Businesses urged: Make A Difference

Herald Staff Writer

JASPER — Businesses that conduct a community service project on Saturday, Oct. 26, could win a grant for a local charity.

But the volunteer projects must be registered as part of the national Make a Difference Day.

The Jasper HomeTown Competitiveness Initiative’s leadership pillar and Jasper Chamber of Commerce are encouraging local businesses to participate. They have been sending out information and fielding calls about the activity.

“We wanted to do another project to encourage businesses to connect with local nonprofits,” said Andrea Hedinger, head of the leadership pillar.

The 20-year-old project, which is sponsored by the Points of Light organization and USA Weekend magazine, encourages groups to do volunteer projects in their neighborhoods on a particular day.
“We had so much fun with the state project that we thought we’d give this one a try,” Hedinger said, making reference to Companies With A Mission’s Indiana Service Challenge that drew local participants this past spring.

Two local companies entered the Indiana competition and conducted service projects in April. Southern Indiana Complete Fitness helped the Ferdinand Historical Society by working on the historical Dr. Alois Wollenmann House in the town.

Hedinger Beverage, of which Hedinger is vice president of sales and marketing, assisted the Dubois County Humane Society, which netted a $5,000 award for the society.

Companies have called the chamber about the national event, chamber Executive Director Nancy Eckerle said. “There are businesses looking into it,” she said. “We’d like for them to start thinking about this now. It’s important to start working on the ideas early.”

Hedinger said she has heard from people who were interested in being involved. “Volunteer Dubois County is checking with groups to find out some of their needs,” she said, “to see if they can be paired up with a business.”

Hedinger Beverage likely will participate, she said. “It may be with the Humane Society again,” she said, “but if not, then with another organization. We really enjoyed it the last time.”

Companies wanting to participate are asked to form a group of volunteers and decide on a project. That project can be registered at Make A Difference’s website at

Registered projects will have a page on the site through which information about the project can be spread to others.

The results of the projects, which can include photos and video, must be updated on the project’s page by Nov. 18.

To be a contender for winning one of 13 $10,000 grants for the benefiting charity, a project must be registered, must take place Oct. 26 and must have the results reported.

Hedinger hopes many local companies will participate in Make a Difference Day.

“It helps businesses get involved in the community. That is important,” she said. “And it helps our local charities and nonprofits, which is even more important.”

Contact Candy Neal at

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