Forty-seven Fineline Volunteers Serve the Community
When asked how and why Ric Miller, President of Fineline Printing Group, decided to create the formalized corporate social responsibility program, iConnect!, he smiled and replied. “I’ve worked here forever and I always say that I work for other people. I work for the customer. I work for the sales reps. I work for the guys in bindery. I have a vision for excellent customer service and it is my job to make sure that everyone at Fineline has what they need to provide that level of service for our customers. When I can provide a customer with a product that positively effects their business, they compliment the sales rep who mentions it to me. It’s more than solid business. It feels good to help someone excel in their job.
“It feels good to serve others.”
iConnect! came about because I wanted to find a way for everyone at Fineline to have a chance to experience the feeling of serving others in a way that was tangible; very hands on. I wanted to find a project that would make both Indianapolis and Fineline a better place.”
Ric didn’t have to look far for an opportunity. He noticed a brochure that Fineline was printing for ProAct Indy and began reading about the non-profit whose mission is “to engage youth in public service that educates, delights, and inspires the youth and those they serve”.
A big fan of the win/win, partnering with ProAct fit the criteria that Ric was looking for in a service project. He wanted to make sure that Fineline employees could share the service opportunity with their children and other family members. He wanted Fineline volunteers to meet the people that they would be serving and experience the joy that comes from serving others. Ric loved the idea that while meeting all the criteria he had in mind, Fineline would also be helping the kids at ProAct.
Derrin Slack, ProAct Founder and Executive Director, was contacted. He identified an opportunity for Fineline volunteers to serve the food insecure members of the Stringtown community, located on the near Westside of Indianapolis.
On Saturday, November 4th, forty-seven Fineline employees and family members donned their bright yellow iConnect! shirts and met for the company’s first official corporate service project at The Lord’s Pantry at Anna’s House.
Fineline volunteers eagerly set up tables, offloaded trucks, sorted food, set up displays, distributed food to clients as they shopped, and carried bags of groceries to cars. Bilingual iConnect! volunteers translated and served as a bridge between many of the clients and Fineline volunteers.
Still other Fineline volunteers were outside manning the grill, serving lunch, and entertaining the children of Anna House clients at the Fineline sponsored block party. At the end of the day, after 200 of the pantry’s 800 registered clients had received their weeks’ worth of groceries, Fineline volunteers began the task of packing up any leftover perishable food to be delivered to other food pantries and reorganizing the tables for the Wednesday community dinner that serves approximately 175 Stringtown residents.
iConnect! volunteers spoke very positively about their service experience. Directors worked side by side with production associates sorting potatoes and unloading boxes of food in preparation for the influx of clients. Parents had an opportunity to model community service to their children. Many reported having conversations with their children about gratitude and accepting others who are different from themselves. Still other Fineline volunteers signed up to sponsor Anna’s House families for Christmas. -As a company, Fineline is sponsoring a family of eleven!
When asked to evaluate the inaugural event, Ric replied, “I think our first event went pretty well. People seemed to enjoy it. I think we broke down some silos within the company. Employees and their families had a chance to reflect on how blessed we all are. We may not have everything that we want, but we strive to ensure that Fineline employees are able to support a family. You will not find any $10 an hour jobs at Fineline. I refuse to run a company that does not pay a living wage or provides insurance for all”.
Concern for others is not simply good business strategy. It is a way of life for the Fine line president. It was not unusual for Ric’s mother and step-father, who both worked in social services at Central State Hospital, to invite their clients to the family’s Thanksgiving dinner and other celebrations. As a youngster, Ric quickly learned early on that these guests were the best that they could be, given their circumstances. In fact, they were often funny and “pretty cool”.
For nearly 37 years, Fineline has been involved in the community, sponsoring various charitable and civic endeavors as well as donating services. It’s easy to see why. It’s just part of our DNA.
Watch Fineline Volunteers in Action: