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Another annual event has come and gone looking a little differently than it did last year. Founder’s Day is hugely important at Cripe, but 2020 made us get creative with how we celebrated the birthday of our Founder, Paul I. Cripe.

Last year, we merged our Day of Service with Founder’s Day to create a day full of philanthropy and team building.

Like so many events in 2020, Founder’s Day was virtual this year, but that does not mean it was any less impactful or fun. Going virtual also meant that we were able to learn more lessons than we might have learned otherwise.

A huge lesson that Founder’s Day in 2020 taught us, is that above all else we must always persevere. Just because there were obstacles, did not mean that we were going to cancel the event or miss an opportunity to gather as an entire company.

No. Instead of giving up, we went to the drawing board and came up with some unique ways to celebrate.

Members of our senior leadership team dropped off goody boxes to employees’ homes (masked up and six feet apart of course). The boxes contained snacks to enjoy during the virtual celebration, some new branded gear for everyone and much more!

 

We recognized new hires, promotions, retirements, and those who had phased into their vested employee-ownership. 2020 may have slowed some things down, but we were able to grow as a firm and welcomed many new faces and congratulated our colleagues for their hard work and achievements. The directors of architecture, civil engineering and land surveying gave updates on the efforts of our different service lines and encouraged us to keep working hard through the end of 2020 and beyond!

Another recognition was the winner of the Ila M. Badger Community Service Award.

Cripe does not give out many awards throughout the year, so the Ila M. Badger Community Service Award is very important to the firm and highly anticipated. It is awarded to an employee who has done exceptional work within our community to make it a better place. Our winner this year, Christy Villas, was surprised at her home with a check from the Cripe Charitable Foundation that she can give to a community service organization of her choosing.

 

 

Last year, on our Day of Service we volunteered as a company with Million Meal Movement. This year, it wasn’t possible to gather with that many people, but two new initiatives, introduced by Fred Green, were created to ensure that our philanthropy efforts continue to make an impact.

The first was the rollout of eight additional hours that each employee will receive beginning in 2021 in order to volunteer. Employees will be able to take paid time off to pursue philanthropic and community service initiatives of their choosing. This will allow Cripe employees to make an impact in our communities even if we are still unable to gather as a large group and complete a Day of Service together, though of course we hope that isn’t the case.

The other initiative came in the goody boxes that were dropped off to employees. During the Founder’s Day program, everyone was told to remove the envelope labeled “Pay it Forward 2020” and open it at the same time.

Inside was $40. Employees were instructed to use that money to pay it forward in any way they saw fit. It could be through a cash donation to a cause they care about, using the money at a locally owned business to help keep them operating through this difficult time, or anything else Cripe employees might judge to benefit their communities.

Many of our employees have already “Paid It Forward” and below are just a few examples:

  • Giving extra tips to food and grocery delivery drivers
  • Donating to Wheeler Mission
  • Donating to cosmetologists and other service workers who have been affected by quarantine regulations
  • Donating to Gleaners Food Bank and other food pantries
  • Donating to girls sports groups
  • Purchasing cold weather clothing items and donating them to PourHouse
  • Supplying pet food and other necessities for animal shelters
  • Purchasing gifts for children in the foster care system who are not currently placed in a home
  • Giving it to their children who then decided to donate it to Make-A-Wish
  • Donating to Angel Tree so a young boy could have sports equipment for Christmas
  • Donating through a church to help purchase a gift basket for two sisters in the ICU
  • Purchasing a Christmas gift for their mentee who doesn’t usually receive anything
  • Donating the money, along with a sink and other tools and supplies, to a local family who needed a bathroom renovation completed, but didn’t have the means
  • Purchased grocery gift cards for local families in need
  • Secretly purchasing an ice cream treat for a young family with a handicapped member

Many of our colleagues are keeping their Pay It Forward money handy, knowing that they will be called to use it in a way they hadn’t expected or hadn’t planned out, such as at a restaurant or in line to buy groceries.

Even though we couldn’t gather and work on one large community service project as we have in year’s past or participate in Founder’s Day festivities in person, Cripe was still able to make a big impact on our community and celebrate the achievements of the past year!

Cripe has been a part of the Stanley E. Hunt Real Estate Development Case Competition from the beginning in 2008. As Director of Real Estate, Al Oak and his wife Shary, oversee the creation of the competitions each year and the Cripe Charitable Foundation has supported the event since the beginning as well.

This year, Al Oak, Chairman + CEO, Fred Green, President + COO, and Denny Southerland, Vice President of Sales, were all judges for the virtual competition and Dennis McGuire, Vice President of Survey + Real Estate Services was a guest speaker.

Over 20 teams in the Real Estate Development & Appraisal class presented development plans for a former hospital site in downtown Bloomington, but only the top four were chosen to compete in the final competition.

This year, there was a tie for first place! Both the team of CJ Alexander, Cameron Hess, Wilder North, and Samuel Pittman, as well as the team of Dilan Rajpurkar, Michael Romanelli, Jeff Serbin, and Torin Siegel will receive a $1000 prize.

The Stanley E. Hunt Real Estate Development Case Competitions are one of the most enjoyable events Cripe takes part in and supports throughout the year and even though, much like many other events this year, it was a little different, it was a still a huge success!