A partner in the community

Giving Guide 2017

Direct Supply employees at its annual Senior Day event at Summerfest 2016.

For 32 years, Direct Supply Inc. has called Milwaukee’s Havenwoods neighborhood home. Throughout its history, the company has advocated for its neighbors in the community and throughout the city.

Ten years ago, in an effort to formalize and support the already robust involvement of many Direct Supply employees, the company organized a Community Involvement Committee.

Sharon Jordan, senior manager of community relations, started the initiative as a volunteer.

Direct Supply employees participated in the Block Build MKE event this spring.
Direct Supply employees participated in the Block Build MKE event this spring.

“I knew there was a need,” Jordan said, “From an involvement perspective, from a recruitment and retention perspective, and even just thinking about the visibility of the organization throughout the community. We wanted to do more.”

At the time, there were less than 200 employees at Direct Supply. According to Jordan, it was a very tight knit community, and the implementation of the Community Involvement Committee proved even more beneficial as the company continued to grow.

Last year, Direct Supply partnered with more than 52 community-based and nonprofit organizations.

“In 2015, our (employees) led 178 community service events, harnessing the energy of over 1,600 volunteers, and volunteered over 7,200 hours to make a difference in our community,” Jordan said.

The company strongly encourages employees to get involved in causes close to them, and promotes multiple causes in areas like health, education and community and neighborhood improvement, Jordan said.

Each year, Direct Supply sponsors Senior Day at Summerfest. It’s the company’s largest volunteer event.

According to Mandy Clarke, manager of community involvement operations, Direct Supply’s sponsorship allows senior citizens into the park for free from noon to 4 p.m.

The company brings more than 20 senior-focused vendors on-site for the event, and partners with area senior living communities and senior centers to encourage members to attend.

They also sponsor the Golden Idols, a performance event for seniors.

“It’s a really great way for us to interact with our seniors,” said Bob Klein, senior vice president and chief administrative officer.

Direct Supply is a senior living industry supplier and offers equipment, furnishings, renovation and design services, technology solutions, building management services and automated procurement services to senior living communities.

Direct Supply employees at its annual Senior Day event at Summerfest 2016.
Direct Supply employees at its annual Senior Day event at Summerfest 2016.

In addition to company-organized events, the Community Involvement Committee has established ongoing relationships with several organizations. Direct Supply checks in with them on a monthly basis to determine their current needs and presents those opportunities to its employees, Jordan said.

“Giving back to our community is ingrained in our company’s culture, led by our founder and CEO, Bob Hillis, and his wife, Jenny,” Klein said. “The efforts of people like Sharon and the members of the Community Involvement Committee have really effectuated that emphasis. The grassroots effort took hold not only because of the work they do, but also because we are fortunate to have so many (employees) who are passionate about giving back.”

Direct Supply is committed to Milwaukee, Jordan said.

“Our volunteer commitment allows us to support the important work of organizations within the community and provide our (employees), friends, family and pets with opportunities to participate, engage and give back to the great organizations and causes we support.”

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