One of PAR’s core values is to give back to the community, and our dedicated staff provide time and resources to a variety of causes. This blog is the first in a series about what drew our staff members to become involved with various charities. Today’s blog focuses on Jim Eddy’s relationship with Trinity Café.
When he was in high school, PAR Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer Jim Eddy’s mother left for good. Soon after, his father decided to leave town. He told Jim he had minutes to move out. Suddenly, Jim found himself without a home.
The youngest of five children, he needed to find a way to support himself, so he walked into First Florida Bank in Fort Myers looking for work.
“Gotta eat; need a job,” he told them. They walked him into the computer room—which no one in the bank wanted to learn. He didn’t know how to operate a computer, either, he told them. A woman pointed to some manuals nearby and told him, “That’s what the big books are for. You better start reading.” That was the day Jim started on his career path in computers.
About six years ago, Jim, who came to PAR in 2013, learned about Trinity Café. A program of Feeding Tampa Bay, Trinity Cafe is a free full-service restaurant for those in need. Seven days a week, guests take part in a restaurant-style experience, complete with a three-course meal. Volunteers serve, act as hosts, and bus tables. Trinity Café’s message resonated with Jim, and he organized a group of volunteers from PAR—known for its commitment to community—to serve. Today, Jim spearheads a group from PAR to make the trip to Trinity Café three times each year.
“You do a lot of things and often never see the outcome,” Jim said. “At Trinity Café, you serve and you see the outcome as you do it. It’s not abstract.” Jim believes that many other PAR staff members continue to volunteer at each opportunity because they can see how their work helps someone in an immediate way.
“My career has been fast-paced and I’ve raised a family with my wife Shari,” said Jim, who sees his involvement with Trinity Café as one way to integrate his strong Christian faith into the workplace, “but it limited my time to help others. It bothered me that I wasn’t able to do more. If you aren’t helping others, then faith is meaningless. PAR makes it easy to help others.”
Each year, PAR employees take part in a week-long United Way fundraising campaign. For more than 25 years, 100% of PAR staff members have contributed during our annual drive. This year, we exceeded our fundraising goal, resulting in more than $100,408.34 in employee contributions to help United Way Suncoast and their partner agencies! We are proud to say that through our involvement with United Way, we will help make a difference in the lives of so many people in the Tampa Bay area.
This year, our theme was “Make Your Move,” and staff were divided into different chess-piece-themed teams. To see a few photos of our week, check out PAR’s new Instagram account.
Learn more about how you can help United Way in your community!
The staff at PAR is known for its generosity, volunteerism, and love of animals. These three traits tied together March 23 at Bark in the Park, an annual fundraiser for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay held in downtown Tampa.
The event featured a variety of animal-themed events, games, and vendors and culminated in a Walk for the Animals along Tampa’s picturesque River Walk. The PAR team, known as the PARty Animals, was this year’s second-highest fundraising pack. Several pack members brought family and fur-friends in support of the event, and one pack member even adopted a new member of the family!
Overall, nearly 100 teams and more than 450 participants helped the Humane Society exceed its Bark in the Park goal by raising nearly $150,000. Those funds will be used to house, heal, and help rehome thousands of local animals.
One of PAR’s core tenets is to give back to the community, and our employees frequently donate their time and resources to help local organizations like the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. Learn more.
Last week, United Way Suncoast recognized several local individuals who have made significant contributions to the organization, inducting these individuals into a United Way Roundtable that has just 500 members worldwide. We are incredibly proud that PAR founders Bob and Cathy Smith were two of the honorees.
The Smiths began their relationship with the United Way in 1977 and became members of the Tocqueville Society in 1998. Bob and Cathy’s spirit of generosity and philanthropy has not stopped with their personal devotion to the United Way, though. They have encouraged PAR staff to actively participate in United Way activities in the area, donating both time and resources. In fact, PAR has had 100% employee participation in our annual United Way drive for more than 20 years! Other honorees at last week’s celebration represented organizations such as Raymond James, Publix, Ferman Automotive, and the Siemer Institute. To be among the company of these other organizations is simply inspiring.
Congratulations, Bob and Cathy! This is an amazing testament to your dedication to United Way for more than 40 years!
Watch the video that was shown at the ceremony.
PAR has announced the recipient of its fifth-annual program to benefit worthy charities. “PAR has been incredibly fortunate as a company,” stated Kristin Greco, MBA, Chief Executive Officer. “Rather than sending our Customers an end-of-year gift, a few years ago, we decided to make a charitable contribution on behalf of our Customers to an organization chosen by those we serve. This is the fourth year we have done so, each year selecting a new charity to honor.”
In November, PAR mailed an end-of-year communication to select Customers, thanking them for their business and asking them to choose their favorite organization from a list as a way to acknowledge the important work they do throughout the year. Most PAR Customers are involved in psychological assessment, educational assessment, or mental health work.
Now that results have been tallied, PAR is proud to announce that on behalf of its Customers, a $5,000 donation will be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. “We are so inspired by the work our Customers do, and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is doing work that is important to them,” said Greco. “It is an honor to be able to pay it forward to such a worthy organization.”
PAR has a long and proud tradition of giving back to the communities we serve through donations of time and financial support. This is something we do not only during the holiday season, but all year long.
Here’s a look back at some of the events and organizations our company and employees supported in 2018.
January: Announced the recipient of our fourth annual Pay-it-Forward campaign, where select Customers choose an organization to receive a $5,000 donation. The charity selected by our Customers was Prevent Child Abuse America.
