Marketing that Matters: Flooring Manufacturers Support Charitable Causes
The flooring industry is doing so much more than creating beautiful interiors. It is doing its part to make our world a better place, one philanthropic effort at a time. Through heart-led cause marketing initiatives, these companies are making a lasting difference in communities and lives across the country, to the benefit of their core values, business and bottom lines.
More than 40,000 men and women will die of breast cancer this year, according to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. To date, the foundation has funded more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit and it has invested more than $3 billion in groundbreaking research, community health outreach, advocacy and programs in more than 60 countries.
Officially joining Susan G. Komen in the fight against breast cancer in 2001, Mohawk has donated more than $6.1 million to the foundation to date. The manufacturer was named a 2017 “Rising Star” partner by Susan G. Komen because each year since 2001 it has strengthened its commitment to Komen’s mission by expanding its programs and exploring new ways to engage with the organization through Decorate for the Cure in residential and Specify for a Cure in commercial.
In 2015, Mohawk took its partnership with the foundation to higher heights, sponsoring the Philadelphia 3-Day Walk for the Cure. In an effort to merge product education with meaningful, relevant event support, Mohawk donated more than 800 pieces of SmartCushion to place under the sleeping bags of participants and crew at the Philadelphia 3-Day. The cushion provided a softer place to rest and protection against the cold during the intensive walk. To support the donation campaign throughout the 3-day event, Mohawk implemented one of its largest social media campaigns in the company’s history, helping to #CushionTheFight against breast cancer with Susan G. Komen.
“Cause marketing is an important part of Mohawk’s business strategy and our corporate culture,” said Laura Bartley, senior director of marketing and communications, Mohawk. “The right cause marketing partnership can make the ‘buy’ more compelling for the consumer and make her feel better about the spend post-purchase. Research proves that consumers want to do business with companies that care. We want to let consumers know that we sincerely care about the communities in which our associates and customers live and work.”
Mohawk’s residential team also provides pink Mohawk carpet, known as the “Mohawk Mile,” for participants to walk along as they enter and depart camp each day. Recently, Mohawk-branded sun shelters were introduced for walkers to rest under during lunch.
SmartCushion from each 3-Day is recycled into new padding through ReCover, Mohawk’s recycling program. Since its inception in 2006, ReCover has diverted more than 100 million pounds of carpet and cushion from landfills. In 2018, Mohawk recycled 33,320 pounds of cushion from 3-Day events.
On the commercial side, Mohawk Group will provide carpet tile rugs in Specify for a Cure-eligible styles Pop Icon and Taped Off to be installed in the lounge at camp during the Seattle event. The group will also provide Pinked Out” rug styles from Durkan’s new Spirit Moderne collection. “We’re also putting a commercial focus on that event, where we will be following design director team member Di Anna Borders’ journey as someone participating while actively going through treatment and showcasing our company’s involvement and commitment to end breast cancer,” Bartley added.
The Komen 3-Day events will continue through mid-November with Mohawk public relations and sales team members plus local retail partners attending each event. The 2019 Cushion the Fight video will be filmed during the Boston 3-Day and will follow Mohawk’s pink SmartCushion from the manufacturing plant through the event weekend while touching on walkers’ stories and Mohawk’s partnership, and Mohawk will host the annual Pink Out event at the Mohawk Flooring Center on October 10 to highlight its partnership, share campaign updates and showcase the Cushion the Fight video.
Follow along on social throughout the season, and check out photos from Komen, retailers and walkers using @Komen3Day, #CushionTheFight, #SpecifyforaCure, #komen3Day, #MI3Day, #TC3Day, #SEA3Day, NE3Day, #PHL3Day, #DFW3Day and #SD3Day.
Serving those in the interior design and furnishings community who are faced with the challenges of breast cancer, it made sense for Crossville to partner with The Common Thread for the Cure.
“These are our colleagues and friends,” said Lindsey Waldrep, vice president of marketing. “Unlike some organizations that focus solely on research related to finding a cure for breast cancer, The Common Thread is purposed in providing financial resources to answer real-life, everyday needs that arise as people deal with breast cancer.”
