The move to remote working amidst the COVID-19 pandemic inspired Burgess Company, a local commercial construction sub-contractor, to partner with the Oklahoma Board of Architects, Landscape Architects, and Registered Interior Designers (OBA) in developing their Credits for a Cause program. This innovative program raised $11,450 to be split between two Oklahoma non-profit organizations - the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and the Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma.
In Oklahoma, licensed architects and designers are required to maintain a level of education credits to retain their license. In lieu of the typical in-person training with a provided meal, Burgess Company partnered with OBA to provide virtual training during the months of May and June, donating the money they would have typically allotted for the meals during an in-person training class. "The Oklahoma Board of Architects, Landscape Architects and Registered Interior Designers is excited and proud to have partnered with Burgess Company to provide Oklahoma licensees with necessary continuing education opportunities in a way that also gave back to Oklahoma and its citizens during a time of need," said Lauren Vaughn, OBA enforcement compliance officer.
The 15 online courses offered during the Credits for a Cause program series saw more than 209 individual participants from 23 states across the U.S. "This spring and summer, Oklahomans saw many disruptions to their normal business practices. Burgess Company wanted to come up with a creative way to continue to deliver professional education opportunities to our customers, while also giving back to our neighbors in need," said Erika Wright, architectural consultant at Burgess Company. A sizeable donation match was also contributed by Burgess business partner, Moderco - a Canadian based manufacturer of operable wall partitions.
One in four Oklahoma children live with food insecurity, a number expected to worsen amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. The $5765 donation to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma will be matched, dollar for dollar, thanks to their current "Food for Kids" matching campaign. "We love to see Oklahoma companies finding innovative ways during the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to give back to the communities where they live and work," said Deb Bunting, interim CEO of the Regional Food Bank. "The work done by Burgess Company and OBA will help to provide 46,120 meals to Oklahomans living with food insecurity thanks to the generous donation by Burgess Company via their meal funds."
"Innovation, especially in 2020 and the age of COVID-19, is how businesses stay vital and relevant. It is great that the Burgess Company is not only innovative and thoughtful in their business practices but also in their philanthropy," said Dr. Kim Winton, CCO Board Vice Chair. Steve Bender, National Wildlife Federation's Director of Conservation Partnerships for OK, KS, IA and TX, stated "the National Wildlife Federation is always excited when our affiliates, like the Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma, find new and out-of-the-box ways to fund their important efforts. The partnership with the Burgess Company is a great example of how business and conservation efforts can work closely together to benefit wildlife and conservation".
"With back-to-school season here, many of our school children and their families rely on the Regional Food Bank's Backpack program to supplement nutrition in their homes. We wanted to be able to be part of giving to feed these families during a time of great need in our state," added Erika Wright with Burgess Company. "Additionally, the Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma does incredibly important long term work in our state to provide a unified voice for common-sense conservation policy, encouraging Oklahoma's youth to connect with nature and learn about wildlife and habitats, and creates opportunities for citizens and lawmakers to become more aware of conservation issues impact in our state. This is an area of giving that is important to our company, so we wanted to support the efforts of this incredible organization as well. We are humbled and honored to play a role in furthering the mission of these non-profits and we challenge other industries to do the same with their revised online business practices."