Many corporations tout their foundational philosophies and core values. These guiding principles are often named as the motivation behind charitable contributions, or tied into announcements of praiseworthy accomplishments, and not undeservedly so.
How much more relevant, then, in an age of ceaseless self-promotion, of striving to stay in the spotlight, of unifying good works and good PR strategy, to find a family of companies that would almost prefer not to be recognized for their philanthropic efforts.
This pursuit of privacy is neither owed to any false humility, nor any desire to avoid worthy praise. Rather, says Chris Wright, Director of New Business for Axess Ultrasound of Indianapolis, Ind., it’s because an organization like Medxcel—the holding company for Axess Ultrasound, eProtex and TriMedx—believes you don’t deserve recognition for doing what you ought to be doing anyway.
“Our organization is a faith-based organization,” Wright says. “We don’t apologize for that; we’re very open. It helps us remember that we’re here to serve not only those of us in need, but we’re also here to provide our service to the Lord.”
Medxcel is a wholly owned subsidiary of AH Holdings, an affiliate of Ascension Health, the largest Catholic non-profit health care system in America. Its core values are service to the poor, integrity, wisdom, dedication, reverence and creativity. Wright says Medxcel staff members are expected to think on these values not only in the sphere of charity, but when making every business decision.
“It’s one of the important things that resonates through the entire organization,” she says. “[Our faith is] part of who the organization is, and I think that’s what draws people to the organization. You know what you’re getting.”
Those same core values motivated an internal charity luncheon in November 2011 to benefit Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana. Calling themselves “the Axess Angels,” in-house staff cooked up crock-pot soups, salads, desserts, and hosted a charity event to benefit the food bank.
“[All the money] we gathered the day of the luncheon went straight to the food bank,” Wright says. “A couple people made crafts to sell. We invited everybody from the Medxcel companies to come – people that work here locally. Our people out in the field had opportunities to make contributions. This was clearly an across-the-board effort.”
The event was a huge success, raising enough money to feed more than 7,000 people, a figure that seems even more significant in light of the fact that all the contributions came exclusively from within the organization.
“The Axess Angels might have been the conductor orchestrating the idea and the concept, but it’s really the generosity of the entire Medxcel organization that is so giving and so caring and it makes it work,” Wright says.
Perhaps more remarkably, the company was able to muster the resources to put on a Christmas-themed charity event less than a month later. That get-together was held for the benefit of another Indianapolis non-profit, Children’s Bureau, which helps abused and neglected children.
Again, Wright said, those who weren’t able to attend the luncheon still contributed to the cause.
“We were able to provide Christmas opportunities for specific children as well as contributing to the bureau itself,” Wright said. “In addition there was an anonymous donor who provided a Nintendo Wii as a matching gift once we met certain goals.
“We were able to not only take care of all the needs of the children that were assigned to us, but we were able to [raise enough money to] support the bureau directly,” she said.
Axess is preparing for another charitable luncheon that will tie in with the Easter holiday as well as with the NCAA tournament. Although a beneficiary has not been formally selected yet, Wright says “there’s a lot of near and dear things to people’s hearts within our organization.”
As much work as Axess Ultrasound does to benefit its local community, so does the TriMedx Foundation strive to make its mark by assisting impoverished and medically vulnerable people around the world.
The formal charitable arm of TriMedx (another Medxcel subsidiary), the foundation “really encourages people to participate in the world; to have a purpose,” says Mary Owens, foundation director.
“When TriMedx was beginning out of a hospital clinical engineering department, there was a call from Sacre Coeur hospital in Milot, Haiti,” she says. “As a company, TriMedx sent some individuals on a few trips to Haiti, and they said, ‘I think we’ve just discovered how we can have an impact.’”
TriMedX Foundation does not operate in any specific target area, Owens says, although it has expended significant resources working to improve conditions in countries like Haiti, which she calls, “the country of greatest need within our hemisphere.”
“Our desire is to serve where we’re called to serve,” she says. “When we here in the U.S. go to a hospital, most of the time, we don’t think, ‘Is this piece of equipment going to be working?’
“In the developing world, medical equipment is not necessarily difficult to come by,” she said. “The question is, ‘How do you keep it running?’”
This year, the foundation is working to focus its efforts on more international trips, working with a larger network of medical surplus recovery corporations to pool donated resources of medical supplies and coordinate the logistics to get overseas.
“That’s the expertise of our volunteer pool and where we specialize and can make a difference,” she says.
If the TriMedX Foundation inspires even half as much spirited participation as its constituent staffers do, the efforts of the group will likely yield real change.
Just don’t expect them to brag about it.