Welcome to the first post of our Fall Philanthropy Series. As days shorten and we head into the final quarter of 2023, LightNOW is shining some light on the philanthropic efforts of companies in the lighting industry.
Our first lighting company profile is Evluma, a manufacturer of utility grade outdoor lighting. Evluma is committed to developing affordable, long-lasting, and environmentally low-impact LED lighting solutions that fundamentally change the landscape of the outdoor utility lighting market. The company’s mission is to design and manufacture innovative and sustainable LED solutions at the lowest cost of ownership for their customers.
Evluma offers employees eight hours per year of paid time off as Volunteer Days. Employees that take advantage of the benefit are encouraged to choose and support a nonprofit program or organization that resonates with their personal values. According to Cathleen Shattuck, Marketing Director at Evluma, approximately 25% of staff have participated each year since the benefit was introduced in 2019.
Before the formalized benefit, the company’s employees organized events to collect and donate school supplies or collect items for animal shelters. And, Evluma employees have consistently participated in off hours events like blood drives and charity races. The company appreciates and celebrates their employee’s community service, noting that among their ranks are employees like Carlee Alari, Office Manager, who volunteers at Renton Reach, a nonprofit addressing homelessness and hunger in Renton, Washington. Alan shares: “I volunteer most Friday’s a month serving dinner to our clients. They are very thankful and most have a great sense of humor. It is such a positive experience.”
Evluma’s culture of caring was on full display during Covid, when the company’s employees voted to make a donation to The Food Lifeline & The American Red Cross in lieu of a holiday gathering. In addition, the company donated lights to Sustainable Renton to increase parking lot safety for food pantry pickups.
This year, Customer Service team members Ashley Belo & Amazaday Rodriguez participated in Seattle’s Day of Service by cleaning a park near an elementary school shared a bit about their experience:
“While cleaning up the park, we were often stopped and thanked by others who visited the park every day. They mentioned they bring their children to the park often and help pick up trash with their kids. They also said how being able to visit a clean park really helps their mood and mental health. It was great seeing everyone work together to take care of our earth. It was a great experience and would love to volunteer again.”
We asked Don Vendetti, Evluma’s CEO, why the company made the decision to formalize a Volunteer Day benefit. He shared that “Evluma employees have long been involved with community volunteering, but often on their own time rather than through organized company events. It seemed natural to incent more people to get involved individually with company support.”
The company also shared that some of the benefits of the paid time off benefit include increased job satisfaction, employees feeling more connected to community, and to each other. Shattuck tells us: “With the shift to remote work during Covid and the adoption of hybrid schedules afterwards, sharing experiences and common interests are just as important within the company as they are to building relationships with vendors and customers.” She continues, “Because the Volunteer Day is for an organization of the employee’s choice, it gives them the opportunity to express and share their personal values with the team.”
Evluma is a great example of how a company with less than 50 employees can affordably and effectively enhance their corporate culture and have a positive impact on their community by:
- Celebrating employee’s community service.
- Inviting employees to share in decision-making for corporate donations.
- Offering annual paid time off for volunteering with a local nonprofit that the employee selects.
If you would like to read more about Evluma’s employee volunteers, visit their blog.
Comment below to share your experience with volunteer time as a benefit; we would love to learn more about how paid time off for community service works at different lighting companies.
This post was edited on 9.28.2023. Carlee Alari’s name was incorrect in the original version.
Read more about philanthropy in the lighting industry here.