DOWNTOWN — A Chicago company is offering its employees a "ditch day" — and they are paying it forward by donating to Chance the Rapper's charity, SocialWorks.
Havas, a Downtown marketing agency, has made a tradition of giving its employees a day off after a company party, said chief talent officer Jennifer Marszalek. Last year, the company's leaders realized they could help others benefit from "our good fortune," she said.
They tried out the idea by telling employees they could donate to an organization and, if enough money was raised for the group, there'd be a "ditch day."
"We were like, 'OK, if we're [going to] close the office, wouldn't it be great if we did something where employees ... showed that they were part of the process?'" Marszalek said. "It wasn't just that they got the benefit of the office being closed."
The company met its fundraising goal and decided to try the tactic again for this year's summer company party. A GoFundMe campaign was created, encouraging people to help raise $3,000 for Chance's SocialWorks and — if the goal was met — get the Havas employees a day off.
That campaign raised almost $2,800 in two days for SocialWorks. The organization, founded by Chance the Rapper, provides grants to Chicago Public Schools so the city's kids can be empowered.
"I think they've been really excited," Marszalek said. "A lot of employees shared their GoFundMe on Facebook and [have been] encouraging others to donate. I think that's how it's gotten so far so quickly. People have been very supportive."
Havas' philanthropic work is focused on helping kids in Chicago's underresourced communities, Marszalek said.
The company hopes its work can "help them see there is a path to having careers and creativity and channeling their creativity through the arts," Marszalek said.