Casual Fridays for a Cause Gives Back to the Community
Photo and story by Kendra Kaiserman
For accounting firm Hathaway, Ksenzulak & Lapp, LLP, it’s simple. Each Friday, if a staff member wants to dress in casual attire, he or she will put a dollar in the box at the front of the office. At the end of the quarter, the company matches what is in the box and gives the funds to a local nonprofit. They call it Casual Fridays for a Cause.
Partner Karina Lapp, who has been with the company for 23 years, brought the idea the office “because I wanted to give back to the community. I wanted the staff to see that we were giving back to the community because a lot of things I do, my nonprofits, I do after-hours. I wanted there to be a greater percentage of people understanding what I did and what the firm did.”
Office Manager Jill McKinley, who has been with Hathaway, Ksenzulak & Lapp for seven years, recalls when Lapp thought of the idea. “I remember you talking to me about it right at the get-go. You had heard about it and it was right around that time that the employees were like, ‘It’d be nice to have a Casual Friday,’ and so you incorporated it all together.”
Casual Fridays for a Cause began the first quarter of 2014, where they donated to the Wounded Warriors. “We decided even during tax season
to start it, which is really foreign for a lot of us, because we’re CPAs, we dress in a certain manner, especially during tax season,” Lapp says. “I had clients come in during that first quarter that thought that all I owned was suits, because they had been with me for 20-plus years and they’re going, ‘Wow, you wear jeans?’”
Each quarter is different, especially during tax season. “During tax season we get more client donations, but Hathaway, Ksenzulak & Lapp matches any donations made by employees or clients—whatever’s in the box and then some, usually,”
Each nonprofit is chosen randomly by the staff. Everyone writes the name of a nonprofit down on a piece of paper and puts it in a box, and Lapp chooses an organization from the box. In the beginning, the nonprofits didn’t know they were chosen until they received a check and a letter explaining what it was for. Last year, Hathaway, Ksenzulak & Lapp started letting the nonprofits know right when they got chosen.
It’s not only an inexpensive price to pay each week, but “it
involves everybody in the office, and it’s not just you writing a check,” McKinley says.
Today, Hathaway, Ksenzulak & Lapp is supporting its 13th organization, Riverfront Playhouse.
“It is a fun way to give back to the community,” says Lapp.
McKinley notes that a lot of people are interested in Casual Fridays for a Cause and often ask to know more about it.
“You never know, this might spark other people’s interest and it will only be good for the nonprofit,” McKinley says.
From an employee’s perspective, McKinley says, “you’re taking something that the employees wanted and you’re incorporating it with a greater good. It’s a win-win situation.” •