Local companies donate to charities in place of annual holiday party

A meal of roasted pork versus a permanent roof over your head.

What makes the biggest impact?

Instead of having a hot holiday meal in their stomachs, a large medical group of 260 employees instead is providing $20,000 and volunteers to put a roof over a deserving family’s heads.

And, instead of a holiday “thank-you party,” a local board that helps area nonprofit groups is “practicing what they preach”...forgoing their dinner to make a $500 donation each to the News-Sentinel’s Empty Stocking Fund and to the Blount County Empty Pantry Fund.

Two prominent East Tennessee companies....Alcoa Inc. (based in downtown Knoxville and Alcoa) and East Tennessee Medical Group (based in Alcoa)...are doing “the right thing” in forgoing annual holiday perks, in favor of giving to charities who badly need assistance right now.

East Tennessee Medical Group employees chose to sacrifice a night of food, fun and festivities to help those truly in need this holiday season. And once they decided to give up their annual party, wheels were put in motion to forge an even deeper bond with Blount Habitat for Humanity...with the group now talking to Habitat officials about building a house together this spring.

“With the slowing economy and the holidays right around the corner, we felt that this was a wonderful chance to do something good for Blount County. The celebration is an enjoyable annual event, but a home for a deserving family means so much more,” said ETMG CEO Ron German. “Everyone was on board for this...the idea for the donation was embraced by the employee planning committee and endorsed by the practice’s medical board of directors.”

In addition, the Alcoa Inc. Community Advisory Board is a 14-member volunteer board composed of Knox and Blount business and community leaders who meet yearly to help Alcoa Inc. distribute Alcoa Foundation funds to non-profits in communities where Alcoa Inc. serves (locally, most prominently in Knox and Blount Counties).

This year, the board unanimously decided to forgo its “thank-you dinner” from Alcoa Inc., to instead donate that money to the Knoxville News-Sentinel’s Empty Stocking Fund and the Blount County Empty Pantry Fund. Alcoa Inc. has a strong presence in downtown Knoxville, occupying several floors of Riverview Tower on Gay Street, as well as its historic presence in Blount County.

“I think everyone on the advisory board was extremely pleased with this decision. Since they work so hard yearly on an unpaid basis to advise Alcoa Inc. about funding local nonprofit programs, it’s great to “walk the talk” and make a donation themselves to affect the lives of deserving families,” said Christy Newman, Alcoa community relations manager.

East Tennessee Medical Group, 266 Joule Street, Alcoa, is Blount County’s most comprehensive physicians’ organization, with more than 50 physicians and allied health professionals, supported by state of the art technology and staff. ETMG also is the recipient of the 2008 TECHMED award for its use of innovative electronic medical records and patient care technology. For more information, call 984-ETMG or visit its website at www.etmg.net.

Alcoa’s Tennessee Operations is the world’s largest producer of rolled aluminum can sheet for beverage cans. It has been in operation in Blount County, Tenn., since 1913 and currently employs approximately 1,700 East Tennesseans in its Blount and Knox County locations. Tennessee Operations is one of 316 Alcoa Inc. operating locations in 34 countries.

Established in 1952, Alcoa Foundation is a global resource that actively invests in improving the quality of life in the countries around the world where Alcoa operates. The Foundation’s grants address global and local needs in Areas of Excellence that include: Conservation and Sustainability, Global Education and Workplace Skills, Business and Community Partnerships and Safe and Healthy Children and Families. Alcoa Foundation manages Alcoa’s ACTION and Bravo! programs which recognize the volunteer efforts of employees with grants to the organizations they serve. For more information about Alcoa Foundation, visit www.alcoa.com under Community.

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