Dunlap & Magee Raises $11,890 for Autism Speaks in PTO Donations

February 22, 2017

We all wake up everyday with a fresh slate. Throughout the day you will have to make different choices and decisions. But, there is a magical moment when your alarm first goes off, and you open your eyes, when you have an opportunity to choose your path for the day. What do you choose when you wake up?

Albert Yenguez, director of Marketing for Dunlap & Magee wakes up everyday with a joyful spirit. “I wake up every morning with a positive attitude and ask myself ‘How am I going to change things today?’ You have to think “I have the power to change lives.”

In a world of 40+ hour work weeks, and hectic schedules, it is rare to see companies that fully embrace the power of human connectedness and embody a willingness to help others. Dunlap & Magee, a multi-family property management company in Arizona and New Mexico, is turning typical workplace culture on its head.  

The culture and philosophy at Dunlap & Magee is all about giving back and impacting lives, explains President, Christine Shipley. “At Dunlap & Magee, our philosophy embraces that life is really about relationships. We are very mindful of the lives that we touch and our employees have the  thought process that every life that we touch is going to be left in a better position.”

This year, Dunlap & Magee has rallied behind autism awareness to support the Autism Speaks Walk Arizona in partnership with SARRC. Through relationships with the Arizona Multi-Housing Association (AMA), and a presence on the AMA Autism Committee, Shipley decided to test out a paid time off (PTO) donation program with her own employees.

“Lesley Brice, of MC Companies, had this repetitive notion that if you asked your employees, they would step forward and that it was an immediate way for people to start giving. We were able to see the idea come into being as she [Brice] talked about it as MC rolled it out. That is the specific reason we moved forward with the program and I am very proud of the response that we had from our employees.”

The premise of the program Hours4Autism is simple: instead of wasting unused PTO hours, donate them to help the lives of those affected by autism. According to research conducted by Project Time Off, in 2015, 55% of Americans left vacation days unused which totals in 658 million vacation days unused.  Once you take into consideration that many companies have a “use it or lose it” policy, it is a no-brainer that these hours could be used to do good.  

Hoping to make a difference, Shipley put together an email to send to all employees, appointed Albert to be the point person for the program, and waited.

“When you work for a company like Dunlap & Magee, and you have so many employees that are loyal, all it takes is an email from Christine,” Explains Yenguez. “She handed the program down to me and I started following up and receiving feedback from employees that wanted to give back. When your employees are happy, they’re going to respond in a positive way and they were onboard right away. We saw the hours coming in almost immediately.”

What did that giving look like? In 10 days of collections, Yenguez and Shipley saw 435 hours and $11,890 pour in from their employees. And, with the collection period not yet completed, they fully expect to see more come in. “I was shocked. I never expected the impact it had,” Shipley says with a smile. “Right after Albert rolled it out, we had hours coming in, our employees so exceeded my expectations”

Yenguez, who took on the role of point person for the program, addressed employees questions about the program. Yenguez found that many people want to find ways to give back, but didn’t have the time or financial backing to do so. “Every pay period they’re accumulating PTO hours. Once our employees realized that it wasn’t money coming right from their pocket it made more sense. They realized that they could recover the hours, and it helped them realize that they could donate and make a difference.”

As Dunlap & Magee started collecting donations from their employees, they worked hand in hand with their payroll company to process the funds. “Our payroll company, Payroll Experts, was very, very good,” says Shipley. “They didn’t really have any questions and had done this type of thing before and made it super simple for us. They even let us line item the donations within our own expense accounting records.”

For companies thinking about trying out the PTO program themselves, Shipley has some simple advice: “Call me or Albert and between the two of us we can assist to make it an easy process. When we are so busy, how long does it take to just sign a form to make a difference? The PTO program is that easy.”

A reoccurring theme kept coming up in our conversation: life is busy and hectic, but when you have an easy opportunity to have an impact, why not take it? All it took for Dunlap & Magee was to ask employees for their support, and collect signed forms from them. In the 30 seconds it takes to sign the authorization from, employees were helping families affected by autism.

Dunlap & Magee employees have fully embraced autism awareness in Arizona and are stepping up as one cohesive team. Through his extensive outreach and personal connections with his fellow employees, Albert has seen the spirit of giving grow. “For me, I think about these kids who don’t have the opportunities that we do. I have the strength and capability, to be the voice for these kids who need a voice. Doing outreach and engaging with our employees and talking to them about autism has been so powerful for me. People are so willing to collaborate beyond PTO donations. We already have a team of 70 people who will be attending the walk this year!”

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You can also reach the Autism Response Team by phone or email: 888-288-4762, en Espanol 888-772-7050, or help@autismspeaks.org.