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Despite Recession, Home Depot Keeps on Giving

| Tuesday February 9th, 2010 | 33 Comments

Last week’s announcement from the Home Depot Foundation suggests that even with sales slumps and layoffs, the nation’s largest retailer of home improvement products still views charitable giving as good business.

The company is expecting lower revenues for 2009 when results are announced in February, and for the third consecutive January is cutting its workforce.  Still, the Home Depot Foundation gave $74 million to 5,300 nonprofits last year, according to the recent announcement, an almost 50 percent increase from 2008.

“The Foundation has not been affected by how the broader economic pressures have affected our company,” said Home Depot spokesperson, Paula Drake in an email to Triple Pundit.

In fact, during an economic downturn may be the best time for companies to burnish their reputations through cause marketing campaigns, according to Wendy Liebmann, chief executive at WSL Strategic Retail, a consulting company.  In a recent NY Times article, Ms. Liebmann referenced a list of 10 reasons shoppers consider a store their favorite, and supporting “the community or worthwhile causes” came in number 8 on the list.  “The key, as we come out of this recession, is that we don’t trust many people anymore,” Ms. Liebmann added, so “retailers feel the need to present themselves as good citizens” to counter that.

Home Depot is clearly getting the message, launching and supporting targeted campaigns aligned with their core business. A majority of the Foundation’s contributions go to nonprofit organizations and employee volunteer programs that focus on building affordable, green housing and community gathering places, like parks and centers.

In addition to cash grants, the Foundation also contributes building materials, through programs like Framing Hope, a donation program that gives discontinued and clearance merchandise to local nonprofit organizations.

Through this program last year, the Foundation donated $37 million in product to 1,600 nonprofit organizations, most of which focus on building and maintaining affordable housing and community shelters.  This effort also diverted 12,500 tons of usable products from landfills.

The Foundation is also working on a ten-year commitment, started in 2007, to invest $400 million to build and rehabilitate 100,000 affordable homes and to plant and restore three million trees.  Since the program began, the Foundation has invested $162.6 million (cash and in kind) as well as building and preserving 50,000 homes and planting over 600,000 trees in various communities.

Much of this work is accomplished through nonprofit partners that focus on community development and sustainable building standards like the U.S. Green Building Council who has developed the LEED for Homes Initiative for Affordable Housing.

The Home Depot Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization established in 2002 to further the company’s community building goals.  You can download the Foundation’s latest report here to get more detail on 2009 accomplishments.


▼▼▼      33 Comments     ▼▼▼

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  • Dave Home Depot employee

    I agree that helping others is a good thing but what about all of the people who lost their jobs 74 million could definatly go a long way towords getting them back on the work force. Not to mention that all of the people Home Depot has hired over the last year or so make on average 30 percent less than the year before. Also they only hire part time now.

  • hdassco

    The decision to lay off people is not an easy one,ever. The Home Depot does not ever take making them chioces lightly. I work for a company I am proud of and the majority of us feel that way. We are getting back to the core of what made this company period.

    • adp978

      I have worked in 3 stores and with the company for almost 10 years. So the old values were just before me but my husband rembers. He and I have discussed this and if we are to be returning to the core values why is it that the cusotmers are treated like gold (which is great, nothing against customer service) but the associates are treated poorly as customers? Sorry to say that over 30% of this stores employees shop across the street (Lows). That to me is an embarassment not only to the company but to me and it makes it hard to work here. I love my second family (well most of them) but it gets harder every year.

      • hdforlongtime

        we are better today then we were 5 years ago with nardeli.thanks to frank we are going back to the days we rocked sometimes we have to fall to get back up.I thought for years that we do get treated bad as shoppers or trying to return something i will not shop in my own store just becuase its a hassel i go to lowes and one other home depot out of my way. also i believe we as employees we should get discounts on purchases it never mad sense that we do not lowes gives there people discounts.frank should make some change in that direction face it we are the front line of the company we deal with every type of consumers out there everyday they should take care of us better then they do since we are the core of home depot

  • naser kargar tucker store.

    Let's look ahead for a better economy. I have been working with the home depot for more than 4 years. We have been through a lot, and I am sure with sticking to our core values once again we will prosper more and more.That's a good thing that my company gives hand to others. That's something that I am really proud of. Viva home depot.

