While some businesses throw Christmas parties, and some businesses hand out bonuses, Lakeview Village does something a little different: The residents roll out the Christmas cheer, and give employees a year’s worth of donations; this year, raising nearly $75,000 that they split among the community’s more than 550 full- and part-time employees during a unique employee Christmas party this week.
It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas at the Lenexa, Kansas, continuing care retirement community.
Jamie Frazier, Lakeview Village president and CEO, said that the tradition spans many years, and began because the community institutes a no-tipping policy, urging residents to refrain from tipping employees. Residents wanted to find a way to give back to the employees since all provide some type of service to them, whether it’s maintaining their lawns, preparing and serving them food or fixing their appliances.
“It is very, very generous, and the employees really do appreciate it, especially at this time of the year” Frazier said.
Bill Leach, Lakeview Village Resident Council treasurer, said that the Resident Council begins collecting donations from the community’s approximately 750 residents in the spring, and ends up collecting about $5,000 by late summer, at which time donations start filtering in more rapidly.
Leach says he doesn’t look at who writes a check for what amount, but as treasurer, he does tally the donations: Some people donate thousands of dollars in one chunk, others transfer money from their bank account every month toward the fund, and others just donate here and there, as they are able, or as they think about it. One resident wrote a check for $365—tipping $1 for every day of the year.
Employees are likely busy writing their thank you notes in response to their gift from residents (the notes are displayed on easels for residents to read). A full-time employee (about 60 percent of the employees) received $220 in an envelope. Part-time employees and as-needed workers also received a share. Even an employee who started work last week got a small donation.