In a society that always appears to be racing to a financial finish line or obsessed with the bottom line, it’s refreshing to take a break and look at the softer side of the business world. From rallying around a single mom to logging hundreds of volunteer hours at local charities, there are countless businesses in Central Virginia that take community service very seriously.

In this year’s Community Impact Appreciation, we are highlighting eight businesses that are at the front of the pack in their efforts to give their time, their money and their hearts to those in need.

bloom by Doyle’s
1) What sets your company apart in terms of community impact?
Each year, bloom by Doyle’s donates to local school fundraisers and high school dances and athletics. In March, we provided patriotic arrangements for a banquet for women in the military. We also donate all of the flowers for the Centra Health Foundation’s MAAM (Mammograms Annually A Must) banquet every October. In February, we donated 18 centerpieces to Centra’s “Bless Your Heart” luncheon.

2) How long have you been practicing these initiatives?
Owner Debbie Miller purchased the company in 2011. Since then, the shop has participated in the events listed above. Doyle’s was founded by the Doyle family in 1919. “The Doyle family was also very community minded. I continue to hear of lives they have touched and countless ways they have reached out into the community,” said Miller.

3) Finish this statement: “To our company, community impact looks like_______.”
We believe the needs throughout the world are huge, and it’s important to give when our heart strings feel a tug. Supporting local efforts in our city is extremely important. It’s where we live; it’s where we can wrap our arms around those we can see up close and personal. Supporting and giving to our community schools affects everyone’s future.
“As a female business owner, I feel it is an honor and responsibility to do what I can to rally with organizations who research and help fund foundations with heart and cancer research,” said Miller.

Brown’s Heating & Air
1) What sets your company apart in terms of community impact?
“For several years now, I have found local families in need to give to,” said Brandon Brown, owner of Brown’s Heating & Air.

Last year before Christmas, a family’s house burned down. Brown raised more than
$2,000 in gift cards for the family to still have Christmas; $500 of that came directly from
him. Last year, he also collected baby items for a single mom who had no money or supplies. He sent her three truckloads of items including clothes, diapers and toys. Brown is also a proud sponsor of the Challenged Sports Exchange, a local nonprofit group that provides sports to the handicapped. There are lots of stories every year where he gives back and 100% of it has been to local families who have come to him because they know he will get it done.

2) How long have you been practicing these initiatives?
“Ever since I was born, I was raised in a Christian home and was always taught it is better to give then to receive. I have always strived to help others even if it takes away from me and what I need,” said Brown.
He, along with some friends, are also working on starting a local foundation to collect and raise money year round for families who are in need.

3) Finish this statement: “To our company, community impact looks like____.”
“I teach my employees to help customers and others when needed without advertising.
My vision is to help others and improve the surrounding communities without being noticed. I am honored to receive this award, but I do not deserve it,” said Brown. “We believe in paying it forward whether it’s through donations or volunteering. I want my company and my kids to be thankful for what we do have and know that no matter what happens in life—happy or sad—it could always be worse.”

Embrace Home Loans – Lynchburg
1) What sets your company apart in terms of community impact?
The Lynchburg branch regularly volunteers at Gleaning for the World and Lynchburg Daily Bread. In 2015, we logged over 200 volunteer hours. Because of those numbers, our branch won the company’s charity contest, and we were able to donate $1,000 to Nathan’s Hope, Lynchburg Daily Bread and Miriam’s House.
Embrace Home Loans offers two programs that enable us to help our community: “Wear for Care” and “Embrace Cares.” During “Wear for Care,” we pay $2 anytime we would like to wear jeans to work. Each branch, or department at the headquarters, chooses a charity to donate the money to. “Embrace Cares” encompasses anything from food drives to toy drives to volunteering. We care about our community and want to be involved in making it a
better place. We also have Orange Week in May where the whole company volunteers at various locations.

2) How long have you been practicing these initiatives?
The Lynchburg office has been taking part since we became Embrace Home Loans in 2009.

