Bennett Thrasher has been focused on giving back to the community since its creation in 1980. One of the firm’s values is “family” and this concept includes not only our associates, but the metro Atlanta community. In 2003, we recognized the need to formalize our giving efforts by creating the Bennett Thrasher Foundation, enabling all of our associates to devote their time and resources to various volunteer opportunities throughout Georgia. Funded by the firm’s top-line revenue, the BT Foundation is completely associate-run, with a board of partner advisors. The Foundation has given more than $2M in grants to 501 (c)(3) non-profits that our associates are passionate about and provides our associates with countless volunteer opportunities throughout the year. The BT Foundation has also supported “BT on the AT,” a firm-wide initiative where associates and staff members participate in various hikes on the Appalachian Trail to raise awareness around mental health wellness in the workplace and to give back to the community.
In today’s “always on” world, mental health awareness is something that can often take a backburner to our busy lifestyles. With this in mind, Bennett Thrasher wanted to create an initiative that put a focus on health/wellness and fun, two of our firm’s core principles, while also giving our associates a chance to take a break from day-to-day work stresses. Our employees’ mental health and overall wellness is extremely important to Bennett Thrasher, which is why two of our core principles are ‘Health/Wellness’ and ‘Fun.’ In today’s culture of 24/7 connectivity, we hope to inspire other organizations to support their own employees’ mental wellness through unique programs and activities.
Over the summer of 2019, we embarked on a journey that brought mental health wellness to the forefront of the workplace and gave associates a chance to take a break from their daily work routines before the busier times of the year. Between June 2 and 13, BT staff members participated in seven different hikes on Georgia’s portion of the Appalachian Trail and were encouraged to disconnect from technology, email and social media and reconnect with the serenity that can be found throughout the beautiful North Georgia Mountains. Throughout the hikes – which have become known among the firm as “BT on the AT,” associates participated in meditation and other mental exercises and had a chance to connect with their colleagues in among nature.
In addition to “BT on the AT,” Bennett Thrasher hosted several educational activities over the summer that focused on mental health awareness. For example, the firm invited experts from the local mental health community to the office for open and honest discussions about mental health in the workplace and at home, discussing topics like stress, addiction and wellness. Further, the BT Foundation sponsored two volunteer activities, offering employees the opportunity to give back to the community and dedicate their time to organizations like Canine Assistants and the Atlanta Community Food Bank. These types of initiatives help increase individuals’ well-being, lead to higher employee engagement and allow associates to reconnect with one another in a unique way.