Last updated on August 26th, 2019 at 01:21 pm
Each day, the staff at New Berlin-based Velvac Holdings Inc. designs and manufactures proprietary vision technology for commercial vehicles to help increase driver safety and awareness on our busy roads. For the past 10 years, the Velvac team has raised awareness and served our community in another meaningful way—as a participant and top fundraiser for Susan G. Komen Wisconsin’s annual MORE THAN PINK Walk.
When Velvac CEO Jeff Porter joined the company more than a decade ago, he brought with him a passion for Susan G. Komen’s mission, which soon spread throughout the office. It wasn’t long before the company realized everyone in the 100-person company had been affected by the disease in some way.
While heartbreaking, it’s not surprising, since 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. The chances are it will eventually impact each and every one of us in some way.
For that reason, over the past five years, Velvac has adopted Susan G. Komen as its “impact giving” cause. The company created a “Susan G. Committee” comprised of staff members who plan a variety of fundraisers leading up to the walk. Each summer, the fundraising season kicks off with an Executive Car Wash in which Porter and other executives wash employees’ cars in exchange for a donation.
Velvac senior buyer and top Komen fundraiser Gwen Erickson even goes as far as dying her hair pink each year during the fundraising drive. She explains why she and others in the company are so passionate about the cause.
“So many of us have family, friends and co-workers who are either battling breast cancer now, are survivors or have lost their battle with breast cancer. Every year I think of those close to me that fall into those categories and push myself to raise even more money than the year before,” she said.
Over the years, the company’s fundraising events have ranged from cookouts and ice cream socials to silent auctions and raffles. To increase engagement, the committee comes up with new ideas every year and encourages employees to weigh in on their favorites.
All of these events lead up to the big day—the MORE THAN PINK Walk—where the celebrations continue with an employee shuttle to the lakefront, light breakfast before the walk and catered lunch afterward. Velvac subsidizes the costs of the events, so employees can give to the cause. The company also matches all of the funds raised by its employees.
Over the past four years, Erickson has personally raised more than $9,000—and Velvac has matched her contributions 100 percent. To date, between Erickson’s personal efforts, the company’s Komen fundraisers and Velvac’s matching program, the organization has donated more than $32,000 to help our community fight breast cancer. Seventy-five percent of all money raised here stays right here in Wisconsin to fund local projects to help meet the most critical needs of the local breast cancer community, while the remainder goes toward funding national research to find the cures.
An added benefit of Velvac’s fundraisers is the camaraderie it has created within the staff.
“Having a common cause gives us all something to rally around and sparks conversations between people in different departments with whom we may not typically interact,” said Erickson. “It’s such a fun tradition we all look forward to every year.”
To create a team or learn more about 2019 Komen Southeast Wisconsin’s MORE THAN PINK Walk, presented by Kohl’s, visit komenwisconsin.org/wisconsin-events/more-than-pink-walk.
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