Since partnering with The Common Thread in 2007, Crossville has donated a portion of the proceeds from the sale of select glass tile lines to the organization, and to date, the manufacturer has donated more than $100,000 to help fund Helping Hands grants, which help to cover the costs of things like childcare or transportation to and from doctor appointments or even supplement when insurance dollars fall short.
“Crossville is a family-focused company, and because of that, we recognize and understand that breast cancer impacts so much more than just an employee’s work performance,” said Waldrep. “The disease impacts entire families, in everyday ways. The Common Thread’s Helping Hands grant program aligns with Crossville’s Thread value of recognizing ‘people first.’”
In 2014, Crossville introduced a biennial scarf contest that invites members of the design community to submit scarf designs in an effort to increases awareness of the organization and get designers involved not only through their design but also in the voting process by which a winning scarf design is selected. Crossville then produces and sells the winning scarf design, with proceeds benefitting The Common Thread.
Each Helping Hand grant truly makes an impact on the life of the recipient, and the dollars raised not only make a difference to the recipients, but raise awareness of Crossville and its products. “Crossville partners with The Common Thread for the Cure because we believe in its mission to support our interior design colleagues in such practical ways during times of great need,” said Waldrep. “The side benefit is that we’re able to create many meaningful connections with the design community that lets them get to know Crossville even more as a special company they’ll want to do business with.”
Emily Morrow Home
For Emily Morrow Finkell, founder of Emily Morrow Home, the fight against breast cancer is a personal one. This year marks Morrow’s 17th-year anniversary of being cancer-free.
Morrow’s story is rooted in faith, family, resilience and survivorship. Diagnosed with breast cancer at 35, she underwent treatments all while balancing a corporate career and caring for her two young children as a single mother.
“The year of my own personal breast cancer battle, I was only 35 years old, had just become a single mother to my son who was nine and daughter who was five. After surgery, chemotherapy, and treatments to help rebuild my immunity, I was literally wiped out, having no energy to get up and go shopping for my children’s Christmas gifts.” Morrow recalls that without the help of her mother, both emotionally and physically, her children would have gone without Christmas gifts that year.
Completing treatment healthy and stronger than ever, Morrow commemorated her cancer-free anniversary in a big way, founding the Kiker Morrow Finkell Foundation for Cancer Care, a nonprofit that was established to support others battling cancer in their time of need, whether it’s receiving a makeover in the midst of chemotherapy to inspire confidence, or helping a mother provide Christmas gifts for her family, similar to the way her mother helped her as she underwent treatment.
“As one who knows firsthand exactly what it’s like to be blindsided by a cancer diagnosis, your first thought as a parent is for your children; you want to make sure they’re unaffected and yet it’s so hard for us to ask for help, perhaps dignity or pride, or not knowing where to turn. For this reason, our foundation wants to be anonymous as we reach out to help others. Perhaps it’s helping be ‘Santa Claus’ to young children, or a high-schooler who needs a prom dress while her mom or dad is enduring medical care and either financially or physically cannot be there for them.”
Described as the heart of the Emily Morrow Home brand, a portion of the profits from Emily Morrow Home products are donated to the foundation.
“Our Family Foundation for Cancer Care means a great deal to me, as it’s at the heart of my brand, literally, and it’s why we are working hard to succeed in bringing the EMH collection of hardwood floors to market. If we are successful and enjoy growth, we will be able to help more families and individuals who are either battling or have endured a cancer battle.”
Supporting causes to make the world a better place is at the heart of the HMTX family of companies, which consists of Halstead, Metroflor, Teknoflor, Aspecta and Vertex. Tackling an often taboo topic, Halstead/Metroflor employees created an addiction crisis team and a nonprofit organization to raise funds for combatting the addiction epidemic impacting individuals and their families nationwide. The goal is to provide rehabilitation “scholarships” to families who otherwise would not be financially able to help save their loved ones suffering from Substance Addiction Disorders (SADs).
“We have turned our efforts to this cause because it not only affects the individual suffering from SADs, it ultimately can tear apart the entire family,” said Paul Eanes, vice president of business development, Metroflor.
Through a “Save an Addict. Save a Family” Go Fund Me page and other activities, the Halstead/Metroflor Addiction Crisis (HMAC) Team’s goal is to raise $500K over three years, which will then be matched dollar for dollar by HMTX for a total goal of $1 million.
