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In late 2016, while attending the INC 5000 conference, Transportation Impact’s Vice President of Sales Berkley Stafford heard Tony Robbins speak about how a company was giving back to the community by donating both time and resources. Excited by how this concept would be a perfect fit for TI’s ethos of philanthropy, Berkley took the idea home with him to Emerald Isle.

From this seed germinated IMPACT1 — Improvements Made by People ACTing as 1 — a pledge to provide 1% in goodwill services, 1% of employee time, and 1% of company profit to the community.

“One of our founding principles is to give back to our community,” says Co-founder Keith Byrd. “We also want our people to have that feeling of giving back, and IMPACT1 is a perfect way to do that.”

Each employee has 20 hours of paid time each year to use in volunteering, half for a company-sponsored charity and half for a charity of their choice. This time spent working to help others has had a profound effect not only on the recipients, but also on the employees themselves.

“IMPACT1 means not isolating ourselves from the surrounding community,” says Wesley Hitson, Programmer. “I enjoy looking for volunteer opportunities with different organizations in the area. It allows me to get a sense for the work that others are doing and affords me the opportunity to help other people in varying ways. It makes me proud to say that I work for a company that gives back so generously.”

The spirit of giving that pervades the company also acts like a magnet, attracting employees who also embody that spirit. “Knowing that a successful business puts forth a program like this was certainly a motivational factor when accepting a position to work here,” says Leslie Sutton, Partner Development Supervisor. “Social impact and business success are deeply intertwined, so a huge part of having a distinctive, compelling culture is having your people engaged around your organizational values. I love that our local community is more aware of the charitable deeds performed through IMPACT1 than of our business purpose — their understanding is like ‘They do something with shipping or transportation, but I know they’re nice people’.”

Since its inception in March 2017, IMPACT1 has provided more than $1 million in tangible, targeted, life-altering support to the community of Emerald Isle and surrounding communities. It is also inspiring other local business owners to create their own IMPACT1 programs.

One such is Jimmy Farrington, whose niece, Jillian Farrington, took on the role of Marketing Coordinator at TI in September 2016.  After hearing from Jillian about her volunteering experiences and seeing the effect in the community, Farrington now wants to bring the initiative to his landscaping company, Yardworks. “We are celebrating our thirtieth year in business this year. In thirty years we have done several fundraisers, sponsorships, and projects to help people. But IMPACT1 is a unique way to involve our employees and give back in a more consistent way each year, in addition to our other charitable efforts.”

He also sees how collaboration could multiply the effect. “We would be so proud at Yardworks Inc. to team up with IMPACT1 and Transportation Impact. We have watched the great things TI is doing for the community and we want to be a part of it. And we hope that this will create a chain reaction for other local businesses to join in and help the community.”

For all involved, the rewards of giving are great. To see the positive changes that your time, effort, and financial contributions bring about in people’s lives gives greater meaning to the work you do when you return to the office. As Leslie Sutton describes it: “It’s the happiness effect that takes over everyone involved — those receiving but also those giving can’t help but smile.”

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