Embracing Ability, Celebrating Community: Lacek's Latest Community Engagement Partner
The Lacek Group, and our employees, are committed to engaging with—and giving back to—the communities where we live and work.
As part of our ongoing efforts to serve and support those communities, we’re proud to announce our 2023–2024 community-engagement partner: Hammer & NER, a Twin Cities nonprofit dedicated to providing people experiencing intellectual and other disabilities opportunities to live life to the fullest.
For the next two years, The Lacek Group will volunteer time and contribute financially to support Hammer & NER’s extraordinary mission.
A history of giving
The Lacek Group’s community-engagement initiative began nearly 20 years ago when employees advocated for getting involved in our community to support underserved populations.
Since then, every two years, we’ve chosen a new community-engagement partner from organizations nominated by Lacek employees.
Previous partners include People Serving People, AdoptAClassroom.org, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Second Harvest Heartland, Special Olympics of Minnesota, and Habitat for Humanity.
What began as a simple team-building effort to organize group volunteer activities has expanded to include fundraising and pro bono contributions. These efforts have become an integral part of The Lacek Group’s company culture.
“Working with our community engagement partners is a cherished part of our culture. As much as we give, we receive just as much in return from the experience,” said Kelty Rome, Lacek’s senior vice president, Human Resources.
How we do it
To support the community engagement partner, or other charitable organizations, each full-time employee of The Lacek Group receives 24 paid hours annually to conduct volunteer activities. Typically, many employees dedicate a significant portion of those hours to the community engagement partner. In 2022, Lacek employees logged 492 hours with People Serving People, that year’s partner.
Employees of The Lacek Group also support the community engagement partner through fundraising efforts throughout the year. Proceeds from dual fundraising and social events—like the Fall Soup Smackdown and Holiday Gift Basket Raffle—are donated to the current partner organization.
In addition, direct financial contributions made by Lacek employees are matched by Ogilvy, The Lacek Group’s parent company. In 2022, our donations to the community engagement partner from our 250 employees (a number that has now significantly expanded) plus Ogilvy matching totaled $26,152, an amount that helped advance the mission of our community engagement partner.
Making a local impact
The Lacek Group—as an organization and as a group of caring individuals—embraces ongoing efforts to achieve a more equitable and just society.
As part of that aspiration, we engage with and support marginalized and underserved communities in our local area. We select community engagement partner organizations based on several factors, including their reach within the local community, the groups they serve, and the potential for Lacek employees to engage in volunteer activities and make an impact with both direct and in-kind support.
Hammer & NER delivers on all of the key selection criteria.
Nurturing the whole community
Recognized leaders and advocates for sustainable disability services in Minnesota, Hammer & NER provide 24-hour, onsite service and support for 370 individuals. More than 500 caregivers and office staff operate and maintain 35 group homes in the west metro, 24 group homes in the east metro, and nine apartment programs in 20 communities.
Sustained by a large network of volunteers and 1,500 financial donors, Hammer & NER respects individuals’ abilities and assists them in pursuing new opportunities and reaching their goals.
“Over the next two years, the partnership with Hammer & NER offers a wide range of opportunities for Lacek employees to get involved,” says community engagement committee member Sharla Duerre. “We’re thrilled that The Lacek Group and our employees—both in-person and remote—will be able to connect and engage with Hammer & NER clients, volunteers, and staff through an exciting variety of events and activities.”
Lacek employees will engage directly with Hammer & NER and the people they serve through activities like in-person or virtual game nights or sending cards to individuals living with disabilities. Volunteers will also support the operation of Hammer & NER communities by taking care of tasks like raking leaves, cleaning up before or after onsite events, and assisting with Hammer & NER’s annual fundraising gala.
“In our 100-year history, we have counted on community members, partners and volunteers to provide meaningful life experiences for the people we serve with intellectual disabilities,” shares Ellen Timmerman-Borer, chief development officer at Hammer & NER. “The Lacek team has cooked meals for our group homes, organized game nights across many locations, provided used computers to those we serve and our employees, made financial commitments and are showing up across the Twin Cities with us. They have stepped up with great enthusiasm and we are thrilled to count them among our ‘Family, Extended.’”
Lacek values in action
Recently, employees of The Lacek Group participated in “Cooks in the Kitchen”—an ongoing Hammer & NER program in which volunteers prepare healthy meals which are delivered to several homes across the Twin Cities that are often short staffed.
“It was a real pleasure volunteering! I loved the cooking and the comradery,” said Annette Lam, office administrator at The Lacek Group. “It was also very interesting meeting the Hammer & NER employees and learning more about the history of the organization. I look forward to volunteering again.”
Making a difference in the diverse and vibrant communities that make up the Twin Cities is a core value for The Lacek Group and our employees. We look forward to supporting the mission of Hammer & NER and their resident communities over the next two years.
The Lacek Group is a Minneapolis-based data-driven loyalty, experience, and customer engagement agency that has been delivering personalization at scale for its world-class clients for more than 30 years. The Lacek Group is an Ogilvy company.