When a crisis strikes, one of the places a Benchmark associate can turn for financial assistance is Benchmark’s One Company Fund. Few companies in senior care or anywhere for that matter offer such emergency assistance, which is surprising because it works so well.Tom Grape of Benchmark
Benchmark was turning 10 years old as a company when we got the idea of doing something more to celebrate the occasion than simply having a big party. We decided to start the One Company Fund as a way to say thank you to our frontline associates.
The idea is simple but so powerful. Associates in need can apply for a grant of up to $5,000, anonymously and online. Common requests for assistance include financial hardship as a result of a fire, flood, natural disaster, disability, or death of a family member. The idea is to help associates in times of need when they cannot purchase the basic necessities of life or meet the contingencies created by an emergency situation.
The One Company Fund is more than just a financial assistance program. The secret to our success is that the fund is widely supported by Benchmark, its executives, directors, employees, residents and other friends, who donate money so that the fund can be there for Benchmark’s employees when they are in need. It’s also a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, which keeps the fund’s mission front and center, and ensures that applications are kept separate from an associate’s employment record.
Over the past seven years the fund has distributed almost a million dollars to over 400 Benchmark employees. Grants have permitted staff to pay unanticipated medical expenses, overcome natural disasters, and catch up on bills on which they’d fallen behind. Success is contagious. In any given month, you can find a handful of Benchmark’s 50 senior living communities in the Northeast holding contests and fundraisers to keep the fund alive and growing.
For its part, Benchmark sponsors the annual One Company Fund Golf Outing to provide our corporate partners an opportunity to contribute to this employee assistance program. Perhaps the best measure of our success is that so many associates support the fund through payroll deductions.
Day-to-day life happens, and people often don’t have anywhere else to turn. The One Company Fund is part of Benchmark’s commitment to be a great employer. We hope others follow our example.
Until next time,
CEO and Chairman, Benchmark Senior Living