Bess Cohn Humanitarian Award Nominee - Good Works

Learn More About Scott Alterman And Jordy Gamson

For some companies, charitable giving is a side job. For The Icebox (asi/229395), based in Atlanta, it's a core tenet of its whole operation. "My business partner, co-owner Scott Alterman, and I have always been very active in the community and with volunteering," says CEO Jordy Gamson.

Because of their shared history of giving back, Gamson and Alterman knew they would be incorporating it into their company, established in 2001. Gamson says donating money and products to the nonprofits benefits both parties. "Just about every nonprofit, charity or needy cause uses apparel and promotional products in some way," he says. "Meanwhile, we're able to tie our efforts and brand to good causes."

In 2007, the team established Common Threads, the official philanthropic arm of the company. "Through this brand, we've established a reputation of helping others," says Gamson. "It's the right thing to do, and our peers ask us constantly to take part in different events."

Over the years, the company has participated in or sponsored hundreds of events, including those for the American Heart Association, the Georgia Aquarium and the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance. They have donated time and money to MedShare International, which recovers and redistributes surplus medical equipment and supplies to needy patients; Ian's Friends Foundation for pediatric brain tumor research; and the Caterpillar Crawl 5K, which recently raised money to build a library in Cambodia.

"We're also one of five preferred vendors of the American Cancer Society, which means we put together walk teams and participate in summits all over the country," says Gamson. "And we won the Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Community Service in 2010." Recently, the company was a sponsor at the ShamRock'N Roll Road Race, put on by the Junior League, and the Atlanta Community Food Bank's annual Hunger Walk/Run 5K, where a team of 10 Icebox employees participated.

The Icebox is so devoted to charitable causes that it now offers Volunteer Time Off (VTO) to employees. "It's one day each quarter where we pay our employees to go and volunteer at one of the nonprofits or charities that we support," says Gamson. "We just had three teams sorting food at the Georgia Community Food Bank. We like to mix up the team members so that a whole department isn't out volunteering at the same time, and also so that they get to work alongside people they might not know as well as their immediate coworkers."

The Icebox has become so well-known for its charitable giving and sponsorship that it has become a go-to business in the Atlanta area for nonprofits and charities looking for sponsorship, donations and product support. "We have one or two nonprofit requests a day," says Gamson. "Volunteering gets our name and brand out. Home Depot and Delta are two other huge companies out of Atlanta, and we get to associate with them because of our sponsorships."