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Ironistic: Making a Difference in Our Community

At Ironistic, we like to pride ourselves on the top-notch web design, development, and marketing services we provide and ensuring the success of our clients. Of course that’s important, right? That’s our business! But we get excited about a lot of other things, like our kids and their well-being (not just our own!), veterans, health and fitness (Rita’s favorite), and helping other businesses. Those things are just as important. So as we started looking around, we saw several opportunities to make a difference in our community – and we consider that every bit a part of our success as a company.  

Ironistic Community Giving

In a nutshell, here is where we are focusing our time and talent to help our community:  

First of all, we are investing in our children through support to the Garrett Mentors Program and various other youth programs.

Secondly, we are promoting an active, healthy lifestyle while also supporting our veterans through the Run! Geek! Run! 5K.

Third, we are supporting local organizations that benefit the growth and development of small businesses, since we too fall in that category.

Investing in our kids

Garrett Mentors, Inc. is a nonprofit organization in Maryland that provides pre-kindergarten through fifth grade children in the Garrett County Public Schools with caring, committed, adult mentors. These volunteer mentors serve as positive role models to children with various needs and backgrounds. Since a large percentage of our staff at Ironistic has strong ties to Garrett County, and we all recognize the tremendous value in providing a positive influence to children in need, it was a natural decision to support this particular nonprofit organization.

In 2014 we volunteered our time and skills to help Garrett Mentors improve their online presence with a brand new website, and we continue our support by hosting and maintaining that website.  We also host an annual charity Texas Hold’Em tournament every summer, which brings in approximately $1,000 for Garrett Mentors, Inc. each year. Of course, this has nothing to do with Chris’ gambling problem, especially since he loses the tournament every year!   

The impact of the new website has been tremendous.   Laura Fike, Director of Garrett Mentors, Inc. calls it “a game changer.”  Visually appealing and easy to use, the website has improved and expanded all aspects of the program, from fundraising and recruiting new volunteers to sharing information about Garrett Mentors and its events.  The functionality of the site ultimately saves Laura and her team valuable time that can be focused on making improvements and carrying out the most important task at hand: mentoring the children.

Since we all have kids involved in sports, we are huge advocates of keeping our children active and healthy, so supporting youth sports programs is a no-brainer for us.

Since 2014 we have contributed money to the athletic programs at West Potomac High School in Alexandria, Virginia through the banner sponsor program.  I guess you can say we’re biased since Chris and Rita’s kids compete for West Potomac.  In any case, we’re still rooting for their success. Go WOLVERINES!

west potomac booster club

In 2015, we provided funding for the Lakeland Stars U11 Youth Travel Baseball team based out of Brightondale, Wisconsin. Our support helped the team, which Jared’s sons Colton and Brody played for, to participate in the travel baseball program throughout Wisconsin. This year, we donated money for the Storm Baseball program in Salem, Wisconsin to enable a 12U boys’ baseball team to travel to Cooperstown, New York to participate in the Cooperstown Dreams Park National Invitational Tournament in July 2017. In this tournament, held each year since 1996, young players play against children from all over the world. The participants are inducted into the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame, which includes receiving the coveted American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame ring and officially becoming one of the Cooperstown Dreams Park Little Majors.  It will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these young boys, which includes Jared’s sons. Go Colton and Brody!!

This Club, based out of Kenosha, Wisconsin, promotes and provides support to enable Mite-aged hockey players (ages 6-8) in Wisconsin and Illinois play full ice hockey.  We helped the Club promote its third annual Jets Fest fundraising event by voluntarily designing a new Jets Fest logo and providing flyers and posters for the event. The upcoming Jets Fest will take place on January 8, 2017 and is critical to the Club’s mission to support young hockey players, as it is one of the only fundraising events held during the year for the Club. All proceeds will go directly to Wisconsin Jets Youth Hockey Club for hockey equipment, upkeep of the arena and more.  We do love hockey, but we should also mention that we have a vested interest in supporting two of the players on the team.  Go get ‘em, Ben and Zachary!

How gratifying is it when you can make a difference in the life of a terminally ill child?  We had a unique opportunity to do this through support to Whitetails Unlimited by sponsoring a hunt for one particular child so that his dream could come true.  Whitetails Unlimited is a national nonprofit conservation organization whose mission is to improve the habitat of wildlife, particularly the white-tailed deer. This is something near and dear to Jared’s heart, and in fact we also regularly contribute funds towards Whitetails Unlimited’s mission.  Through Whitetails Unlimited’s partnership with Catch A Dream Foundation, wishes come true for children suffering from life-threatening diseases, particularly when those wishes have to do with hunting and fishing outdoors.  Unlike most of the organizations, which do not allow hunting trips, Catch A Dream Foundation provides once-in-a-lifetime hunting experiences for terminally-ill children 18 and under.

