GROUP EFFORT: Orange Day 2011, when Embrace Home Loans employees donated sporting goods to local schools and nonprofits, was held on the company’s 28th anniversary in business.
Embrace Home Loans
By Susan Shalhoub Contributing Writer
Embrace Home Loans, a mortgage lender with more than 500 employees in 25 offices across the U.S., puts the personal touch on charitable giving here in Rhode Island.
For many years, said Derek Lombard, director of talent development, the company donated to nonprofits. Now, it gives to real people – friends, family, employees or community members – who need help with medical expenses, recovering after a house fire or costs to bury a loved one. “There is no tax deduction,” in giving this way, said Lombard, “but to us it just makes sense.”
When a commissioned employee’s wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer, co-workers donated so he could take care of bills and spend time with his family, Lombard said. Often they do not know the employee or individual they are helping.
Contributions are generally fueled by Jeans Day for Charity, which are held on Fridays. “The minimum is $3,” said Lombard. “But many times people give well in excess of that.”
Embrace puts on a Rhode Island holiday event each year that includes delivery of 300 fresh-cut Christmas trees. “People come with their families and pick out a tree. Santa is there. We have train rides, a luncheon and crafts for the kids,” said Lombard.
The company also promotes employee health with extra warehouse space, contracted fitness trainers and ongoing exercise programs. Lombard said participation is high: “Every other day you’ll see employees running the hill or lifting weights.” Staffers can also join a gym – Embrace picks up half the cost, he said. •