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Sep 15, 2020

“The Walk for Education provides a great opportunity for our ERG — and the Madison Heights team — to show our commitment to supporting the local community.”

Building Community — Inside and Outside Henkel

Henkel is committed to making the world a better place. We encourage our employees to be leaders in the community, and we are proud of the way they advocate, volunteer and give back to create positive change. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are one of the ways our employees collaborate to build community — inside and outside Henkel. Here is one example.

Walking the Talk in Madison Heights

On August 22, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) held its 32nd Annual Detroit Walk for Education  — a virtual event this year, due to the pandemic. In Madison Heights, Michigan, where Henkel makes adhesives, sealants and functional coatings for automakers and other industries, employees have a long history of supporting the walk.

Key Account Manager Tony Johnson worked with several colleagues to create the African-American Alliance of Metropolitan Detroit (AAAMD) in 2008. “We wanted to start our group to develop an open dialogue, support the development of Black employees, and inspire and implement external programs that would help the Black community,” says Johnson, who serves as one of several co-chairs for the Walk for Education.  

“Our focus on UNCF allows us to help students get an education they might not otherwise be able to afford and to move forward in life,” he says. “The Walk for Education provides a great opportunity for our ERG — and the Madison Heights team — to show our commitment to supporting the local community. Not only do we participate in the walk, but we also develop year-round events to raise funds for the walk and other community projects.”

Anthony Johnson, one of the founding members of the African-American Alliance of Metropolitan Detroit, a Henkel Employee Resource Group based in Madison Heights, Michigan.

Anthony Johnson, one of the founding members of the African-American Alliance of Metropolitan Detroit, a Henkel Employee Resource Group based in Madison Heights, Michigan.

Members of the AAAMD, at their 2019 Soup-er Bowl fundraiser called “Chefs and Refs” with all proceeds donated to the United Negro College Fund.

Members of the AAAMD, at their 2019 Soup-er Bowl fundraiser called “Chefs and Refs” with all proceeds donated to the United Negro College Fund.

From a chili cook-off to the “Soup-er Bowl,” those events merge food and fundraising, while tapping into employees’ taste for competition. A perennial favorite, the Juneteenth celebration has evolved into a multicultural potluck. “We’ve had everything from French to Italian and Polish dishes, while celebrating the core principles of Juneteenth,” says Johnson. “It’s inspiring to see the entire site get involved in these events.”

In 2020, the AAAMD’s Juneteenth event was supported by Henkel employees across North America, raising $9,000 through employee and corporate contributions for the 2020 Walk for Education.

While the Walk for Education is their signature event, the AAAMD provides support for other community programs, including a local boys’ home. The group also helps Henkel recruit new talent, represents the company at community cultural events, and supports the activities of other local ERGs.

“As a global company, Henkel values the experience and viewpoints of people from different backgrounds,” says Johnson. “The AAAMD is a visible presence in the community, and we continue to look for new opportunities to provide support.”