Brown Corp Sets Funding Record For Ionia

April 12, 2002
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IONIA — The Brown Corp. of America Inc. manufactures just-in-time metal stampings and complex welded assemblies, including instrument panel reinforcements and seat frames just about every auto product from Jeep to Cadillac.

The corporation’s 210 Ionia employees, however, currently have something extra special  on their minds: infants.

Item: Last year, Ionia’s WalkAmerica March of Dimes program set a fund-raising goal of $30,000.

Now, people in the Brown Corp.’s Ionia plant have made themselves a part of the community’s March of Dimes for more than a decade. And according to the WalkAmerica site in Ionia, each year the people at Brown have raised more and more money, making themselves a more and more important component of the march.

But last year something special happened.

The folks at Brown kind of took over, though in a very supportive sort of way.

To start with, they elected to transfer the proceeds of their weekly 50/50 raffle to the March of Dimes.

They also decided to hold two bake sales — one of them raising more than $400.

Then they arranged what they called an “Egg Surprise.” The project involved distributing nearly 700 eggs, each containing a single March of Dimes fact, plus candy, plus a number that is entered to win a prize.

The prizes — more than 70 of them worth more than an aggregate of $1,500 — were donated by suppliers and merchants at the urging and solicitation, of course, of Brown workers.

The people from Brown held a bowling marathon with each participating bowler donating $20.

Then, last month, they sold more than 80 vases of flowers in a St. Patrick’s Day Flower Arrangements sale.

They held a fund-raising car wash.

Employees sacrificed their diets, for the cause, too, when Snickers decided to kick in 25 cents to the March of Dimes for each Snickers bar that an employee purchased from the Brown company’s vending machine.

At the same time, Brown workers worked off some of the calories by holding a basketball tournament in which each entrant paid a $5 fee.

They held a golf tournament.

They also raised funds through an arts and crafts and rummage sale.

And when it was all over and the dust settled and the last dime was counted, 60 to 70 percent of Brown’s employees had raised more than $34,000 — $4,000 more than the entire Ionia campaign goal.

That seemed to energize folks in the plant because recently they announced a new March of Dimes goal for 2002.

Their goal this year is to raise $38,000.

The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality.  Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes funds programs of research, community services, education and advocacy to save babies.

Brown’s other manufacturing locations are Waverly, Ohio, Moberly, Mo., and Saltillo, Mexico. Brown also has a technical center in Madison Heights.

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