RK Cares HERO Fund: An Employee Compassion Fund

Workplace culture has never been more important. After an uncertain few years, people are seeking employment at businesses that offer robust programs to support them outside of the standard benefits packages. Employers must be creative to be competitive in hiring top talent. Integrating philanthropy into a company’s culture can have many benefits and is linked to higher levels of employee happiness, collaboration and innovation. Current and prospective employees are looking for organizations to go beyond the paycheck and get behind social issues. Creating a value-based company can prove to be more resilient to withstand crises like pandemics, disasters, and social unrest because its values keep it anchored in challenging times.

Focusing on causes that employees care about can increase engagement level and connection to the company. Furthermore, people are passionate about serving others they see in their daily lives, so organizations can connect that natural human instinct to create an employee fund that inspires colleagues to help each other with unforeseen financial burdens.

The construction industry is one of the most dangerous fields to work in. Unexpected events can happen on a jobsite, causing injury and possible death. At RK, safety is the number one value, which is infused companywide from field workers to office employees and even their families. However, there are situations that one cannot control. After a cluster of accidents and severe injuries, RK formed a charter committee to research corporate hardship funds and established a 501(c)(3), RK Cares Foundation. By establishing the foundation as a 501(c)(3), funds are granted to individual employees tax-free.

The RK Cares HERO Fund, a grant program from the RK Cares Foundation, was started to encourage RK employees to help one another. It is an emergency relief fund that is a resource for RK employees and/or their immediate family members when they experience financial hardships such as medical emergencies, the death of a family member, and loss of housing or transportation due to unexpected circumstances. RK employees donate collectively to support co-workers and their families to help each other recover and rebuild.

HERO
H – Helping
E – Employees
R – Rebuild, Recover, Restore, Renew, Repair, Reduce, Rally, Return and….
O – Overcome

Since 2019, the RK Cares HERO Fund has granted $106,600 to over 50 employees or their immediate families. In 2021 alone, over $60,000 was granted to RK employees in need. After an initial $25,000 grant from the RK Foundation, the HERO Fund has been entirely funded by employee payroll donations and internal fundraisers. The breakdown of assistance is:

  • - Bereavement = 27%
  • - Emergency Housing or Transportation = 21%
  • - Medical = 52%

The goal is to continuously increase employee awareness of the HERO Fund and promote a company based on values and mutual support for one another. Ultimately, people make a company great, and it is important to show that they are not alone when they need a helping hand.

“I wish to thank RK Cares for the generous grant, which was a big help in my life following the sudden death of my wife and being out of work due to my own medical problem. Many thanks to all the contributors of the HERO Fund.”

Douglas

“Thank you so much to everyone that made the HERO Fund possible. I am very grateful for the help following a house fire where I lost almost everything.”

Rodrigo

The RK Cares HERO Fund is a corporate social responsibility program of RK. The HERO Fund is part of the RK Cares Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3), that oversees RK’s philanthropic efforts, as well as employee and community outreach and engagement.

Written by Ileana Morales

 Any Company Can Make Giving Back a Part of its Culture. Here’s How., accessed February 22, 2022, Operator Collective 

How to Make Giving Back Part of Your Company Culture, accessed February 22, 2022, Utah Business