The Gift of Giving

Luck Companies Celebrates Its Centennial By Empowering Associates To Contribute To The Charity Of Their Choice.

By Therese Dunphy

In 2023, Luck Companies marked 100 years in business by reflecting on its core values and traditions and celebrating them throughout a year-long campaign that included 34 events.

From the time it was founded by Charles Luck Jr., Luck has been synonymous with philanthropy, beginning with the donation of an ambulance to a local fire department in its early days.

“Supporting the community and caring for others was always important to my great-grandpa,” noted Richard Luck, executive vice president, Luck Companies, explaining that the family’s goal has always been to positively impact people. “We get to do that both through our operating business, but also through supporting the communities where we live and work,” he said. “There’s just always been a ton of joy and fulfillment that our family has gotten out of being engaged in, and giving back to, the communities where we operate.”

Laying the Ground Work
The family – and company’s – core values informed decision-making as it planned the centennial celebration, with preparations beginning two years prior to kick-off in January 2023. “We really wanted to mark this milestone with events and programming oriented to who we are,” Luck said. “We wanted to celebrate throughout the year in a different way, and in a way that represented all the things we have stood for over the last 100 years.”

Through brainstorming sessions, the team landed on three pillars that focused on gathering associates to spend time together, supporting the community, and encouraging associates’ personal growth. As planning progressed, the team decided it wanted to have the community-focused pillar be truly inspirational.

As a result, the team developed the Gift of Giving campaign. Through the initiative, each associate could designate a non-profit of their choosing to receive a $1,000 donation from the Luck Foundation in his or her name. The campaign ran for one month with 100% participation among associates. During 2023, a total of $1 million was given to more than 600 unique 501(c)3 organizations in 36 states.

During a single month, Luck Companies associates could designate a non-profit of their choosing to receive a $1,000 donation from the Luck Foundation in his or her name. Through the campaign, the foundation donated $1 million.

Giving Back
“We were looking at this initiative through a financial planning lens, and we were really excited about it, but when we actually went to launch the program with our associates, it became so much more than just the monetary donation,” Luck said of the campaign. “We were really purposeful in communicating with associates. We encouraged them to talk to their friends and families and think through what was most meaningful to them and use these conversations to inform their choice of a charity.”

When associates selected recipients, they had the option to explain why they chose that organization. More than half shared their reasoning. “It was almost like looking into a window of the heart and soul of your organization and learning what your teams care about,” Luck said.

Richard or his father, Charlie, attended each of the centennial events held throughout the year, including 21 site lunches, a lunch at the corporate office with retirees, and many customer events. At the site lunches, they talked about the history of the company and the Gift of Giving campaign before offering associates a chance to share their story, if they wanted to. Frequently, associates would stand up in front of their peers and share their personal stories.

Encountering Unexpected Benefits
In addition to the employee gatherings and financial donations, a third component of Luck’s 100th anniversary programming revolved around encouraging associates to volunteer time with organizations they care about – something many associates and teams already do. “My grandfather’s motto was ‘We Care,’” Luck recalled. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the slogan was plastered on hard hats and throughout operations. “We wanted to bring that back as part of our 100-year celebration,” he added.

Associates were given We Care t-shirts and encouraged to choose a way to give back with their teams, spending a half or full day volunteering in the community in an activity of their choosing. The associates took the opportunity and ran with it, participating in food drives, tree plantings, and other efforts. “I was so proud that leadership took the initiative to do it,” Luck said.

The centennial celebration ended at the close of 2023, but its impact may be felt for years to come. “We grew so much closer together as a team in a really meaningful way, and that was totally unexpected,” he explained. “It allowed us to reflect on the things we care most about which are our people, our communities, and making an impact in the world.

“Our culture drives our results,” Luck added. “That’s always been our philosophy, and we know if we stay grounded in that, the next 100 years will be just as bright.”

Therese Dunphy has covered the aggregates industry for nearly 30 years, while also serving multiple roles as a public official. As the owner of Stone Age Communications, she provides communications consulting services to help aggregate producers build stronger relationships within the communities they serve. She can be reached at [email protected].

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