3) Finish this statement: “To our company, community impact looks like_______.”
….making a positive difference in the lives of others…our customers, our employees and our neighbors. It’s seen in the way we operate our business as a family that cares and invest generously in our communities through matching our employees’ charitable donations and supporting them as they volunteer.

1) What sets your company apart in terms of community impact?
In 2014, CEO Watt R. Foster Jr. donated 500 acres to Thomas Road Baptist Church to build a youth camp at the Peaks of Otter in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Currently, this land is being transformed into a children’s camp called Thomas Road Outreach (TRO) with hopes to open summer of 2016. Foster Fuels is continually involved in the transformation and the outreach of the camp. In November 2015, Foster Fuels integrated the promotion of TRO into our Liberty University football game sponsorship to help spread the word of the camp and increase interest in donors and volunteers. We are excited and look forward to seeing the great impact this camp will have on families throughout our community.

Another area that is close to the heart of Foster Fuels is veterans and the military. One way we show appreciation for their sacrifice is by offering to share their stories. We have a section on our website called Veteran Salute where we ask customers, employees and family members to share stories of either their personal experience or the experience of someone else, such as a loved one or a local citizen. We hope to continue to honor those who have served and those currently serving by assisting organizations that support them and by maintaining the Veteran Salute page.

Foster Fuels also desires to help spread the word of cultural struggles such as breast cancer. We have increased awareness by painting a few of our trucks pink. Delivering fuel throughout the community, these trucks also make appearances at public and private events throughout the year. A percentage of the profits from these trucks go to fund breast cancer research with a minimum of $3,000 donated annually.

2) How long have you been practicing these initiatives?
Founded in 1921, Foster Fuels has continually given back to the local community for 95 years. As a family-owned and -operated company, we focus not only on providing excellent service to each of our customers but also on family and community impact.

3) Finish this statement:
“To our company, community impact look like____.”
To our company, community impact looks like the fuel that moves us forward.

Member One Federal Credit Union
1) What sets your company apart in terms of community impact?
We constantly strive to enhance the communities we live and work in. This is a core belief and fundamental to our values. Recent initiatives include:
• Providing financial education to local businesses and colleges.
• Setting up mock interviews to help with professional development at local colleges.
• Assisting with the Lynchburg Morning Rotary Club’s Dictionary Project and helping Rotary Club members with the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign
• Participating in United Way Community Readiness Focus Groups to increase child readiness for early education.
• Sponsoring community events/activities such as the Executive Spelling Bee, Over the Edge for Humankind, “I Love my Family” essay contest, Turkey Trot, D-Day Memorial Flames of Memory.
• Serving on numerous local boards and committees.
• Volunteering at community events such as Touch-a-Truck for the Homebuilders Association of Central VA.
• Raising money for the Lynchburg Humane Society.
• Giving to the 2015 Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce Capital Campaign for help fund a new building.

2) How long have you been practicing
these initiatives?
Since our founding in 1940, we have consistently recognized that business and community go hand
in hand.

3) Finish this statement: “To our company, community impact looks like_______.”
To our company community impact look like a partnership with all those we serve, not just financially, but for the social betterment of our communities.

Stand Up, Inc.
1) What sets your company apart in terms of community impact?
On Sept. 1, 2009, Dan and Kelly Reichard launched Stand Up, Inc., an employment services organization that helps people with disabilities secure and maintain employment through the use of Supported Employment or Job Coaching services.
While providing employment services to individuals in our community, they also learned that many individuals with disabilities did not lose jobs just because of their disability but due to a lack of employment readiness skills. Many people with disabilities were never taught how to seek, secure and maintain employment on their own because many were never expected to work in a competitive setting.

In order to fill this gap, Dan and Kelly created and marketed a pre-vocational training program to area high schools to assist them with readying students in the special education departments. Stand Up has created a program called STEP (Student Transition Employment Program) that pairs “real life” job internships with in-class study to produce graduates that are ready to enter the workforce with reduced support.

