes in transportation, industrial, building and concrete work and is known for its commitment to quality and innovative approach to construction services. Sundt has 11 offices throughout California, Arizona, Texas and Utah and is 100-percent owned by its approximately 2,000 employees. Sundt’s charitable arm, the Sundt Foundation, recently crossed the $9.2 million mark in donations to hundreds of nonprofit organizations across the country.

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