Commonwealth Senior Living’s Senior Leadership Team showed they were Renaissance men on May 3 when they fired up the barbecue and celebrated Hillsville’s Commonwealth Senior Living winning the Community Service award. Hillsville raised the most funds out of all 21 senior communities in the Company in 2017.
These funds went to the “Commonwealth Cares” program last year. Commonwealth Cares helps employees of Commonwealth Senior Living suffering from severe financial hardship resulting from a catastrophic event by making grants available for them.
“Since the company has been started, our CEO, Richard (Brewer), has always had a policy of when we found out an employee was in need of trying to do something,” said Commonwealth Chief Operating Officer Earl Parker. “The company grew from three, to ten and now to 22 properties. It grew more difficult to know when someone needs help. We wanted to create something more formalized.”
He said they reached out to vendors and communities for fundraising and organized a benefit golf tournament. This raised about $100,000 with $90,000 going out to help associates in need. The second year, about $150,000 was raised with $130,000 going to support those in need.
“Really, it’s for when one of our employees has an unplanned financial need. The car breaks down. There’s a death in the family. Unplanned medical expenses,” Parker said. “They can submit a request. It is a separate 501 c (3) so it’s tax deductible. It’s an award, a grant. We don’t ask anyone to pay anything back. The people who make the decisions work in the different communities. They get the request, (our) human resources leaves out the name, and they get the information about what their need is and what happened and then the group determines an award on what they believe is the right thing to do and we handle getting them the money. It’s been a very powerful thing for our associates.”
He said more than 50 percent of Commonwealth employees also participate in a payroll deduction to help the program. Hillsville’s “prize” was the team preparing a picnic for everyone. Leadership Team members who participated were COO Earl Parker, CEO Richard Brewer, Senior Vice President of Construction and Development Kevin Willis, Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing Kristi Ruppe Craddock and Tommy Comer, chief human resource officer and Ed Corbeil, vice president of operations.
Commonwealth in Hillsville received the formal announcement at the Company’s awards banquet in Charlottesville. The three-day conference was held March 27-29. The Community Service Award was a first for the Community (The Community raised more than $6,000 last year.) Executive Kayla Crowder earned Executive Director of the Year honors and Dining Services Director of the Year honors for Kristin Kennedy-Shortt.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.