Pick your passion

Local builder empowers employees to give back
“It’s amazing the pride they’ve shown with the idea that they’re donating, in their names, to the organization that they believe in. I’m blown away by it.” — John Seelye

You can discover a lot about the person by learning what charitable organizations they support. That’s what Big Sky Build, Inc. owner John Seelye learned when he decided this year to enable one employee a month to donate $200 to a charity of their choice.

Seelye, who’s been running BSB since 1997, has always had a penchant for community service. Most of his business’ contributions have been financial, and he personally, as a father, likes to donate to organizations and entities that take care of children and families. Women In Action came to mind as he listed some of the organizations he’s supported.

“But then, I started thinking, that I wanted to get our employees involved,” Seelye said. So he talked to his office staff about it, and they came up with the plan to allow one employee a month to donate $200 of the company’s cash to a non-profit organization they feel passionate about. Starting this January, beginning with last names starting with A, they’ve been working down the alphabetical line since. 

“I don’t care if it’s the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation or the Cancer Fund,” said Seelye, who has 27 folks on his staff. “Whatever they believe in, we’re going to donate $200 in that employee’s name, and it’s just going to keep going and going. Once we’re through Z, we’ll start right back at A.”

BSB has a number of younger workers, “And what has been amazing to me, is that even the younger employees who I thought might be like, ‘Ah, whatever,’ have really latched onto this,” Seelye continued. “It’s amazing the pride they’ve shown with the idea that they’re donating, in their names, to the organization that they believe in. I’m blown away by it.”

Not only is the charitable program benefiting a range of non-profits, Seelye has also seen a benefit in the cohesiveness of his team. He also hopes by posting the monthly donation choice on social media, that the message of giving will inspire others to do the same. “The hope it that it will keep compounding,” he said.

Recent donations from BSB’s employees include gifts to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Heroes and Horses, The National Parks Conservation Association and the Wolf Point Pound Puppies.

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