  • njjdi101

    It's very sad that a Big company lke THD has reverted to the oldest trick in the book, by only hiring part-timers to cut cost. I hope they realize that by doing this, they only undermine there own stability. Part-timers are generally not as loyal to the company as someone who is working full-time, because the attitude is “well, I'm only part-time”. If they really wanted to help out our communities, they should hire full-timers. This would help to stimultate our economy and ultimately stimulate THD sales. Simple ecominics 101. The more people working, the more people shopping the better the economy, the better our sales would be…..

  • Colleen H

    Part time or full time, in this economy you are lucky to have a job. Home Depot does care about its employees and the community, not to mention people around the world who cannot help themselves. Personally I think they should be commended for what they do, not what they aren't.

    • Georgia House

      Colleen H: Though I respect your comments that, generally, H.D. is a good company for which to work, I am averse to feeling grateful to it just for having a job. The country being in a poor economic condition shouldn't give those who hire an economic advantage by changing hiring practices or by using fear tactics, i.e. bullying its employees. As to your thoughts about part-time workers being less loyal, though there may be some merit to that assumption, though as a part-time employee myself, I can't imagine anyone being a more conscientious and customer service minded sales associate than I. And most all of the part-time people in my H.D. store in Quincy are consistent in being timely, service oriented and very nice folks with whom to work. You are so right, indeed “let us commend,” but at the same time, let us not sweep fixable faults under the rug.
      Georgia House

      • joyce

        I agree with much of what you have said.but..from my point of view there has been quite a change in asm and upper management attitude and tactics. I feel that truly this is a roll down the hill effect…and as an hourly associate we are at the bottom of the hill. If indeed HD has given orders to scale down your work force I would much rather that we just be told this straight up…not harassed and made to feel we are not doing our jobs..even though top sales associate.. Just my point of view…i have also seen and feel the same gereral pressures at my store from upper management. i have been with HD 6 years and am a kichen designer.

        • Guest

          I could not have put this into words better myself…the feeling of “never being able to do enough or doing it right” is ever present in our store…I brought this up to my Manager and the HR about full time employees that have been with HD for some time and how poorly they can be treated…they both told me this was not true…I stepped down as a DH for this same reason…I am a 10 year employee..6 stores from Florida to NE

  • rhf97q

    There is no better indication of the quality of the company you work for than its willingness to give back. We work for a company with a big heart and we should be greatful. The Home Depot is a great place to be. Keep up the good work and promote positive attitudes to represent the brand. Go Orange. Rick Fox Store 1938

    • dfl98r

      I agree!! Go Orange!!

  • worker1

    This article is mostly about how The Home Depot is still giving to charity and good causes, not about full-time or part-time or about how much work force is being cut. Although a change has been made in the Human Resource department nothing has changed when it comes to the hiring or firing that Home Depot has done or anyone has done. This is a good company look at the brighter side of disater

  • nonametopreservejob

    I am continually threatened by my ASM if I dont increase sales, we will have to “find” a place elsewhere for you. I am a specialist and have a contractor licence in the field. This during the most difficult economic times. The higher ups are only concerened about profit. As an associate that has been here for years, I find the lack of appreciation by our management appaling. They won't give me full time hours and will not hire anyone full time. And, I am one that leads the district in sales. Go figure.
    To preserve my annonimity and job, I won't leave my name.

  • ProudtobeHD

    nonametopreservejob, I understand your frustration but how is your negative attitude affecting the associates around you? What are “you” (I'm sure you have a team) doing aside from making sales to set the example. Every associate who complains is so worried about what everyone else is doing but never take the time out to look how they are making a difference. I highly doubt someone is telling you if you dont increase sales then they will fire you. If that is true then who did you tell? Bottom line is the higher ups are going to be worried about profit because that is their job. The reason they may only hire part time is because thats all the staffing will allow. It plain and simple if economic times are tough and we want to keep stores open operating profit is key. Home Depot is a great company(we both still have jobs when many don not because of them) and I will acknowledge that bad seeds do slip through the cracks but the change has to start with each of us as individuals to be the best company in the world. Leading by example goes along way and so does a negative attitude. You decide which will keep our company strong.

    • nonametopreservejob

      Proud, I love my job. I get to interact with wonderful customers and associates. But in this tight market, my leadership wants us to pull rabbits out of the hat. Again, my ASM uses this tactic of suggesting a better place for us as a threat or intimidation. I do the best and since customers are not walking though the doors, our sales will suffer. My attitude is positive, but I am also a realist. Frank has said how much he cares for the employees, but still is cutting back at thier expence. H.D. has money in the bank that will allow Frank to give full time status to many more associates then what we have now. I also would be curious if your recent raise was just an obligatory of a few insulting pennies like many in our store recieved. Much can be done to inspire us. But when the uppity schmucks still treat us the way the do, they will continue to see a more disgruntled work force. They say one thing and dont do the “Right” thing. Look at it this way, Not one time in my years of work here has a manager ever asked, “is there anything the customers are asking for that we dont have”. It doesnt matter, because Atlanta, Educated, Smart people know whats best for a store that they have never been in or asked a pee-on associate what is needed.

      • withhold by request

        I have almost 6 years as a specialist, tops in district and company on numerous occassions, sold multi-millions of dollars of products for HD with almost nothing to show for it but satisfied customers and dissatisfied management. The pay is crappy for what I do, and they would rather hire part time newbies for almost no pay to run what once was a solidly run company (go back a decade). The current trend to pile on petty grievances, new, impossible, incomprehensible paperwork for the old-timers is obviously a ruse to weed out those w/tenor and wages above minimum. I have been seriously considering the obvious…

    • 5yr employee

      As a specialist, I am required to maintain a SPH, however, 2-3 days a week I am scheduled to cover other departments. Even though I cross-clock, this does not reduse the hours I am charged for. When brought up im my monthly meetings, I am told the figures are the figures and I am responsible to make up the sales. And yes, they have cut staffing so many times I am covering 3 departments at the same time. There is a point where you have cut staff too much

  • Roy

    There are several interesting views expressed here. Most of them do not take into account the various state regulations related to employment practices for full versus part-time employment. As a long term HD employee (I go back to the Bernie and Arthur days) who has been through several lay-offs and restructurings, I know that HD is a great place to work and a very fair and equitable employer. Yes — I have been “laid off” but always had another position offered to me at both corporate and store levels over the years. I am currently part-time but I have been salaried and fukk-time. Part-timers allow a company to adjust the labor hours to meet the business needs without being constrainted to pay for hours that are not supported by sales income.

    We work for an innovative employer who was among the first major retailers to extend benefits to part-timers. We work for and employer that matches our own charitable giving so that we can leverage our influence on our favorite organizations.

  • awes

    this is crap. the bottom line is home depot is giving away millions of dollars to look good. if they actually cared this money would go to stop firing people and hiring more full time. instead they want to cut costs at the expense of their employees, then splash their cash in full public view!

  • PssyMonster

    Home Depot will always be the best !

  • PssyMonster

    Home Depot will always be the best !

  • dafloorguy

    While I won't say that the comments about being “threatened” (quotes because I can't think of a better term, not because I don't believe the statement), I can honestly say that this is not a company-wide problem. I am also a specialist, in D23, who has a SPH and measure quota to meet. We also are suffering from fewers customers walking the aisles. My SASM also looks at it as a challenge of getting the numbers regardless, but has never threatened me with being moved to another department or even given me too much flak for not making my numbers. At my store the management team does a pretty good job of letting you know if you're working your tail off, the numbers aren't so important. I'm sorry for anyone whose management team is looking and numbers and forgetting they are working with people, not machines.

    • adp978

      We have had employee here at my store that were not only threatened but he was removed from his posistion at the pro desk and then put to the lot.

  • Caitlin

    All I can say to the ones who say they feel threatned, or don't think Home Depot is doing all they can for part timers you all have free will and the ability to look for another job at any time. No one is forcing you to work for a company that makes you feel threatned. Certainly times are tough and we would all like to see part timers get more hours. How many of you have limitation on the departments or availability restrictions. The part timers in my store have opened their availability and receive more hours on a regular basis. Specialists who make an honest effort to close their sales, walk the aisles applying the FIRST principles are not threatned in my store, even if they regularly don't make their SPH. We all realize times are tough but usually the ones who complain the most are the ones who are not doing all they can to increase sales. I have worked for this company for 12 years both as a part time associate, specialist, department supervisor and now ASM. Focus on the customer and sales and the rest will take care of itself.

    • Jack

      Heh, Just like an ASM to say, Put customers first, while you put your associates last.

  • bleedingorange

    wow alot of good and negative stuff on here.As a 19 yr associate i can honestly say i have seen it all.Its a fact that home depot must donate for tax purposes and it a good think they are doing.they cant just give it all back to the employees as much as we all would love them to it isnt always the practagle thing to do.I have seen Depot at its high and at its low.I feel Frank has us heading in the right direction and it didnt hit the low over night and it isnt going to get back up over night either.I feel very lucky to work for a company that does care (and i dont believe only my distric is this way) and not having to worry everyday is today the day i find out company is going to close down or close half its storer which if you watch news is happening all over the world.

