Zach Schmidtknecht views Great Northern Corporation's new seedling fund as an opportunity for employees to continue giving to their community beyond their terms of employment.
"Giving back to the community is what we are. It's been instilled in us by past generations of leaders, and it's now our responsibility to carry it forward," said Schmidtknecht, general manager of GNC's Chippewa Falls plant, 421 Palmer Street.
Sarah Rogers, customer service manager at the plant, presented the idea of the Great Northern Corporation Seedling Fund to its GNC Cares committee. A former employee of the Community Foundation of Chippewa County, Rogers said the organization is responsible with funds and understands the community's needs.
"We believe it is a good fit for us," she said.
GNC is one of the nation's largest independent producers of packaging and in-store displays. The Chippewa Falls plant has 260 employees.
The business already actively supports community organizations such as United Way, Junior Achievement, and ball teams as well as local events such as a concert night at Riverfront Park and food, clothing, Christmas toys, and school supplies drives, Schmidtknecht and Rogers said.
"We have determined that we would like it to serve the community as needed," Rogers said, adding the fund is open to anyone who wants to make a donation.
Many of the plant's employees live in Chippewa County, and the fund reaches out beyond Chippewa Falls to meet needs, she noted.
"I'm just excited to see it grow and (for) Great Northern to be part of this avenue of giving back to the community," Rogers said.
Grants are made at the discretion of the Foundations Board of Directors.