On the surface, the Aspen Heights in Africa program doesn’t make a lot of business sense. Sending employees and funds to the continent doesn’t improve the company’s bottom line, the company itself doesn’t heavily promote the program, and it covers the overhead for managing the nonprofit branch out of its own pocket.
“For us, it’s a really personal thing,” says Jacob Critz, the company’s director of marketing logistics and one of the managers of Aspen Heights in Africa. “It’s an opportunity to build culture within our company.”
Aspen Heights operates in Kenya and Rwanda through partnerships with two organizations, Imbirikani Girls School and Africa New Life. “The trip, the sponsorship, the schools—10 days there transforms our employees’ worldview,” Critz says. “They come back and ask, ‘How can I change my life at home to impact the people in Africa?’”
This commitment to public service does benefit the company, but it does so in a way that’s harder to measure than dollars and cents. The employees Aspen Heights attracts because of its nonprofit work are people who are plugged into the communities around them and want to work to make an impact. As Critz explains, “This work makes them say, ‘I can live with greater purpose and greater passion, not just outside of work but even in my daily job.’”