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Freudenberg NA gives back

December 2, 2011

Employees have contributed thousands of hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars to charities and projects.

Freudenberg North America, the North American holding company for Freudenberg & Co. of Weinheim, Germany, owns a family of companies which operate 15 unique businesses. Together, these companies provide innovative products and solutions to customers in industries ranging from automotive, aerospace and medical to chemical, oil and gas and construction.

But they also provide much more.

"When Freudenberg was established more than 160 years ago, a culture of good corporate citizenship and community responsibility were part of its guiding business principles," says Leesa Smith, president, Freudenberg North America. "Those guiding principles are as vital today as they were when the company first opened its doors as a leather tannery in Germany."

"The employees who work for the Freudenberg North America family of companies are committed to social responsibility and actively engaged in charitable projects throughout the year," Smith notes. "Our employees model the Freudenberg Guiding Principles in everything they do, including giving back to their communities."

Collectively, Freudenberg employees have contributed thousands of hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars to charities and projects including blood and food drives, disaster relief efforts, fundraisers, day care centers, clothing banks and charity events. Plymouth, Mich.-based Freudenberg-NOK's "Your Community Partner" program, launched in 2009, has resulted in more than 40 service projects being completed in communities throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Malaysia. Employees have raised thousands of dollars for local, state, national and international charitable organizations. In keeping with the season, for example, the company's Manchester, N.H. facility recently completed collection of 1,700 pounds of food for the New Hampshire Food Bank. The company's headquarters employees recently assembled and boxed more than 11,000 meals that will be distributed to local and international relief agencies to help feed needy families.

Similarly, EagleBurgmann's SEAL TEAM (Service, Encouragement, Action, Leadership… Together EagleBurgmann Achieves More) sponsors food and blood drives, recycling programs, stuffed animal collections, children's sport sponsorships and charity boat races throughout the year in Houston.

Londonderry, N.H.-based Kluber Lubrication and Howell, Mich.-based Chem-Trend show a similar commitment to improving the world around them. This year, Kluber Lubrication North America employees spent an afternoon in New Orleans painting houses and donating other resources to assist area residents who continue to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. Chem-Trend employees planted, cared for and harvested more than two tons of fresh vegetables from the company's Giving Garden for needy families in their community.

But individual Freudenberg North America employees also contribute to their communities in remarkable ways. When Freudenberg Household Products Chief Financial Officer Mike Dudiak was looking for a way to give back to the company's hometown of Aurora, Ill., he decided something bigger than a single donation was required. Dudiak and a friend founded No Greater Gift, a new charity that addresses the major poverty issues of hunger, shelter, education, health and justice. The charity collects monetary donations as an alternative to traditional gift giving: contributors choose how they want the donation to be used and select the organization that will receive the funds.

"The Freudenberg commitment to service makes me proud to work for the organization," says Dudiak. "I really think that the goals of No Greater Gift align well with Freudenberg values."

Freudenberg Filtration Technologies employee Casey North serves as a deacon, youth pastor and youth ministry leader for Eastview Baptist Church and the Hopkinsville Youth Ministries Network in the company's headquarters community of Hopkinsville, Ky. Today, North directs monthly volunteer projects that offer teenagers a chance to get involved in projects ranging from raking leaves and hauling trash to working in soup kitchens, hosting bake sales and organizing charity car washes. North's most ambitious project, an annual 30-hour famine, helps teenagers raise both money and awareness for the food and shelter issues faced by millions of other people.

"The kids really respond to the reality of this experience," North says. "They understand that they are doing this voluntarily for 30 hours but other people around the world are doing it every day without choice. These kids want to help. When you engage them, they plug in and really see the need. They are on fire to help."

"The holidays provide people with an important time to reflect on their families, friends and good fortunes," Smith concludes. "We at Freudenberg North America are grateful for the support and prosperity our customers and communities have provided to our companies, and we think the most appropriate way to say thank you during the holidays is to say it throughout the year."

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