Many Houston-area employers give back to the community

March 24, 2018 GMT

Going to work and earning a living are not only about getting a paycheck, they offer the chance to be part of a company that is part of the community, in more ways than one.

During Hurricane Harvey, recall those like Jim McIngvale of Gallery Furniture, who welcomed storm refugees and servicemen with shelter and food. There’s also Dell’s founder Michael Dell, who pledged millions to assist his fellow Texans.

The list goes on, including Whataburger, Tegna and NRG Energy, which all supported recent hurricane relief.

If you’re looking to work for a company that has a culture of giving back in numerous ways, your choices are excellent, especially in Houston. It doesn’t take a natural disaster to find companies that give back a lot, whether through volunteering, donations, corporate sponsorships or scholarships.

It’s not uncommon to find volunteers in all types of situations from major businesses such as BASF Corporation, a chemical manufacturer. Although it does provide financial support to the community in different venues, its staff also volunteers with students who are interested in STEM subjects.

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Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods not only has Spec’s Charitable Foundation for education purposes, it is active in many organizations in Houston. A few of these include sponsorship of the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, partnership with the Catholic Diocese of Galveston-Houston, scholarship provider at University of North Texas and lifetime underwriter of their One O’Clock Lab Band.

The foundation’s largest fundraising event is Vintage Virtuoso, benefiting the Houston Symphony’s educational programs.

“We manage multiple fundraising efforts,” said John Rydman, Spec’s owner. “We’re from Texas and grew up here. This is who we are. Texans are giving people. We’re here to be part of the community.”

Spec’s support of the community is evident in its never-ending outreach efforts.

It recently presented a $25,000 check to the Houston Food Bank to assist in HFB’s “replenishing the shelves” after Harvey. Through Spec’s partnership with Diageo, one of the world’s largest producers of spirits and a key producer of beer, a promotion featured that every bottle of Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel sold meant a $1 donation to that cause.

Another top area employer, H-E-B, is committed to the community by supporting Houston’s nonprofits through service and philanthropy, according to Cyndy Garza Roberts, H-E-B public affairs, Houston.

Each year the company donates more than 5 percent of its pre-tax earnings to charitable organizations that make a positive difference in their local communities.

“At the heart of H-E-B’s charitable giving are hunger relief, education, military support, the environment and diversity,” she said.

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In addition, H-E-B invests sweat equity. On any given day, hundreds H-E-B partners can be found dedicating their time and energy to volunteer projects across Texas, Garza Roberts said.

Each year, these partners volunteer more than 100,000 hours of service in Texas communities, with programs including the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards, the H-E-B Feast of Sharing dinners, H-E-B Operation Appreciation and the H-E-B Food Bank Assistance Program.

“This ‘spirit of giving’ is an integral part of everyday business at H-E-B,” Garza Roberts said.