moneyEvery year since 1979, the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program has worked with communities of generous donors to ensure that thousands of children and families enjoy gifts during the holidays, despite economic struggles. Last month, employees at MMR Group joined in their efforts, and provided clothing, toys and other items from wish lists of some 55 children in the Baton Rouge and Kenner, Louisiana areas. Additionally, our employees in Shreveport joined together to participate in this year’s Toys for Tots, donating 40 bikes and 20 helmets to give to underprivileged children. The Christmas season is important to us at MMR, and we believe that giving back is a great way to celebrate the meaning of that time of year.

Nevertheless, our practice of philanthropy is not limited to the holidays. MMR Group supports our nation’s troops and veterans, like the Military Hero Hunt for Afghanistan/Iraq war veterans, and our employees have donated to cancer research at the University of Texas, among other things. We mention these things not to brag, but to inspire and encourage others to follow suit. Charity is a definitive part of MMR’s culture and value system; as a company, we’ve been able to do remarkable things with our time and resources, and every member of our team is committed to going beyond himself to serve the community.

While our company has always sought to offer a helping hand to the less fortunate, many others are beginning to see the value in doing so as well, with corporate giving considered one of the fastest growing trends of today. Just 3 years ago, in 2013, only 24% of companies reported year-round giving from its employees. According to Forbes Magazine, that number has grown to about 60%–more than half. In addition to an increase in the number of people who give, the amounts of contributions increased, and more employees reported dedicating time to volunteer for causes they support, outside of work.

All of this is a part of an expanding culture that puts impact and quality of giving as the most pertinent factor in deciding for which companies to work. Research studies are finding that charity is more valuable to some parts of the population than salary. Likewise, companies seek out employees which have volunteer experience, and use that in addition to work experience and skills, during hiring. This makes sense, as such values speak to the quality of the employee as well as the company, suggesting that both are selfless, strategic, and guided by principle.

Furthermore, charity and volunteer efforts increase the rates of health and wellness in the workplace. Many studies show that donors are happier and healthier than those who are not involved. Beyond the emotional and psychological benefits of such practices, those who give maintain a lower blood pressure and less stress. As a result, a happier workforce is a more productive and engaged group, and more beneficial to the stakeholders, overtime.

In 2016, charity will continue to be a large part of what makes MMR Group a great place for people to work and a leader in every facet of the industry. Our employees consistently find ways in which we can be involved and support causes which make the world a better place. It is of great importance to us that we all do our part to create a better global community. We can affect real, lasting change. Together.