In partnership with The Blanchard Institute, Halstead/Metroflor is committed to raising the fully tax deductible $1 million in donations through a 501c3 partnership with “Faith in Four: Recovery, Prevention, Education and Treatment”. According to Eanes, contributions will fund scholarships to rehabilitation facilities for those in need who cannot otherwise afford treatment.
Eanes says, “Given that the typical insurance deductible cost to families for addiction rehabilitation is $8,000, the HMAC team hopes to reach the goal of $1 million to provide scholarships for 125 families. In theory that could save 125 lives and 125 families.”
Shaw entered into a partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 2012 as a National Sponsor of the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway, and today, the partnership has expanded into a multi-channel integration expanding into almost every facet of its business.
As a National Sponsor and exclusive flooring provider of the St. Jude Dream Home, Shaw has provided flooring in approximately 40 markets across the country each year (roughly 240 homes total that Shaw has participated in). “Shaw chose to sponsor the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway because it provides a special opportunity for Shaw flooring products to make a true difference in people’s lives,” said Mathis. Shaw has made its ‘dream products’ available to each Dream Home. Each builder selects the home’s floors from all of Shaw’s product categories—carpet, hardwood, laminate, luxury vinyl, and tile and stone.
In 2013, the partnership was expanded to include two styles of carpet cushion called Charity and Hope. By popular demand and request, the carpet cushion program was a way for Shaw’s retail partners and consumers alike to engage with St. Jude through flooring products. The cushion program has grown every year and now includes five styles of St. Jude-branded cushion, and a portion of the sales from Shaw carpet cushion named for St. Jude goes back to the research hospital.
“Our retailers have been very receptive of our partnership for St. Jude, donating their time and talent to raise money and awareness for the cause and continually encouraging us to do more,” said Julie Beth Fisher, Shaw Floors’ senior marketing manager – retail. “We make a donation to St. Jude on behalf of our retailers for our co-branded products and recognize them for that donation.”
The St. Jude Give a Little, Change a Lot program allows retailers to add a donation to each invoice that goes directly to the hospital. In addition to its ongoing programs, Shaw offers additional opportunities for retailers to give back with promotions like “We’ve Got Your Back” promotion featuring LifeGuard carpet. The promotion donates a portion of sales to St. Jude on behalf of the retailer. “We also invite retailers to participate alongside Shaw associates for events like the Memphis Marathon Weekend which we sponsor each December,” Fisher added. “With the support of our retail partners, Shaw has donated more than $10 million to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital since 2011 through a multi-channel partnership across the company.”
Partnering with St. Jude has been a differentiator for the Shaw Floors brand as a business driver with its retailers and for consumers. In addition to offering co-branded collection carpet cushion styles, Shaw Floors recently added hard and soft surface cleaning products benefiting St. Jude.
“The styles within the Shaw Cushion Collection for St. Jude are continuously top sellers, generating more than $1,000,000 in donations to St. Jude annually for the past several years,” said Fisher. “While carpet cushion is often an afterthought in the sales process for both the consumer and the RSA, our St. Jude partnership is a catalyst for conversation, making it a feel good story on multiple levels.”
Partnering with St. Jude is a natural fit for Shaw, as the manufacturer is committed to creating a better future for its people, for its customers, for its company and for its communities, says Fisher. Beyond that, Shaw’s partnership with St. Jude strikes a chord with its 22,000 associates who embody the Shaw core values of honesty, integrity and passion.
“Our St. Jude marketing campaigns and promotions are at the heart of our brand and our business, allowing us to do more than sell flooring by contributing to a cause that means so much to our associates and our customers,” said Fisher. “We routinely hear from sales reps, retailers and others that they want to do more to give back. This gives us a renewed focus and motivation to bring our best selves to work each day for the success of Shaw Floors and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.”
Floor Covering Industry Foundation
The Floor Covering Industry Foundation (FCIF) was created 36 years ago to focus industry attention on the health, human service and welfare needs of floor covering industry members in times of life-altering medical hardships. With the help of dozens of companies in the industry, the FCIF has distributed more than $2.5 million in grants with compassion, confidentiality and dignity since its founding.
