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Putting our money where our mouth is


Time, talent and treasure are the three ways in which 84.51° gives back to local communities. One of the biggest investments of time and treasure comes from its charitable giving arm, Degrees of Giving. On an annual basis, associates are asked to nominate and vote for the charities they’d like the company to support throughout the year. Each elected charity is benefited by 84.51° volunteers at their disposal and financial support – the biggest fundraiser being the annual Degrees of Giving Silent Auction.

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The Silent Auction planning team is comprised of 30 volunteers who serve a variety of roles – from soliciting donations, developing the auction website, planning the day-of activities and marketing. They begin planning nearly 7 months in advance of the event typically held in June.

“We are so lucky to have a team of volunteers who are so dedicated to making a change in our community that they are willing to work outside of their usual capacity to execute this event,” said Silent Auction Co-chair Jackie Trott. “Each volunteer brings a diverse set of skills from event planning, coordination, or acquiring donations that contribute to the success of the Auction each and every year.”

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After back-to-back years of virtual silent auctions, the team was anxious to introduce a hybrid event in 2022. While all bidding took place on a website, associates had the option to attend in-office events, which included happy hour, a live auctioneer, and games.

“It was so fun for us to bring back the in-person aspect of this event,” Jackie said. “Being that this auction is all about community, we really missed celebrating the support we receive with our community of employees. It’s our way to say thank you and bring the event to life with things like caricature artists, a wine-draw, and even a live auction event.”

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Another way for associates to get involved in the auction is through 84.5RUN, an initiative started in 2020 to help increase participation during the pandemic. For $25, associates can sign up to run or walk a 5K and submit their time for a chance to win prizes.

This year's 84.5RUN was the most successful to date with 57 employees getting involved. Co-chair Ilana Blumin attributes this engagement to a few different factors.

“We’ve heard year after year that our employees appreciate having a way to support our charities beyond bidding in the auction, especially if they’re unable to join the in-person event. With 84.51°’s fully flexible environment, having a remote-friendly way to participate is even more valuable,” Ilana said. “Given that we were reviving the in-office aspect of the auction this year, we decided to introduce an in-person option for 84.5RUN as well. Our company has always had an awesome running culture, so some resident runners in our Cincinnati and Chicago offices coordinated a few group 5Ks to bring people together for the cause. These social runs were a hit and will absolutely be a part of future 84.5RUNs!”

This year’s auction raised $51,587, plus a $15,000 company match for a total of $66,587, which will be divided evenly among the 12 charities listed below. There were 3,662 online bids and 1,334 participants. While many of the donations came from bidded items, associates generously donated $8,255 directly to the Degrees of Giving charities.

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