Alpha Stories

Published on Tuesday, March 20, 2012

BP employees take company challenge to donate $500 -- and they choose the Alpha-1 Foundation

BP employees take company challenge to donate $500 -- and they choose the Alpha-1 Foundation

If you had the opportunity to help enrich the lives of those living in your community, and the company you worked for gave you $500 to spend on a charity, organization or fundraising group, would you do it??

BP of America makes just such an offer: employees can donate up to $500 through the company’s “Fabric of America Fund.” BP workers can donate either one $500 check to an organization or two $250 checks to two different organizations.

Michael and Lori Szymanski both work for BP America. Mike is the Manager of Control Center Operations at BP Pipeline in Tulsa, OK. He’s been working with the company for 20 years. His wife, Lori, is a Damage Prevention Dispatcher and an Alpha.

So when the opportunity came up for the Szymanskis, there was no question where the money would go. Both donated their checks to the Alpha-1 Foundation. Even better, they began recruiting others to do the same.

When Mike realized many people were not utilizing BP’s generous offer, he began encouraging everyone to take advantage. “It’s silly to waste it. It’s like getting $500 for free,” he’d say.

Many were simply unaware of the opportunity, others felt just too busy to apply, so when Mike brought up the idea of donating the money to the Alpha-1 Foundation, they readily agreed. People began coming to him and asking for his help in setting up the online request.

“Because they know my wife, and how important it is to her to raise money for Alpha-1 research, they were all generous enough to share their designations,” Mike said.

Through July, 11 people had donated checks through the BP program, raising a total of $5,500. “To have that many people being that generous is just huge,” he said. “They could have used the money anywhere, but instead decided to join our cause to raise money for Alpha-1.”

BP of America has been donating money through the program since October of 2007.
The online funding program ends Sept. 30, and a decision will be made then whether to continue the program in 2009. If every employee takes advantage of this offer, the company can raise more than $12 million for organizations across America helping to make BP a “stronger thread in the fabric of our community.”

“It’s great to work for a company that encourages this kind of community involvement on both a corporate and local level,” said Mike Szymanski. “We do everything we can to get people involved in their community.”

ABOUT WORKPLACE GIVING: Workplace giving is any kind of charitable contribution done at the workplace, often by voluntary payroll deduction. United Way participants need only write “Alpha-1 Foundation” on the line for “other” designees on the payroll deduction form. Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) participants (postal workers, military, FBI and IRS, for example) must specify our code, which is 11717 to select the Alpha-1 Foundation. Hundreds of companies offer a matching gift program, which can double or triple your contribution. Many companies offer incentives to employees for volunteering to support a charity of your choice. To find out if your company has a program to encourage workplace giving, contact your human resources department.