Shop Profile: Bell Bank

September 7, 2017 No Comments
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The Power of Giving Back to the Community

toc_features50pxSome of us have heard the phrase, “it’s better to give than to receive,” so many times that it’s become cliché. However, many MPMA companies bring it to life for their employees by generously giving back to the community in ways that touch the hearts of everyone involved. For Bell Bank, Lube-Tech, and many other MPMA member companies, helping others in need is at the core of all they do.

Few could have imagined how a simple charitable program unveiled at a company Christmas party in 2007 would become such a vibrant part of the culture for MPMA member Bell Bank. Already accustomed to drawings for generous prizes, Bell’s employees were surprised to see CEO Michael Solberg joined on stage by an Oprah Winfrey impersonator. Instead of giving gifts to employees that year, Solberg announced that the company was giving $1,000 to every full-time employee and $500 to every part-timer to give away as they choose to individuals, families, or organizations in need.

Modeled after Oprah’s “pay it forward” project, Pay It Forward quickly became a beloved tradition at Bell. The bank’s generous ownership has continued the program every year, and Bell employees know the power – and sheer joy – of handing a check to someone in need.

Now approaching its 10-year anniversary, the Pay It Forward program has empowered Bell’s employees to give away more than $10 million to date, wherever they see the greatest needs. This program has changed the lives of thousands of individuals, and Bell executives say it has equally impacted Bell’s employees whose eyes and hearts have been opened to the needs around them.

“We succeed as a company when we support and strengthen our communities,” said Julie Peterson Klein, Chief Culture Officer at Bell Bank. “Paying it forward is a responsibility we take to heart and live every day.”

The positive effects of giving are also present at another MPMA company, Lube-Tech. When Chris and Marna Bame acquired Lube-Tech in 1993, the couple promptly established a tradition of giving 5 percent of the company’s pre-tax annual profits back to the community. Now approaching 25 years of ownership, this generous tradition still continues. With the simple mission to “make tomorrow better than today for our employees, customers, and communities,” Lube-Tech lives out its purpose through various programs spearheaded by the company’s engaged and caring employees.

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Now in its 14th year, Lube-Tech’s annual “140 Invitational” golf tournament has raised over $1 million to date for the Children’s Cancer Research Fund. This all started because a group of employees approached Chris Bame with the idea to raise money for a good cause, and together they chose to support Children’s Cancer Research Fund with the hope that someday we will live in a world without childhood cancer. The annual tournament continues its strong tradition thanks to the heartfelt involvement of so many of the company’s devoted employees.

The “140 Invitational” is one of many examples of the joy of giving that is lived out at Lube-Tech. The company’s annual “Troop Box” event also has proven to Lube-Tech’s employees that giving is better than receiving. Having packed a total of 6,676 care packages to date for deployed military members, no one at the first packing event could have imagined the positive impact a small gesture could make for our heroes overseas.

The love and caring expressed through these packages has proven to be so appreciated, which is understandable, considering some recipients are stationed in remote areas that can only be serviced by airdrop deliveries. “They are like treasures dropping from the sky for those troops,” said Amy Jo Van Culin, Director of Bame Foundation and Philanthropy at Lube-Tech. “The powerful, heartfelt feedback we get keeps us all so motivated to reach out more to our troops.”

Like the powerful component of Bell’s Pay It Forward program that empowers employees to give where they see the greatest needs, Lube-Tech also realizes the importance of making sure all employees have a chance to support other causes that might personally speak to their employees. This is accomplished through Lube-Tech’s Employee Giving Program, which generously matches funds donated personally by Lube-Tech employees.  pm_endmarkblue-e1320337140493

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Copyright © 2017 Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association. For permission to use or reprint this article please contact Nancy Huddleston, publications manager for Precision Manufacturing Journal.

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