Volunteering benefits the community and the firm

Saying that employees at Rea & Associates, Inc. volunteer their time is like saying that Bill Gates knows how to turn on a PC. Last year alone, at only five of the firm's thirteen Ohio offices, staff members donated more than 4,400 hours to nearly 100 different community organizations. This year, Smart Business of Cleveland will honor Rea & Associates with the S.H.A.R.E. Award for its commitment to community service.

The firm encourages each office to adopt a community project and the projects tend to be very hands on, such as landscaping, painting, and providing ground maintenance for various community projects and properties. Individual office projects embraced by employees are often executed on company time.

"The planning process creates excitement, helps build teams, and provides participants with a sense of pride – as well as setting an example of what our firm expects," said marketing director Katie Tolin. "The projects motivate all Rea employees from administrative support to partners. While those are great benefits for us as a firm, it means even more to those organizations we help – and that's the true motivation for doing what we do."

One yearly project is "Accounting For Kids Day." Staff members talk with Ohio fourth graders about budgeting, finances, and the accounting profession. Another is the firm's "Help Can Hunger in Your gREAt Community" food drive, which collects nearly 10 tons of food to stock local food pantries. To increase donations, Rea & Associates has an inter-office competition, and the winning team gets a travel trophy, a dress-down day, and bragging rights for the year, Tolin said.

Funded by shareholders, individuals, and office fundraisers, the Rea Foundation has raised and distributed more than $262,000 to local communities and organizations since it was founded in 2003. The foundation regularly makes donations to organizations where employees volunteer.

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