“Usher Love is the Usher Group’s way of giving back and ensuring our energy is being focused in a productive way to help others.”

Usher Love

Usher Group founder Theo Vairaktaris has a strong vision for giving back to the community.

Despite his difficult upbringing, Theo Vairaktaris was a man with a vision. He was determined to improve his life by creating a business where he could not only be inspired, but bring together a team of talented professionals to create a stimulating and motivated workplace.

In 2003 Theo’s first company UHK Painters and Decorators was founded. At the time, the painting industry was full of one-man-bands running their businesses out of the passenger seat of their car, and Theo was no different. Until he saw an opportunity to make things better, for himself and his company, and so he did.

Theo applied a building company structure to his humble painting business and offered support to his small team of staff with professional tools and training experience.

The industry started taking notice. With more structure, organisation and great quality control, the company started doubling its annual revenue, each and every year. Through expansion and acquisition, the company became Usher and Son in 2004 and secured its first $1 million project just four yearslater.

Now 17 years on, the company has rebranded as Usher Group to reflect their expanded service offering over seven categories including rendering, access solutions, design and signage, electrical solutions and property services.

Usher Group is now multiple award-winning, nationwide company with over 500 employees, and still with Theo at the head of the table.

WHAT DOES PAINT HAVE TO DO WITH CHARITY?

You could be forgiven for dismissing the Usher Group as a typical successful start up, and in many ways it is. However, the difference sits with Theo’s commitment to giving back to his community and supporting those less fortunate than himself.

Since Usher Group’s inception, the construction and trade giant has consistently donated to 25 charities in the community, giving each and every year without fail. Theo’s commitment to these 25 charities has remained unchanged, only the amount he has been able to contribute has altered.

The company’s beneficiaries range from high-profile charities such as MS Queensland, World Vision Australia, Ronald McDonald House and The Heart Foundation to grassroots organisations including eczema support group Hands to Hold, Lions Club Palm Beach and Act for Kids.

He also donates his staff to complete community projects when he can, painting churches, maintaining community centres and facilities that need attention but have no funding.

In 2012 Theo made his commitment to his community official with the creation of Usher Love, the Usher Group’s charity foundation dedicated to supporting charities and not-for-profit organisations

“When I started my business almost two decades ago, I took the opportunity to create a line-up of charities that I donated to each year,” said Theo.

“In the first instance the selection of charities happened organically, and I have continued to donate to these charities over time, increasing the Usher Group’s contribution by approximately 20% each year.”

In 2018 Usher Group donated over $315,000 in both cash and countless volunteer hours to the selected 25 charities and not-for-profit organisations.

As a family owned and operated business, the charities the Usher Group supports today have been pre-determined by Theo or his staff members. Theo is known for supporting the charities that are not only close to his heart, but those who have impacted the lives of his staff members as well.

FINDING THE WHY

His humble beginnings have never left Theo’s psyche and the art of giving back has played an important role in the Usher Group story. As a young man starting out in business, Theo understood the importance of community support and he also valued the importance of others giving to those less fortunate.

Usher Love was founded as a means for formalise the process of giving back to the community and as a vehicle for the Usher Group to focus their charitable energy to make a mark in society.

“I think everyone in our community has the ability to support those who are doing it tough in some shape or form, whether it be through donating unwanted goods, offering your spare time or if possible donating funds,” said Theo.

“Usher Love is the Usher Group’s way of giving back and ensuring our energy is being focused in a productive way to help others.”

But it’s not just about donating. Theo and his staff take an interest in where the donations go and what they are used for within a charity.

Through Usher Love’s donations to World Vision Australia, the company provided education to a girl until she was 16-years’ old, after which they begun sponsoring the education of yet another child in need who was of school age.

EARNING TO GIVE BACK

Since the creation of Usher Love, the growth has been so great that each quarter the company produces a business report on the causes it supports, including a breakdown of whether it made monetary donations or supported them via staffing or complimentary services.

Usher Group national sales manager Mikel Nyholt, who is responsible for delivering the report, said he had never worked for an employer so committed to community causes

“It’s unlike any company I’ve experienced and what makes it so special is it happens organically,” says Mikel, who joined Usher Group two years’ ago.

“Like any business, our people have connections to causes that have touched their lives and because they know how supportive the company is, they feel comfortable asking if we can help.

“It’s not about studying a budget or checking if a cause will benefit our marketing strategy. We just do our best to make it happen.”

Theo’s initial methodical approach to managing the charities he supports has provided a solid framework for donating to the community, which has allowed the Usher Group to continue their charity work even as the company has grown.

For charities seeking the ongoing support of companies like Usher Group, Theo reiterates the importance of establishing relationships with key businesses that provide ongoing donations as a way of ensuring their continued support.

Theo also recommends extending opportunities for key donators to attend fundraising events as a way of keeping business owners connected with the charity while providing an opportunity to witness first-hand the benefits their contribution is making to a charity.

THE FUTURE

With Usher Love still in its formative days, Theo says he looks forward to continuing to explore the capacity of the charity foundation and his ability to spread the love through his community.

For more information visit www.ushergroup.com.

Theo’s tips for companies 

  1. Select a portfolio of charities that you would like to support as a business and continue to donate to these charities each year.
  2. Don’t be disheartened if your donations are small when your business is starting out, the regular contributions can make a big difference to those in need. Remember, from little things big things grow.
  3. Be consistent and take the guess work out of who you support.

Theo’s tips for charities

  1. Work on building relationships with business owners who regularly donate to your charity or not-for-profit organisation.
  2. Always consider inviting those who regularly donate to your charity events and fundraisers as a way of illustrating how donations help your cause.

 

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