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For 40 years, employees at the EADS Group corporate office in Altoona have quietly directed payroll deductions into their own charitable funds. A self-selected committee has met periodically, on their own time, to discuss co-workers who’d welcomed new babies or suffered tragedies. They talked about local causes they wanted to support. Together, they determined who to celebrate and who or what to help, and they paid for it out of the volunteer-administered fund.

Over that time, this group raised over $400,000.

The Altoona-born company that’s grown to provide engineering and architectural services throughout the state was built by people who wanted to make a difference outside of company walls.

“It says that we have employees that care about the communities in which we live, where the clients that we serve live,” says Thomas Reilly, EADS Group President. “I think it says that our employees care about the people and other organizations who are trying to do good things.”

This summer, the EADS Group took that giving spirit company-wide, expanding the employee-led program to offices in Somerset, Johnstown, North Huntingdon, Clarion, and Lewistown. EADS also teamed up with Community Foundation for the Alleghenies to make it happen, establishing the EADS Charitable Fund at CFA.

“CFA just seemed like a good mechanism for us to continue to involve our employees,” adds Mr. Reilly. “We didn’t want to ruin what we had. We wanted to make it better, and we could have very easily brought this program into our corporate accounting structure, but I think we would have lost something.”

The program is still elective for employees, made easy through payroll deductions. Each office will have its own charitable committee to determine how to spend the collections locally, and EADS is doubling the payout by matching, dollar for dollar, employee contributions.

“We think that supporting and matching these donations by our employees allows us to say to our employees, this is important to you and it’s also important to us,” adds Reilly. “If you’re willing to go and give your money to a local charity, we are going to support that effort by giving our money in a dollar to dollar match to the same fund.”

“This is a stellar example of good corporate citizenship,” explains CFA Somerset County Endowments Director Pamela Tokar-Ickes. “With this charitable fund, EADS is standing by its employees and the causes they care about, and it’s investing in the local communities that are important to its employees and its clients. This is a partnership that will continue to make our region stronger.”

It’s a partnership that reinforces a cycle of support. EADS, its employees, and clients are collaborators in something bigger than their business dealings — they’re community leaders, providing the means and the mechanism to empower ideas important to this region.

“We have a lot of local clients — organizations, businesses, municipalities — and those clients are extremely important to us, and a big reason why we’re successful. We want to support organizations in the communities that support us,” affirms Reilly.

To find out how your company can become a community leader, contact Pamela Tokar-Ickes: (814) 525-9020 /

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