As our country began to emerge from the tragedy of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021, many of us felt immense gratitude. After a year of confinement, and with so many loved ones lost in this once-in-a-generation virus, it made sense that we reassess our priorities. Armada has been a great success in the realm of commercial real estate underwriting since we opened our doors in 2006, and while we have always placed an emphasis on giving to charitable causes we believe in, it felt especially important for us to engage in meaningful philanthropy in 2021.
We are proud to report that we donated more than $35,000 to charities in Greenville, SC and other locales where Armada does business. Under the stewardship of Armada CEO Matt Legge, Armada employees were also encouraged to make greater use of VTO (Volunteer Time Off) hours to give back to the people and communities where we both live and do business. As Legge explains, “the Armada team works incredibly hard. Our industry demands long hours. Nonetheless, our employees are passionate about giving back. One of our core goals in 2021, and years past, has been for each employee to volunteer for at least 8 hours per year.”
In response to this goal, Armada employees really stepped up to the plate in 2021, spending a total 343 VTO hours volunteering their time to nonprofit organizations in Greenville SC and elsewhere.
For some of our employees, this meant volunteering at the Greenville Humane Society, preparing the crates for sick and abused animals and assembling veterinary supplies. Others chose to donate their time to organizations such as Meals on Wheels, which enables volunteers to make a big difference in a small amount of time: as the organization is eager to point out, you can better the lives of 10 people on your lunch break.
In the fall, numerous Armada employees found themselves elbow deep in mulch, offering our help in landscaping a new park at the Sterling Community Center in the South Carolina Upstate. (The Sterling Community Center provides many community programs from after-school help for children to events for our senior citizens.) Still others baked homemade cookies for our soldiers overseas through an organization called Angel Bakers.
While this list barely scratches the surface of the volunteering efforts of Armada’s employees in 2021, it gives a good sense of the scope of our activities. We refrained from focusing our efforts on one charitable cause or event, deciding instead that the best way to give back to the community was to allow our employees to decide on the most meaningful and impactful volunteering opportunities for them.
At the same time, we also engaged in direct donations to charitable organizations and engaged in philanthropic campaigns on a company-wide level in 2021. For instance, Armada gave a substantial donation to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer (CKC), which served the dual purpose of supporting the CKC’s primary mission in raising money to combat childhood cancer, while also providing financial support to CKC’s partner centers.
To date, Armada has donated $60,434 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.
During the holiday season, in particular, we volunteer more time to some of our favorite charities. Through the organization SAFY, whose mission is to strengthen families throughout Greenville and the South Carolina Upstate, our employees went on a spending spree in purchasing Christmas gifts for adults with severe developmental delays. Likewise, for A Child’s Haven, a nonprofit that has invested in the community for 29 years by providing necessary behavioral health support to children, Armada donated pajamas to all the children under their care for their annual holiday party.
While Armada enjoys giving for its own sake, we also enjoy “competing” for a good cause. Way back in February of this year, we participated in DIGDEEP’s Fill It Forward challenge, which was intended to bring awareness to water conservation efforts nationwide—in particular, the lack of potable drinking water that plagues many American communities.
As a company, Armada set a benchmark of reusing 1,400 water bottles over the course of the month. We surpassed this mark after only six days; in the month of February, we achieved 5,700 resuses. You can read more about the Fill It Forward Challenge, including how to participate, on our website.
Suffice it to say, charitable giving is very important to Armada, and we hope to increase both the time our employees spend volunteering, as well as our charitable donations in the coming year.