By Deanna Leonard, M.B.A.
Vice President and General Manager – Professional Healthcare Apparel
Encompass Group, LLC
One of the Oxford definitions of gratitude is “readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” Thanks to hard work, innovation, excellent employees, partners, and customers - and yes, kindness - Encompass has had the good fortune to enjoy tremendous success as a manufacturer and marketer of reusable textiles, professional apparel, and disposable and single-use medical products. We don’t take our achievements for granted, and we consider it our duty as a corporate citizen to acknowledge them by sharing them.
We’re on a Mission
“We believe that every patient, resident, caregiver and family member should feel Safe and Comfortable in today’s healthcare environments.” That’s the mission statement we live by every day...and it’s become even more urgent to us since the COVID-19 pandemic began. We’re finding new ways to help those with the greatest need because we care about individuals – from those in our community to those we’ll never meet.
We know that underserved and rural healthcare facilities are always struggling to obtain adequate equipment and apparel. So we collaborated with long-time partner Jockey International to create the “Buy Scrubs/Give Scrubs” program. For every unique individual order on Jockey.com with at least one Jockey® scrub item, we donated Jockey scrubs to a facility in need. Amazingly, we donated more than 20,000 scrub units in just the first month!
Emergencies Call for Inspiration and Action
It seems that natural disasters have become a way of life in our country and our world, with increasingly severe and widespread effects. When catastrophic events occur, we quickly try to determine the most pressing needs and how to make those impacted feel safe and comfortable, either on our own or by teaming with one of our generous partners.
When Hurricane Ida hit the Gulf Coast this summer, we were able to deliver a truckload of scrubs and other apparel to those healthcare providers most hurt by the devastation in Louisiana. In response to the California wildfires, we made multiple donations of scrubs, towels and coats to employees and families of Dignity Health, the largest hospital provider in California. Since we’ve partnered with Dignity for some time in providing apparel to the homeless, we saw the perfect opportunity to assist a charitable ally.
Stepping Up to the Unimaginable
The coronavirus pandemic has become a “chronic emergency” in the healthcare industry. The unprecedented and ongoing need for PPE gowns and scrubs, along with a seriously disrupted supply chain, drove us to help as many in the industry as we could. Even some of our individual employees made or bought and delivered their own contributions. Here are a few of the ways we tried to keep people safe and comfortable in the face of COVID-19:
- Donated 10,000 scrubs to the temporary hospital at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City
- Donated 250,000 tier-3 isolation gowns to FEMA for front-line distribution
- Donated 1,200 sets of scrubs to seven hospitals near our headquarters in Georgia in honor of the Year of the Nurse (2020)
- Donated 10,000 N95 masks and 10,000 surgical masks to the fire department of Kenosha, Wisconsin, hometown of Jockey®
- Supplied OR sheeting material to a Georgia health system for making surgical masks for front-line workers
- Donated scrubs to Native American reservations and local senior living facilities hit especially hard by the pandemic
Make Giving Back Part of Your Business Plan
Any organization can find ways to show appreciation for its success and turn compassion into tangible support. You don’t have to make grand gestures. Many companies have instituted paid days of service when employees can give back to their neighborhoods or communities. But the commitment to giving back must come from the very top of your company and receive complete buy-in from everyone from the C-suite to the interns.
What else should be part of your formula for successfully giving back?
- Creative thinking
- Like-minded partners
- Quick action
- Detailed logistics
- Financial planning
Speaking of the cost of corporate generosity, Encompass actually has an annual emergency budget, making it easier for us to identify and address unforeseen needs.
The people and organizations we’ve helped are so grateful - and that makes us feel amazing. But we don’t give back because we want the recipients of our efforts to appreciate and praise us. Whether large or small contributions, one time or many, in our own backyard or across the country, giving back is just the right thing to do. Let us know how you pay it forward - or be the person in your company to get the ball rolling.
Deanna Leonard is Vice President and General Manager - Professional Healthcare Apparel for Encompass Group, LLC.