2) How long have you been practicing these initiatives_______?
For the last seven years, Stand Up, Inc. has been helping individuals with disabilities become more independent through employment in Central, Southside and Southwest Virginia.

3) Finish this statement: “To our company, community impact looks like_______.”
…assisting individuals increase their independence by providing unequaled personalized planning, support and opportunities for success.

The Corner at Rivermont
1) What sets your company apart in terms of community impact?
We’re intentionally conscious of our carbon footprint and have taken steps to reduce ours by recycling and implementing the first tap wine program in the region. Each keg of wine is the equivalent of 26 bottles of wine and will save 2,340 pounds of trash from the landfill over the life of the keg. The system also eliminates the carbon emissions equivalent to taking a car off the road for two years.

One of our initiatives, “Make Lunch Matter!”, started in January 2016.
As a restaurant, food is the logical way for us to reach out to those in need, so we donated a bowl of soup to Lynchburg Daily Bread for every lunch entrée we served this winter. Each week, we make a hearty, healthy soup for Lynchburg Daily Bread to serve to its clients. To date, we’ve delivered more than 1,397 bowls of soup to feed the hungry. We display jars filled with marbles to show the impact our lunch guests have had on our community, with each marble representing a bowl of soup donated. Each lunch guest also receives a card with their lunch receipt that says, “Your lunch matters!”

2) How long have you been practicing these initiatives?
We started our “Make Lunch Matter!” program in January. Our relationships with local farmers and purveyors started before we even opened last summer. We started developing those relationships in May 2015 in anticipation of our opening at the end of July. At The Corner at Rivermont,
we have maintained a commitment to our community since that opening.
By establishing local partnerships, we are able to offer a delicious seasonal, farm-to-table menu while supporting our local community.

3) Finish this statement:
“To our company, community impact looks like_______.”
… like hungry people eating healthy, hearty soup from The Corner. We believe what sets us apart is our “Make Lunch Matter!” program, helping those in need one bowl of soup at a time.

434 Marketing
1) What sets your company apart in terms of community impact?
As a company, we anticipate the needs of others and want to help foster growth wherever we can within the community. Our leadership is highly involved in the community through mentorship, board membership and continuous volunteer work.

434 Marketing developed and donated the Grassroots online donation portal to the Academy Center of the Arts and donated a buyer persona research project to help the Academy with market positioning. 434’s marketing director Whitney Slightham has also partnered with the Small Business Development Council to teach marketing seminars for local business owners. In 2015, 434 Marketing hosted two complimentary lunches and seminar sessions to teach local small business owners about market research.

In addition to supporting local nonprofits, 434’s leadership is committed to giving back to the community through volunteer work and board participation. Dustin Slightham, 434 Marketing’s co-founder and president, works with the YEA (Young Entrepreneurs Academy) as a mentor each year. He is also a board member for the Academy Center of the Arts.

Matt Schubert, 434 Marketing’s co-founder and CEO, is the Vice Chair for the Region 2000 Technology Council and recently joined the Alliance board for Region 2000. Outside of work, he volunteers regularly at a local food pantry and occasionally teaches adult Sunday school. Whitney Slightham volunteers 24 hours per month as a first responder for the YWCA’s Sexual Assault Response Pxrogram (SARP) at Lynchburg General Hospital. Many 434 Marketing employees and interns also regularly volunteer throughout the community and are encouraged to do so.

2) How long have you been practicing these initiatives?
434 Marketing has offered intern and apprenticeship training programs for over three years. We are committed to developing the local workforce and helping students gain valuable hands-on experience. We have donated service hours to community partners since we started in 2012. Within the past six months, we have donated over 100 service hours to local nonprofits.

3) Finish this statement: “To our company, community impact looks like_______.”
…finding ways to drive value for others. At 434, we work hard for our clients to help them generate meaningful leads and improve their bottom lines. When our clients succeed, we succeed. And, as we grow, we can offer more training and employment opportunities to local professionals.