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OZ CSR 2021: Focusing on Community and Employee Engagement

February 25, 2022

One of OZ’s core values is to be a good steward of the communities we serve. That value manifests in our work as well as in our long-standing commitment to giving back both financially and through volunteerism with OZ Gives.

As we returned to the office in 2021, the team sought out opportunities to collaborate and grow together. We found natural common ground in our desire to do good in the community through our corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts, as well as in our desire to continue expanding our knowledge and understanding of one another, our clients and our community through a lens of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

Our community engagement took many forms – from service days with local non-profit organizations, volunteering for professional and community organizations, and making financial contributions to organizations that aligned with our ethos and the passions of our employees. On the whole, our team members engaged with over 50 organizations in our communities last year and as a firm, OZ contributed a percentage of our profits to community organizations.

We also spent valuable time looking into ourselves as individuals and as a company. Our entire staff completed two Implicit Bias Workshops and we worked with two DEI consultants on training and expression of our ideas. Additionally, we formed a DEI Leadership Group and Staff Committee, and reinstated our OZ Gives Committee.

In 2021, our focus was:

CSR/DEI Leadership Committee

  • Creating a Strategic Action Plan that identifies work that we, as a company, will complete as we better ourselves for all of our stakeholders;
  • Supporting developing architects through the Tom Obermeier Scholarship at University of Colorado Denver and preparing to bring the Summer Student Intern Program back in 2022;
  • Enhancing employee engagement by resetting our career development process, reinstating our mentorship program, and providing resources toward goals of licensure.

DEI Committee

  • Providing structured education to staff with the goal of making the workplace more supportive of our true and authentic selves through workshops, presentations and discussion groups;
  • Exploring resources to evaluate the impacts of our work on the communities we serve with the goal of promoting more equitable practices for the company;
  • Increasing accountability for hiring and employee policies by reviewing staff diversity, evaluating recruiting methods, and supporting each employee's authentic self.

OZ Gives

  • Financially supporting Platte Forum's Resident Artist Program, Denver Urban Garden's Horse Barn Demonstration Community Garden, Colorado State University Richardson Design Center, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Denver Human Services' Adopt-a-Family, River North Arts District, and Friend of Berthoud Library;
  • Sponsoring community events with the Boys and Girls Club's We Care event, Greenway Foundation's Gala on the Bridge, The Park People's Denver Digs Trees, Habitat for Humanity's Community Build Days;
  • Contributions to industry organizations through service as a juror on Urban Land Institute's Impact Award and NREL's Solar Decathlon, serving on AIA Colorado's J.E.D.I. Committee, serving on Downtown Denver Partnership Committees and Councils, Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation Board of Governors, