At OZ, we are committed to giving back and making a difference in our local community. Both as a company and as individual employees, we are passionate about donating our time, talent, goods and financial means to causes like mentoring future architects and designers, protecting the environment and promoting the well-being of others.
Last year we showcased our ongoing commitment to community outreach and service officially through the formation of OZ Gives – an internal initiative dedicated to providing our employees with meaningful opportunities to participate in their community.
Some of our efforts hit close to home. For example, as one of the first businesses to set up shop in Denver’s RiNo district in 2011, we recently decided to share our creativity with this unique neighborhood in a way that would help create a connection between OZ and the local area. Drawing inspiration from the many large scale street-art murals canvassing buildings throughout RiNo, the OZ staff donated their time and talent to design and paint a graphic mural along an eight-foot stretch of fence outside our office. The result was a vibrant, geometric rendition of the OZ logo that not only complements the neighborhood’s art-forward atmosphere but also visibly demonstrates our goals of community engagement and collaboration.
OZ has also been a long-time supporter of Habitat for Humanity. In fall 2016, OZ employees will join the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity for our second year of participation in organized build days. This year, our work will take place in a new development of 51 townhomes being built in Denver’s Montbello neighborhood; last year, we donated time to make critical improvements to a home near our RiNo headquarters. OZ has also served as the architect of record for two other Denver-area Habitat for Humanity projects.
Another way we use our design sensibilities to beautify is through our work with Denver nonprofit The Park People and their Denver Digs Trees initiative. For the past two years, OZ volunteers have celebrated Earth Day and supported the organization by planting more than 50 trees in urban neighborhoods around Denver. As a corporate sponsor of this annual event, OZ demonstrates a shared commitment to the Park People’s mission of cultivating greener, healthier and more livable urban communities.
Mentoring the next generation of architects is also a top priority for OZ. Several of our employees and leadership team members regularly volunteer to serve as mentors and judges for students of all ages. In conjunction with the Denver Architectural Foundation, OZ staff have volunteered in Denver Public Schools classrooms to help connect children with architecture and the built environments around them. We also support the growth of university architecture and design students by offering our services and expertise to industry organizations, panels and judging competitions. Despite the demands of our day-to-day work, we feel strongly that sharing our knowledge and earned an understanding of the best ways to create a sense of place is a critical component of helping future architects and designers learn and succeed.
Combating food insecurity and providing for the underprivileged in our Boulder and Denver communities is another key priority for OZ. Our employees make regular cash and food donations to Community Food Share and the Food Bank of the Rockies, and have also hosted coat drives, holiday gift drives, book drives and bike drives.
Overall, OZ as a company is enthusiastically engaged in finding creative ways to serve and help others and we’re proud of our employees for leveraging their talents to support the communities in which we do business.