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ACF's Pakis Center for Business Philanthropy announces BOOST! Prize winners

The Arizona Community Foundation’s Pakis Center for Business Philanthropy is pleased to announce the prize winning companies in its second BOOST! Prize competition. Independent Newsmedia Inc. USA, a unique publishing and printing company, and Willmeng Construction Inc., a locally owned and operated building contractor, will each receive $40,000 to boost their efforts as good corporate citizens. 

“Most people understand the many ways in which corporate philanthropy is good for our communities,” says Fred Pakis, who co-founded Scottsdale-based JDA Software in 1985 and founded the Pakis Center for Business Philanthropy at ACF. “Strong executives know it’s also good for business, helping companies maintain an engaged and productive work force, improving employee recruitment and retention, and enhancing their reputation in the community.”

Independent News Media USAIndependent Newsmedia Inc. USA supports every American’s First Amendment rights and encourages and assists citizens in exercising those rights responsibly. They pursue this mission by publishing community newspapers, providing printing services to other publishers, and creating citizen-driven community websites. Their unique structure is designed to maintain independence. Owned by a nonprofit trust, the organization has no shareholders, no dividends are paid, and all after-tax profits are reinvested in serving the mission.  

Community service is the driving force behind the Independent. Their current corporate philanthropy initiative involves a combination of providing complimentary advertising, staff services, and news coverage to help charities promote themselves or their events; encouraging employees to volunteer their time to charitable operations; and providing gifts to local charities. These contributions have supported myriad organizations including the Phoenix Children’s Foundation, Scottsdale Charros, Del Webb Sun Cities Museum, and Peoria Diamond Club, to name a few. 

The BOOST! Prize will enable the organization to formalize their corporate philanthropy mission and take it to the next level. Their “Charity Begins at Home” campaign aims to provide a minimum of $100,000 worth of support annually to charitable organizations in the communities they serve. 

Willmeng Construction Inc. Willmeng Construction Inc. has specialized in Arizona’s ground-up and tenant improvement projects since 1977. Built on relationships, the 125-employee company remains committed to building excellence and workplace culture. Led by President and CEO James Murphy, the company’s operations reflect three fundamental principles: client service, community growth and service, and fostering an altruistic service culture. As an organization, Willmeng understands that their employees are their greatest asset and recognizes the importance of deliberately aligning that asset with philanthropic efforts to achieve the higher good of serving and improving the community.

Willmeng will use their $40,000 BOOST! Prize to formalize their corporate giving program, support their growing employee base, and structure a program where their nearly 30 percent ASU Alumni employee base can mentor and encourage students as they enter the construction workforce. Through the program, they will provide résumé and interview training for a successful job search and presentations to seniors in local high schools about the promising future available in construction/commercial real estate in Arizona. Finally, employees will have the opportunity to identify local nonprofit projects that could potentially benefit from construction expertise and provide associations in need with financial or labor assistance.

In June, ACF’s Pakis Center for Business Philanthropy began accepting applications for its second $40,000 BOOST! Prize from mid-size, Arizona-based companies. The challenge was designed to encourage business leaders to commit more deeply to their charitable efforts and make philanthropy a core part of their operations.

“The leaders of these two businesses—Independent Newsmedia and Willmeng Construction—not only see the value in corporate philanthropy for their communities and their businesses,” Pakis explained, “They recognize how their efforts can be amplified by formalizing their corporate philanthropy initiatives.” 

More information about the BOOST! Prize and ACF’s Pakis Center for Business Philanthropy can be found at www.azfoundation.org/PakisCenter.

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