LDI Helps Fulfill Wishes, Serves Meals, Spruces UpDate : 11/24/2006
Liberty Diversified Industries (LDI) is adept at creating packaging and doing material handling for clients, but one of its favorite customers never has to pay a bill.
After establishing a relationship with Make-A-Wish in 2004, New Hope-based LDI has done a significant amount of in-kind work, helping with publicity efforts, brochures, magazines and even nametags. The company also makes monetary donations to help fund wishes.
LDI’s special events manager, Jan Kocur, became one of the foundation’s board members after the company got involved with the organization. It wasn’t the first connection between the entities. LDI Executive Vice President David Lenzen had served with Make-a-Wish Foundation of Minnesota’s executive director, Tom McKinney, when McKinney was on the YMCA board in New Hope.
When McKinney moved to Make-A-Wish, Lenzen offered LDI’s services, and the employees were delighted to get involved in wish-based volunteerism.
“Giving back to the community is part of the culture here,” said LDI’s Corporate Communications and Marketing Services Manager Jennifer Hipple. “We encourage our employees to be active, whether it’s through company efforts or on their own.”
Since many of the employees have families, children’s issues and community initiatives are especially compelling, she said. The company is deeply involved with the United Way, and has done local efforts such as raking leaves for elderly residents and replanting trees in Brooklyn Park after a major storm.
“Knowing that they can have an impact on improving the life of a child, or of someone else in need is very important to everyone that works here,” Hipple said.
One employee spends his lunch hour once a week playing guitar at a nursing home, another devotes time to a crisis nursery and several have spent time at a Minneapolis women’s shelter, taking care of children and painting rooms. Employees also have helped prepare and serve meals for those in need at House of Charity in Minneapolis.
A notable addition at LDI has been the formation of an employee-directed program supported by CEO Michael Fiterman’s Fiterman Foundation that lets employees nominate nonprofits they feel should be given grants. In place for a year, the program has already given out 45 grants.
The company feels a special affinity for Make-A-Wish, and the relationship just keeps getting stronger, McKinney said.
He’s been impressed with LDI’s enthusiasm in helping the foundation, from doing in-kind work to lending its boardroom to the organization for meetings and training.
“They’re a great community partner,” McKinney said. “They’re just really engaged in all the activities and in all aspects of Make-A-Wish. Typically, after they’ve done something like a big printing job or had staff come to a wish-granting event, they say, ‘What else can we do? What more do you need?’ It’s not a huge company, but they’ve got a big heart.”