Marco started the Foundation Rebate Program in 2011, donating over $1.6 million ($1,671,097.00) to nonprofits since its inception. The program idea grew from an intent to serve local communities through lasting, positive relationships with customers.
Marco CEO Jeff Gau and Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Warrey created the Foundation Rebate Program as part of the company’s charitable initiative. “Other companies were rebating back to purchasing departments, but Jeff wanted to give the rebates as a charitable contribution instead of a discount,” Warrey explained.
The Foundation Rebate Program rewards nonprofit customers for their loyalty by offering them a 1.5% rebate based on their annual sales with Marco. This year, Marco donated $338,000 to group members.
Warrey believes the program is beneficial for all involved. “It makes me proud to see a sizeable donation come from the natural course of business. Universities, hospitals, corporate businesses with charitable causes—those are all great causes, and it’s a structured way to say, ‘yes we are going to give’ and calculate how we are going to give.”
Members of the program include Minnesota State University Moorhead (Minn.), Fargo Public Schools (N.D.), Concordia University (Minn.), Rapid City Regional Hospital (S.D.), Orion Associates (Minn.), CentraCare Health Systems (Minn.), NDSU Foundation Alumni Association (N.D.), and more. Each organization uses the donation funds effectively. Some choose to support volunteer engagements, host fund-raising events, or establish scholarships.
For example, Regional Health uses the funds to assist those in medical hardships. “The Marco donations have been combined with other Greatest Need funds to help purchase specialized equipment used to help our patients and communities live well. Many times, specialized medical equipment is very expensive, and by having funds available in our Greatest Need Fund, we are able to assist Regional Health purchase much-needed, life-saving equipment,” said Angela Kliewer, Regional Health Foundation Director.
Another program member, Dr. Eric LaMott, Concordia University’s Provost and Chief Operating Officer, feels thankful for this unique partnership. “Concordia University, Saint Paul is proud to partner with Marco to fill our needs in the networking, print and mail sectors. To CSP, the Marco relationship is a cooperative partnership model to serve our learners’ needs, rather than a vendor client relationship. Truly a differentiation for us!” said LaMott.
Likewise, Naomi Quiram of Gustavus Adolphus values Marco’s help. “Gustavus Adolphus College truly appreciates the Marco Foundation’s support and its commitment to our partnership and our community. The gifts support our scholarship endowment and our goal to equip students to lead purposeful lives and to act on the great challenges of our time through an innovative liberal arts education,” said Quiram, Director of Print and Mail Services at Gustavus.
Other organizations, such as CentraCare, support their own altruistic foundations. With Marco’s help, CentraCare retains funds in their Health Foundation. The Health Foundation’s mission is to improve health and health care in their 12-county, Minnesota service area. “In my opinion, this program is a win/win for our organization. CentraCare supports a local business by purchasing much of our IT equipment through them. In turn, Marco gives back to our foundation,” said David Kryzer, Director of Information Technology at CentraCare.
Warrey explained that certain criteria must be met to enter the Foundation Rebate Program. “You need consistent business with us to make it a meaningful contribution. We take a gross margin deduction, and it creates a good will that it is part of living out our culture to give back to the communities we serve.” Organizations must be invited to enter this selective program.
Digi-Key Electronics, a long-time customer with Marco, uses the contributions for their volunteering program. “Marco has partnered with our Digi-Key Cares community outreach program for many years, contributing dollars to help those in the Thief River Falls area who are less fortunate,” said Rick Trontvet, Vice President of Administration for Digi-Key Electronics. Through Digi-Key Cares, employees and volunteers have given to Thief River Falls Area Food Shelf, Thief River Falls Heritage Center, Falls Delivered Meals, and the Pennington County Humane Society. “The work that Digi-Key and Marco do together to support our communities is a prime example of how so much more can get accomplished incrementally through teamwork. Thank you, Marco for your generosity and partnership, and for making good things happen in Thief River Falls and around the world.”
Warrey realizes the program’s influence and the gratitude of customers. “The charitable foundation employees love having Marco donate just because their organizations do business with us. They love Marco’s commitment to giving to worthy causes,” said Warrey.
Marco makes charitable giving a priority, believing that doing well in business means “doing good” for the communities one serves. Therefore, Marco contributes financially, sponsors events, participates in fundraisers and encourages employees to volunteer on and off company time.
“This program makes you proud to be part of Marco,” Warrey added.