February: PAR employees participated in the annual Cup of Compassion breakfast, a fund-raising event that benefits the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.
March: PAR employees volunteered for Camp Circle of Love, a no-cost annual weekend retreat for children in Hillsborough county ages 6 to 18 years who have experienced the death of a loved one.
For the 7th year in a row, the PAR team was named Top Dog at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay’s annual Bark in the Park fundraising event.
April: PAR staff participated in and donated to fundraising walks supporting Southeastern Guide Dogs and Autism Speaks. In addition, several PAR employees spent their lunch hour volunteering at Trinity Café, a restaurant in Tampa that serves free hot lunches to those in need.
June: PAR employees and their families took to the lanes to raise money and awareness for the American Heart Association during our annual Bowling for Hearts event.
August: Another group of PAR employees volunteered to serve lunch at Trinity Café, providing over 200 free hot lunches to those in need.
September: PAR’s annual United Way Week took place and for the 21st consecutive year, 100% of PAR staff contributed. Employees raised over $93,000 to benefit United Way Suncoast and their partner agencies. With PAR’s matching contribution, a total of just under $140,000 will help make a difference in the lives of so many.
October: A group of PAR staffers attended Tuxes & Tails, the premier annual fundraiser for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. Other employees participated in United Way Suncoast’s Day of Caring by volunteering to clean and organize warehouse space for Metropolitan Ministries, an agency that cares for the homeless and those at risk.
November: PAR had employees take part in two different fundraising events: the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and the to Stop Soldier Suicide Veteran’s Day 5K. Also, PAR staff met with students from the Hillsborough County PACE Center for Girls to announce winners of PAR’s annual Holiday Card Contest, in which an original design drawn by one of the girls is used on PAR’s annual holiday cards.
December: PAR held its annual Angel Trees event. Trees are placed in our lobby and we coordinate with local charities to decorate the trees with ornaments listing gifts for local children in need. PAR staff members then choose ornaments and donate gifts to the children. This year we worked with the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, Redland’s Christian Migrant Association, and Heart Gallery of Tampa to provide help to nearly 150 children.
Each year, PAR employees take part in a week-long United Way fundraising campaign. For more than 20 years, 100% of PAR staff members have contributed during our annual drive. This year was no different! We exceeded our fundraising goal, resulting in more than $93,000 in employee contributions to help United Way Suncoast and their partner agencies! With PAR’s matching contribution, we are proud to say United Way will receive just under $140,000 that will help make a difference in the lives of so many people in the Tampa Bay area.
Learn more about how you can help United Way in your community!
Here are a few photos of our week!
Kick-off breakfast: We split into teams to represent four Tampa Bay teams: the Buccaneers, the Rowdies, the Rays, and the Lightning! Some local mascots joined the fun!
Teams faced off in a seriously competitive Pictionary contest!
A company-wide scavenger taught us a lot about our coworkers and United Way Suncoast as we ran from place to place to find clues.
Last week, we welcomed Suzanne McCormick from United Way Suncoast to our office. She came to award PAR as #22 on the list of Most Generous Workplaces. We are so thrilled to be in the company of the other organizations represented on this list, all of which foster a culture of caring and philanthropy among their employees. Further, we are so proud of our employees for their generous support of United Way.
Learn more about how you can get involved with United Way where you live.
PAR has announced the recipient of its fourth-annual program to benefit worthy charities. “PAR has been incredibly fortunate as a company,” stated Kristin Greco, MBA, Chief Executive Officer. “Rather than sending our Customers an end-of-year gift, a few years ago, we decided to make a charitable contribution on behalf of our Customers to an organization chosen by those we serve. This is the fourth year we have done so, each year selecting a new charity to honor.”
Now that results have been tallied, PAR is proud to announce that on behalf of its Customers, a $5,000 donation will be made to Prevent Child Abuse America.
“We are so inspired by the work our Customers do, and Prevent Child Abuse America is doing work that is important to them,” said Greco. “It is an honor to be able to pay it forward to such a worthy organization.”
This month has been filled with so many events that help PAR live up to our tagline, “Creating Connections. Changing Lives.”
We have been involved in several Community PARtners events. Read on to learn about some of the ways PAR staff have been involved in helping others lately!
United Way Day of Caring
Earlier this month, several employees spent the day at Hillsborough Aging Services playing games, calling bingo, and serving lunch to a special group of local senior citizens in our community. Through United Way Suncoast, more than 1,900 volunteers took part in 101 projects in the local area on one day. To learn more about how you can get involved in your community, visit United Way.
A group of PAR staffers participated in the No-Pucker Challenge to raise awareness for Niemann-Pick Type C (NPC). NPC is a rare, fatal childhood disease known as “Childhood Alzheimer’s.” PAR staff member Katie Meyer-Griffith’s husband Sean will be riding across Florida to raise awareness for Hope for Marian, the organization behind the No-Pucker Challenge. Learn more about Marian, a two-year-old girl fighting for her life against NPC and about Sean’s ride. Visit our Facebook page to watch us as we take on the No-Pucker Challenge!
Relief for Puerto Rico
PAR employees gathered boxes of much-needed supplies to send through the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration to help those devastated by Hurricane Maria. Whether it was batteries, garbage bags, diapers, or first aid supplies, staff stepped up and donated what we could to help the effort in Puerto Rico.
Additionally, we collected socks for children in need during our annual Socktoberfest drive, participated in our regular Meals on Wheels route, and so much more!