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July 18, 2023

People First Spotlight: Upstream Rehabilitation’s Pillars with Purpose

Data Facts, a technology-driven company built for people, about people, by people, is devoted to corporate philanthropy and holds great esteem for our business clients that share this commitment. We’ve created a “People First” spotlight to pay homage to innovative, actionable programs created by our clients that give back to their communities. Our goal with the “People First” spotlight series is to focus on our foundational belief that to truly be successful, companies must be positive corporate citizens.

Data Facts and Upstream Rehabilitation

As a client for almost 10 years, Upstream Rehabilitation partners with Data Facts for their background screening needs. We have watched them grow and scale every year in several exciting ways. Not satisfied to only make a difference with their patients, the company put its weight behind the objective of giving back.

Pillars with Purpose

Upstream Rehabilitation, the largest pure-play provider of outpatient physical therapy in the United States, has executed an exciting philanthropic initiative.

Pillars with Purpose, created in 2018, is serving many people through volunteerism, grant making, and fundraising. The Pillars with Purpose Benevolent Funds is a grant-making program that provides financial support to many local and international nonprofit organizations.

Robbe Bendick, the Executive Director of Philanthropy for Upstream Rehabilitation, sat down with us to talk about the program. “Our company culture is based on stewardship and servitude that extends beyond our workplace. Once the idea of Pillars with Purpose was born, we surveyed our associates and asked what mattered most to them. We received hundreds of answers and used them to build our 7 Cause Area Pillar categories, which are now our benevolent funds”

The 7 Pillars are:

  1. Benevolent Fund for Family and Children Welfare
  2. Benevolent Fund for Cancer Research and Patient Care
  3. Benevolent Fund for Military Personnel and Family Care
  4. Benevolent Fund for Emergent Needs
  5. Benevolent Fund for Faith Based Initiatives
  6. Benevolent Fund for Domestic and International Missions
  7. Benevolent Fund for Charitable Giving

“Upstream associates are encouraged to join our Pillars Ambassador program or sit on one of the Pillars’ advisory committees,” explains Bendick. “They actively report on community issues and propose grant requests to our board of volunteers. Having champions within the company who understand the difference between transactional and philanthropic giving is vital. Our goal was to build a passionate and dedicated team that would drive our philanthropic programs forward. Upstream’s associates s are a foundational element to the program.”

While employees receive paid time off (PTO) to participate in nonprofit work, Pillars with Purpose goes beyond that to engage associates in philanthropic work. “Our “Dollars for Doers” program gives them a way to earn grant dollars they can award to their favorite nonprofit,” says Bendick. “This initiative emphasizes the value of time, talent, and treasure by encouraging associates to actively contribute to their communities beyond regular work hours.”

Since creating Pillars with Purpose, Upstream has been involved in many remarkable projects. “We put together an army of 700 volunteers across the nation,” recalls Bendick. “We had a virtual volunteer day that benefited Rise Against Hunger. Our efforts raised 60-some thousand dollars plus food contributions.”

“Another one of my favorite initiatives was the “Sole Purpose Challenge”. All our clinics participated by donating sneakers and cash. The shoes were either recycled into track material for playgrounds, stuffing for stuffed animals, or into new shoes which were donated to those in need. The funds raised went to Modest Needs to help our patients who may be falling into a cycle of poverty so they can secure the bandages and equipment they need.”

Bendick says Pillars with Purpose’s underlying focus is to promote the attitude that helping one another in service outside of their clinic walls is okay. “We want to instill the philosophy among our associates that lending a hand is a valuable aspect of our daily lives. By embracing work from a human standpoint, we can build stronger communities and make a long-term impact on the populations we serve.” We’d be remiss not to note that for all Pillars does for the communities they serve, they also created an associate hardship fund. This fund serves associates with financial assistance when circumstances outside of their control keep them from meeting basic human needs of housing, food, utilities and the like.

Through Pillars with Purpose, Upstream has set itself apart as a leader in corporate philanthropy. Their strategic, inclusive approach showcases how a commitment to helping others can be embraced from the top to the bottom of an organization. The result? Creating positive changes, opportunities, and assistance within the communities they serve.

Visit Upstream’s website to learn more about Pillars with Purpose.

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