FCN 1998: It's Not Giving As Much As Sharing

Floor Covering News

June 29, 1998

Editorial: Al Wahnon

It's Not Giving As Much As Sharing

Nineteen years ago, a small group of floor covering executives met to address a common concern-the health and welfare of industry people who were catastrophically stricken and unable to cope with the calamity. The exec­utives lost little time in accepting the responsibility for less fortunate col­leagues and the Floor Covering Industry Foundation (FCIF) was formed.

In its almost two decades of existence, the FCIF has raised and allocated almost a million dollars to alleviate the pain and suffering of members of the floor covering industry-retail, distributor, installation and manufacturer personnel. The assistance to those who cannot meet medical expenses or afford the barest necessities of life is not charity but compassion. The names of the recipients are concealed by "case number," so that dignity is not impaired, pride is not compromised.

The FCIF executive committee is comprised of leaders from every segment of our industry and its sole function is to approve applicants and raise funds. The latter is vital for it must have the money to write the checks that relieve pain, secure a wheelchair or an artificial limb, to make living more comfort­able, to turn despair to hope. The money must come from all of us. We, each of us, must feel the pain, the hunger, the futility of the needy among us. The FCIF mandate: To create a fund from within the industry, by the industry and for the industry, in an ongoing effort.

The executive committee established the following procedure for the distribution of funds: Need must be determined. The aid would be dispensed in a lump sum or in monthly payments, depending on the urgency of the case in question. Any person involved on any level and in any aspect of the floor covering industry, or a member of the participant's immediate family, is eligible for benefits. That's it. No red tape, no undue delays, embarrassing questions. The prospective recipient must initiate the request for funds personally, but anyone familiar with the facts of a case may contact the committee. Often the situation is sensitive and the committee can be relied upon to act delicately and with deep concern. The watchword here is compassion, not charity.

In my more than four decades in this industry I have never been more im­pressed, more proud of the members of the FCIF executive committee, who give unstintingly of their time, their money, their effort to so noble a cause. And I cel­ebrate those outside the committee who have given so generously in replacing despair with hope for the less fortunate whose survival is so tenuous.

I urge everyone to make a contribution throughout the year, in honor of a graduation or a marriage, or in memory of a departed loved one. The Floor Covering Industry Foundation turns to you for help because those in need of help have no one to turn to. If you would like to contribute or know of a per­son in crisis, write to Mariann Gregory, Executive Secretary, Floor Covering Industry Foundation, 401 North Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611 (note this article was from 1998 and the address is no longer correct)

Remember, if we stay together, we'll never be alone.