Nicole Juday, Executive Director and Board Chair for the IDEAL Industries Foundation, explains why it’s vital to give back to the people and communities which support your business.
2022 was a landmark year for IDEAL Industries. We celebrated our 30th anniversary in the UK and, in the US, I endeavoured to continue the great work carried out by the IDEAL Industries Foundation, by determining how we can help the people and groups which have unswervingly supported us throughout the years. The first 11 months of the year culminated in us donating a staggering $385,000 across a range of good causes in a bid to affect positive changes for minority groups within our industry. These activities cemented our long established reputation as a progressive, sustainable organisation that operates to the highest ethical standards.
Introducing the IDEAL Industries Foundation
The organisation was established in 1985 by former CEO and Board Chair Dave Juday with the aim of giving back to the community and building on our Founder J. Walter Becker’s belief in the importance of strong relationships in business. As a result of this ethos, the foundation has distributed corporate philanthropy and will continue its great work thanks to a legacy bequest made by two Juday family members in 2014.
At the foundation, we pride ourselves on funding innovative initiatives that train and support women and people of colour to enter and stay in the typically male dominated electrical trade. According to career expert website Zippia, of the 465,873 electricians currently employed in the United States, just 4.4% of all electricians are women, while 95.6% are men.
By encouraging these traditionally underrepresented groups to participate in and diversify the electrical industry, the foundation helps address current and future workforce shortages, while strengthening the long term inclusivity of our sector and all that it has to offer.
This is because careers in the trades offer workers without a college degree one of the best opportunities to build wealth and often own their own businesses. At the IDEAL Industries Foundation, we want everyone to benefit from the vast range of well paid and rewarding career opportunities that are available in this industry.
We believe that by creating a caring culture we can make a significant difference to the equity and prosperity of our communities. To that end, we’re proud to support seven long standing non-profit organisations that provide services such as pathways out of homelessness, advocacy for children, affordable daycare, food security and various social and mental health services. They include:
- Dekalb County Youth Service Bureau
- Safe Passage
- Family Service Agency
- Kishwaukee Family YMCA
- Hope Haven of Dekalb County
- Dekalb co. Community Gardens
- Adventure works
When adequately resourced, these organisations can create a strong community safety net, able to help people get back on their feet when faced with adverse circumstances and hopefully arrive at a place of greater stability and security.
How we supported the Cassandra Banks Foundation
One of our most recent projects saw us award a $50,000 challenge grant to the Cassandra Banks Foundation (CBF), a California based non-profit organisation committed to helping black women excel in non-traditional professions, with an emphasis on the electrical trade. The grant funds will support the CBF’s efforts to raise awareness of the opportunities in the electrical trades, recruit black women into apprenticeship programmes and provide mentorship throughout their journey.
We now look forward to supporting the efforts of the CBF and other organisations which can help break down the various policy, economic and social barriers that contribute to the lack of diversity in the trades. The goal of the challenge grant is to increase funding for future programmes and leverage additional donor support from private sectors, which is a proven strategy for long term financial success.
Further causes we have championed
In 2022, the foundation supported Chicago Women in the Trades, a pre-apprentice programme for women going into the construction industry, as well as ANEW, a programme that provides diversity and inclusion training for the construction industry.
The foundation has also recently created a tool donation programme that focuses on supplying tools to pre-apprenticeship electrical training centres that serve diverse audiences. A recent donation was made to the Lake St. Works pre-apprenticeship programme, which was opened in South Minneapolis in the wake of the George Floyd killing to provide pathways into the construction industry for underrepresented groups.
The foundation’s overall mission is underpinned by IDEAL Industries’ core values, which encompass believing in people, showing a commitment to excellence, building strong relationships, being transparent in business and creating long term value and sustainability.
The skilled trades have been a pathway to economic opportunity since IDEAL Industries was started over 100 years ago in 1916. Today, we want to ensure that these highly skilled and well paying jobs are accessible to everyone. The IDEAL Industries Foundation believes that investing back into our communities – whether geographic areas where we do business or the tradespeople who use our products – is the best way to demonstrate that we care about the people who have contributed to our success as a company.
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