The Floor Covering Industry Foundation gets families back on their feet when battling catastrophic injuries, severe disabilities, or other life-altering medical crises. Founded in 1981 by industry leaders, the 501(c)3 charitable non-profit helps industry workers by providing direct grants for medical care and other basic needs. The foundation’s criteria for grants are: severe illnesses, injury, or disability; extreme financial need; and service to the floor covering industry from a household member of 5+ years
Behind every assistance grant is a story of crisis and perseverance—of a real person struggling through a difficult time. Beneficiaries have included: a creeler in a flooring manufacturing plant who has invasive stage 4 breast cancer that has spread to her bones; a flooring installer and his teenage daughter who are both battling leukemia; a lift-truck operator who had part of his foot amputated; a sales manager whose husband has lung cancer and a brain tumor; and a shipping clerk whose 3-year-old daughter is deaf and has developmental delays requiring special therapy.
CCA Global’s annual Alan Greenberg Charity Golf Tournament—named in honor of Alan Greenberg, industry pioneer and co-founder and co-CEO of CCA Global Partners—is consistently the largest contributor to the FCIF.
Bringing together members and supporters of the floor covering industry for a round of golf, the fundraiser contributes roughly $150,000 annually to the benefit of industry beneficiaries, including flooring retailers, installers, retails salespeople, distributor personnel, mill employees and industry executives.
National Wood Flooring Association
The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) has been involved with the Gary Sinise Foundation R.I.S.E. (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment) program since 2015. The R.I.S.E. program builds custom, specially adapted smart homes for severely wounded veterans and first responders. All program recipients have experienced catastrophic injuries including the loss of multiple appendages, traumatic brain injuries, etc. Each home is designed to meet the specific mobility and medical needs of the recipient. GSF makes these homes available for free to the recipients and their families, and the homes, quite frankly, are spectacular.
To date, NWFA and its members have donated product, logistics, and installation services for 39 homes throughout the U.S., with another 18 homes in various stages of planning and construction. The total value of this effort exceeds $4.5 million.
Recently, R.I.S.E. celebrated the home dedication for United States Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Gary Linfoot (Ret.) in Adams, Tenn. Flooring for the project was donated by NWFA member American OEM.
CW5 Linfoot enlisted in the Army Reserve following his graduation from high school. After attending Flight School, he joined the Army’s elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). On May 31, 2008, while conducting operations in Iraq, CW5 Linfoot’s helicopter suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure. The helicopter crash-landed, resulting in a broken back that paralyzed Linfoot from the waist down.
“Despite his severe injuries, CW5 Linfoot continues to approach life head-on,” says NWFA President and CEO Michael Martin. “Just a few short years following his paralysis, he walked his oldest daughter down the aisle on her wedding day wearing an exoskeleton. That’s an amazing display of hard work and determination. And today, he continues to work hard as a helicopter simulator instructor pilot for the unit he once served. We’re honored to partner with American OEM to provide flooring for his new home.”
Tarkett has always been committed to doing good in the community, and the company’s involvement in Lifetime’s Military Makeover, which began in 2018, has allowed it to take those efforts a step further.
“Social and environmental responsibility is a long-standing commitment at Tarkett, and one that is integrated into all of our business activities, such as talent development, our approach to circular economy and eco-design, and our operational excellence,” said Kathy Cline, marketing manager, residential, Tarkett North America.
Teaming up with the show’s hosts Jennifer Bertrand and Ryan Stanley, and local area designers to recommend and provide flooring materials specific to the military family’s desires and needs, each family has the opportunity to choose from any product in Tarkett’s residential catalog, from resilient flooring for an exercise room, to waterproof rigid core vinyl for wherever life may overflow.
“We know coming home to a healthy space is so important, and we’re touched every time to see how we’ve been able to help provide comfortable, healthy environments for these families,” said Cline.
This year, Tarkett has brought distribution and retail partners on board to strengthen and expand the partnership. Cline says that retail partners have jumped at the opportunity to do their part in supporting Tarkett’s global ecological, social and humanitarian efforts, and to their benefit, the show has had a positive impact on business.
“We’ve heard several anecdotal stories about the impact the show is having,” said Cline. “Customers have visited retail locations and mentioned seeing our products on the show. We’ve created a special landing page about the show on our website, which has seen positive traffic and click-throughs to find a retailer.”