Jumping in to Support Education: Spirit United Winner Hachette Book Group

When Hachette Book Group opened its Central Indiana office in Lebanon in 1996, they had only 10 employees. Yet they knew those 10 employees could make impact in their community — so they began a partnership with United Way of Central Indiana.


“We were looking for an organization with the same values that we have and who has the longest reaching arms in the community, and United Way was just that,” says Katie Richman, Executive Director of HR at Hachette Book Group. The company wanted to focus on early childhood education and literacy, two areas United Way does substantial work in.


Twenty two years later, they’ve grown to 450 employees, yet still believe in maintaining their family-like culture and devotion to community service the company was founded on. “That’s something we value very much, regardless if we are 10 employees or 450. Our culture is that of family,” Katie remarks. “All those years ago, community service and community outreach became really important, and it stays important.”


Over the years, they’ve given back to their Boone County community in a multitude of ways. But one of the biggest ways has been through their service and devotion to helping expand United Way’s programs in the area of education. One of those programs is Backpack UNITED, a yearly donation drive to give students in need the supplies they need to succeed in school.



Spirit United award winner When Hachette Book Group found out that United Way needed support for Backpack UNITED, they jumped at the chance to be involved. “Without hesitation, our management team said yes, which led to Hachette Book Group being a proud sponsor of this much needed and highly successful program,” Frank Casolaro, Vice President of Distribution shares. They quickly offered up their location, resources and staff to help store, sort and pack the backpacks with supplies to hand out during the Backpack UNITED Festival. It was just one of the many ways they’ve ensured they’re supporting youth in Lebanon and Boone County.


Infographic: Children Head Back to School Ready for Success Thanks to Backpack UNITED


Hachette Book Group also jumped at the chance to support United Way’s growth of ReadUP into Boone County. The program pairs caring mentors with third graders to read with them to help them get on track — and stay on track — with grade-level literacy. Since the program’s expansion into Boone County, Hachette Book Group and its employees have volunteered countless hours to help plan and facilitate the program.


Restock the Classroom This past year, the company implemented its first National Community Service Day. On April 18, all of Hachette Book Group’s locations across the country participated in various community service projects. Here in Indiana, they decided to partner with United Way. “We partnered with United Way to provide outreach opportunities to our employees so they can use their time and talents to have a physical impact in our community. Over 100 employees assembled and delivered teacher packages for the United Way’s Restock the Classroom event, landscaped for a senior couple unable to do the work themselves through Boone County Senior Services and prepared the YMCA for summer camp,” Frank exclaims. And those were just some of the projects the company participated in!


Related Video: Restock the Classroom Spreads School Supplies and Smiles to Thousands of Teachers


The key to Hachette Book Group’s ability to give back to the community is the employees. “Our employees are just so giving and willing to jump in – it’s just part of who they are,” Katie shares. Frank and Katie are both grateful for the people who serve Hachette Book Group, and know that the service they provide to the community is going a long way.


When asked about winning United Way’s Spirit United award, Katie takes a moment to pause before explaining what it means to her department and Hachette Book Group as a whole. “It’s honestly for me and my group pretty emotional, we’ve been putting heart into this for many years. Spirit United is something we never thought we could aspire to — we’re not a big company in Central Indiana and we’re tucked away in Lebanon — but knowing that we are recognized for the hard work being put into it is wonderful,” she shares.


United Way is proud to recognize Hachette Book Group as one of our 2018 Spirit United award winners for their incredible work in our community. If your business, employer or organization is interested in partnering with United Way to make positive change in Central Indiana, consider starting a workplace campaign to jump start your organization’s community involvement and engagement.


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