IC System, the well-known accounts receivable company, has a long history of providing clients with effective service for their collection needs. The company is often thought of for their innovative practices that help them operate at the upper tiers of their industry, but beyond their history of cutting-edge practices lies a deep commitment to ethical business guidelines. This company-wide culture of fidelity to ideal-driven thinking is codified in their statement of core values which touches on goals that are oriented around people, pride, and integrity. This approach is apparent throughout the company’s daily practices but is perhaps best exemplified by the company’s commitment to charity and bettering their community.
About the Company
Founded in 1938, IC System was started by Ruth and Jack Erickson (AdvancedMD). The company, located outside St. Paul, Minnesota, has remained a family-run affair for the entire 80 years of its existence, having now passed down through three generations of family members. Even at its start, the company’s focus was not just on the services it delivered but also on the way in which it delivered those service. The founders’ conception for the company was that it would improve financial outcomes for consumers and clients while being guided by a principle of offering customers ethical and honest service.
Along with IC System’s mission of being the best, most trusted provider of receivables management services to original creditors, the company has a foundational belief that every business is part of a larger community. As a place of business, the company is one of the largest employers in both its neighborhood and city, but the company strives to maintain a charitable presence at both the state and national level. In line with its tradition of ethical practices, an essential component of the company’s modern philosophy is a recognition of the importance of giving back to its communities.
In order to best support its culture of corporate responsibility, IC System has sought to institutionalize its giving spirit through the creation of an in-house philanthropic team. That team, created in 1981, is known as its Employee Charitable Help Organization (ECHO). ECHO’s members are responsible for organizing the company’s employee charitable efforts. Each year they accomplish this by creating donation events, coordinating community activities, and creating opportunities for employees to volunteer and get involved in philanthropic outreach (http://tcbmag.com/honors/articles/2013/2013-minnesota-family-business-awards/i-c-system,-inc).
ECHO activities range from collecting donations to local food pantries to liaising with large charitable partners to set up drives and events. Each year, ECHO’s activities build on the previous year and further contribute to the company’s history of giving back. In 2016, the most recent year for which tallies are available, ECHO helped raise $32,000 for charitable causes and logged over 530 hours participating in community events.
IC System has worked with wide variety of charities related to many different causes and methods of operation. Many of the company’s charitable efforts focus on fundraising events where participating employees seek sponsorship in the form of donations to charitable organizations. One such event is the annual Polar Plunge to support the Special Olympics, held out of the La Crosse office. In the event, participants have the option to run a 5k and/or dive into the frigid waters of Pettibone Beach. This year’s Polar Plunge team raised a total of $8986 to be donated to the Wisconsin Special Olympics.
The company also organizes multiple blood drives throughout the year. During these drives, the company hosts an American Red Cross mobile blood drawing unit in order to allow employees to give blood on site. These drives often have high turnouts and in 2016 alone, staff members donated over fifty pints of blood. According to ECHO estimates, that amount of blood can be used to save over 150 lives.
In addition to donation events, a staple of IC System’s charitable efforts is its volunteer program. Volunteers from the company regularly engage in a number of activities that allow them to give back to their community. Many volunteer events have centered around food drives that have both collected and donated food to those in need. Past food drives have partnered with charitable organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House as well as Gillette Children’s Hospital. During these drives, employees helped package and serve food for children being treated at the hospital along with their families. Other volunteer events have partnered with the White Bear Area Emergency Food Shelf in Minnesota, as well as the Hunger Task Force of La Crosse.
When not donating their time to help feed the hungry, IC System employees volunteer for a number of other causes as well. One popular drive is the annual Fall Fundraiser event. During these yearly charitable outreach engagements, employees come together to support a variety of causes. One cause that sees a high rate of volunteerism is The Blankets and Quilts for Kindness initiative. During the initiative, employees donate financial resources as well as their time in securing felt blankets that they then assemble to give to patients in need at the local children’s hospital. During the 2016 drive, employees donated $1,400 and assembled 77 blankets for the hospital.
With a reputation as one of the leaders in the debt collection industry, IC System is often recognized for their innovative and effective business practices. However, central to the company’s mission is a culture of ethically-driven practices designed to give back to their community. Whether it’s through its pervasive commitment to integrity, or through a wide variety of charitable initiatives, the efforts of IC System are felt throughout charitable organizations, hospitals, and other institutions in the community. Though that impact is strongest on the local level, the company also works to give time and resources to those in need on both the state and national level as well. The end result of the company’s push towards helping others is both a positive effect on those who receive their generosity, as well as a sense of pride from employees. With a continued focus on charitable efforts of all kinds, IC System is ensuring that its commitment to ethical business practices is a tradition that’s here to stay.