Letting employees light the way

2018 Giving Guide

Its generators help provide power in a multitude of situations, so it only makes sense Generac Power Systems Inc. would shed some light on its biggest fundraising activity.

At the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walks in Wisconsin, the power for the booths and lights along the route is supplied by the Waukesha-based manufacturer. The walks are held in Milwaukee, Madison and Appleton in October. Generac is a six-year state leader in funds raised via Light the Night, this year pooling $150,000 through about 400 participating employees.

The Generac team at Light the Night 2017.

“People bring their pets and they bring their whole families and it’s a really nice event for everyone,” said Kelly Davis, manager of community relations at Generac. “We had one employee in Waukesha who said if he was able to raise $500, he would shave his head.”

Nathan Bilitz, inside sales team lead at Generac, gears up for the 2017 Light the Night Walk.

That employee, inside sales team lead Nathan Bilitz, raised $610, shaved his head and painted his head and beard orange for the walk.

Other employees have come up with creative fundraisers like church potlucks, walking taco sales and pie-in-the-face contests to raise funds for Light the Night, Davis said.

“We don’t just write a check,” she said. “We really follow (the employees’) lead. We don’t tell them, ‘You must do X, Y and Z.’ They really want to.

“The business has been impacted greatly by storms that hit the nation recently and our employees are, despite increasing workloads, still finding time and want to raise funds for this cause.”

The 2,600 employees at Generac’s nine Wisconsin facilities have developed a year-round cycle of giving which includes Light the Night.

Generac equipment powers the lights and booths for the walk.

“At the beginning of the year, we will ask employees to submit a nomination for a charity and then we have a program called Friday Fun Days,” on which a particular charity is highlighted and supported through fundraising activities, Davis said.

Employees have three options to contribute to their chosen charities: They can participate in the Generac Gives program to nominate a charity for a direct donation by the company; they can volunteer at a nonprofit and direct a payment for their time to the organization from the company; or they can make a donation and receive an employer match in cash or product.

“If an employee lets us know that they volunteered five hours with a charity, we’ll give a donation of $25 an hour to that charity,” Davis said. “It’s just a way that we can support a nonprofit and also our employees in giving back directly.”

In its philanthropic efforts, Generac prioritizes giving in the areas of education, veteran support and the broader Wisconsin community.

“All of our giving activities start with an employee, so this Generac Gives program and the giving of the product or the volunteering, that’s all year round,” Davis said. “Employees can apply for that all year round and it’s very focused on what an employee wants to do and how they want to support their local community.”

Its generators help provide power in a multitude of situations, so it only makes sense Generac Power Systems Inc. would shed some light on its biggest fundraising activity.

At the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walks in Wisconsin, the power for the booths and lights along the route is supplied by the Waukesha-based manufacturer. The walks are held in Milwaukee, Madison and Appleton in October. Generac is a six-year state leader in funds raised via Light the Night, this year pooling $150,000 through about 400 participating employees.

The Generac team at Light the Night 2017.

“People bring their pets and they bring their whole families and it’s a really nice event for everyone,” said Kelly Davis, manager of community relations at Generac. “We had one employee in Waukesha who said if he was able to raise $500, he would shave his head.”

Nathan Bilitz, inside sales team lead at Generac, gears up for the 2017 Light the Night Walk.

That employee, inside sales team lead Nathan Bilitz, raised $610, shaved his head and painted his head and beard orange for the walk.

Other employees have come up with creative fundraisers like church potlucks, walking taco sales and pie-in-the-face contests to raise funds for Light the Night, Davis said.

“We don’t just write a check,” she said. “We really follow (the employees’) lead. We don’t tell them, ‘You must do X, Y and Z.’ They really want to.

“The business has been impacted greatly by storms that hit the nation recently and our employees are, despite increasing workloads, still finding time and want to raise funds for this cause.”

The 2,600 employees at Generac’s nine Wisconsin facilities have developed a year-round cycle of giving which includes Light the Night.

Generac equipment powers the lights and booths for the walk.

“At the beginning of the year, we will ask employees to submit a nomination for a charity and then we have a program called Friday Fun Days,” on which a particular charity is highlighted and supported through fundraising activities, Davis said.

Employees have three options to contribute to their chosen charities: They can participate in the Generac Gives program to nominate a charity for a direct donation by the company; they can volunteer at a nonprofit and direct a payment for their time to the organization from the company; or they can make a donation and receive an employer match in cash or product.

“If an employee lets us know that they volunteered five hours with a charity, we’ll give a donation of $25 an hour to that charity,” Davis said. “It’s just a way that we can support a nonprofit and also our employees in giving back directly.”

In its philanthropic efforts, Generac prioritizes giving in the areas of education, veteran support and the broader Wisconsin community.

“All of our giving activities start with an employee, so this Generac Gives program and the giving of the product or the volunteering, that’s all year round,” Davis said. “Employees can apply for that all year round and it’s very focused on what an employee wants to do and how they want to support their local community.”

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