    • 12yrwithhd8yrstore6378

      12 years with home depot, 8 as a dh. I feel this company is too big and profitable not to hire more full- timers. We give out big bonus to V.Ps and to people out side the box (millions to the ceo). While raises were the lowest in years, ( still big profits and tax free donations off the backs and free time of the associates?). Maybe its time to let the UNION come in and negotiate for more full-timers and bigger raises ( atlease back to the 4% or more), and they would only negotiate these things based of our profits( yep, that means YOUR bonus frank and the V.Ps out side the box).

  • 12yrwithhd8yrstore6378

    12 years with home depot, 8 as a dh. I feel this company is too big and profitable not to hire more full- timers. We give out big bonus to V.Ps and to people out side the box (millions to the ceo). While raises were the lowest in years, ( still big profits and tax free donations off the backs and free time of the associates?). Maybe its time to let the UNION come in and negotiate for more full-timers and bigger raises ( atlease back to the 4% or more), and they would only negotiate these things based of our profits( yep, that means YOUR bonus frank and the V.Ps out side the box).

  • Richard Ash

    The “Core Values” of Home Depot is a joke. Dozens of full-time associates were purged at my store and replaced with minimum wage associates. You can be fired at any time for any reason. (Unless you work in one of the few states that has specific employee rights) Associates who have just purchased homes or had babies have been fired for offenses that used to draw only a verbal warning. HD a horrible place to work. All people being hired at my store are pary-time and at minimum wage. You have to give HD “full availability” or your won't get hours. That means HD can start your shift at at 6:30 am one day and make you close the next day at 11:00 pm. You can work every weekend months in a row. You can';t have a life. If you work 20 hours a week and make a doctor's appointment 3 weeks out you may get it, but you will lose that day. HD won't give you another day to make up for it. Schedules are made 3 weeks in advance. You may be scheduled 20 hours one week and then have your hours cut to 14 at the last moment. Home Depot does not respect its employees. They know in this market they won't have trouble replacing you. HD will pay a bonus if your store makes over the projection. I got $14 on my last bonus. All this while a former CEO walked away with about $240 million dollars! You really want to work at Home Depot?

  • Richard Ash

    The “Core Values” of Home Depot is a joke. Dozens of full-time associates were purged at my store and replaced with minimum wage associates. You can be fired at any time for any reason. (Unless you work in one of the few states that has specific employee rights) Associates who have just purchased homes or had babies have been fired for offenses that used to draw only a verbal warning. HD a horrible place to work. All people being hired at my store are pary-time and at minimum wage. You have to give HD “full availability” or your won't get hours. That means HD can start your shift at at 6:30 am one day and make you close the next day at 11:00 pm. You can work every weekend months in a row. You can';t have a life. If you work 20 hours a week and make a doctor's appointment 3 weeks out you may get it, but you will lose that day. HD won't give you another day to make up for it. Schedules are made 3 weeks in advance. You may be scheduled 20 hours one week and then have your hours cut to 14 at the last moment. Home Depot does not respect its employees. They know in this market they won't have trouble replacing you. HD will pay a bonus if your store makes over the projection. I got $14 on my last bonus. All this while a former CEO walked away with about $240 million dollars! You really want to work at Home Depot?

  • Mike

    I have to agree with those who feel that they REALLY HAVE NO LIFE because of the damnable “full-flex” policy of The Home Cheapot! It is absolutely INSANE and TOTALLY counterproductive to anyone trying to live a “normal” family-based life!! I’ve worked at one for nearly 7 years, and I have no choice but to work full-time, which also means my life is not my own. Hasn’t been. Never will, as long as I stay at this place. The job itself I don’t mind. But this POLICY NEEDS TO BE CHANGED YESTERDAY!!
    I had a discussion about this with my OPS manager, and he said that “only stores with this type of total availability are the ones not going down with the economy”. Which was absolute B.S. It’s just a means of controlling people’s lives! As one co-worker said, “Home Depot keeps coming up with more and more ways to SLAP their employees around”!!
    The only way I can keep my sanity concerning this evil policy, is to constantly remind myself that, yes, even this too, will soon pass….HD will go down with the rest of this wicked world very soon at Armageddon!

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  • veronica

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