SCAN is an organization in Northern Virginia whose mission is to promote the wellbeing of children, improve parent-child relations and prevent child abuse and neglect through education and advocacy.  We are sponsoring a playing field for SCAN’s croquet tournament, which will be held in June 2017 to raise funds for their child abuse and neglect prevention programs. Our contribution is the equivalent of sponsoring a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer for an abused or neglected child for 18 months. SCAN’s goal is for every child in foster care to return home or be placed in a permanent adoptive home within 18 months. As much as we love our kids, it pains us to know that abuse and neglect in our community if very real. And you can bet Chris and Rita will be among the participants at the tournament, demonstrating their amazing croquet skills while showing support for this worthy cause. Maybe Chris will have better luck than he does at his poker tournaments.

Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads Of Great Students) is a volunteer program that focuses on increasing the involvement level of men in our school. The program increases our Watch D.O.G.S. knowledge of what their child is doing at school and provides great opportunity for our students to work with positive male role models.

“I had such a great experience volunteering at my daughter’s elementary school. I was involved with greeting kids off their buses, helping a teacher from each grade, recess activities, and being an extra hand. My favorite part of the day was sitting down for lunch with my daughter and her friends.” ~ Justin Trevorrow

Camp Kesem is a nationwide nonprofit organization that provides a free summer camp for kids of past and present cancer patients. Camp Kesem has chapters at more than 100 college campuses across the country where more than 3,000 student volunteers work year-round to raise money to send over 6,000 kids to a camp near them. During the week of camp, counselors organize fun games and activities to help give kids in a difficult situation a chance to “just be kids.” Camp Kesem helps kids of all ages develop a support network of others going through similar circumstances that extends past just the week of camp.

We love to support this organization because who doesn’t love summer camp?! The kids who attend Camp Kesem are often an overlooked population, so we support them with endless songs (our fave: Gimme that Mac & Cheese), s’mores (yum!), and arts & crafts (duct tape bow ties are the best). In return, the campers teach the counselors to never take life too seriously and to always be grateful for your family and friends. Camp Kesem truly makes a lifelong difference in these kids’ lives – and more than 98% of parents agree!

Running for a good cause

Run! Geek! Run! 5K not only supports Rita’s obsession with fitness (which is, of course, very important), it also enables Ironistic employees to have a positive impact on the local community in an active way by supporting physical fitness while raising money for a worthy cause.  This fun, family-friendly road race has been taking place each September in the Washington D.C. area since 2008. Beginning in 2016, Ironistic teamed up with Hudson Studios to host the 5K. This year’s race, which drew over 250 participants, raised $10,000 and general awareness for Capitol Post, a Virginia-based nonprofit that offers career transition services to military veterans and their spouses. The money will go directly toward Capitol Post’s programming expenses, to include workshops, classes, and events that they provide for veterans in the Washington DC area.

We love to support our veterans, not only because of all of our personal ties to them through our friends and family (we would name them all here, but it would take too long…), but also because of all they’ve done to protect our freedom. To do something nice for our veterans while promoting the active and healthy lifestyle we all espouse at Ironistic is a perfect way to give back to our community.

Walk to Cure Arthritis is the Arthritis Foundation’s annual community fundraising 5K walk event.  The funds raised from the 5K support our nonprofit mission and research aimed at finding a cure for arthritis, America’s leading cause of disability. Whether you have a family member or loved one who suffers from arthritis, or are simply looking for a walking or running event for charity, the Walk to Cure Arthritis is a great way to get moving in support of a worthwhile cause!

“We’ve done the event a few times at the Mall of America. What a lot of people don’t know is that arthritis is not just for adults, but children as well. This event is a fun way to inform and show support. Our team themes change every year we participate, but this last one we were pirates. ‘ARRRRTHRITIS CAN WALK THE PLANK!’” ~ Justin Trevorrow

Supporting small/local businesses

The SBDC is a free community resource that provides workshops, training, and confidential individual guidance for startups and existing businesses.  We provide an annual donation towards the small business resource services that the SBDC offers.

Since we are all about having a good time too, we help sponsor various events the Alexandria  Chamber of Commerce holds throughout the year, such as their Annual Business Awards, and the Alexandria Chamber Professional Women’s Network’s (ACPWN) Coffee and Connections and Perfect Pairings events.  These events support the growth and strengthening of local businesses.

And just because we want to spread our love of nerdery for those in need, we donated laptops to Computer C.O.R.E., an organization based in Northern Virginia whose mission is to teach basic computing, technological and life skills to low-income adults.  Our donation contributed directly to C.O.R.E.’s ability to help these adults pursue their dreams and ultimately find meaningful work.  Many more laptops to come!

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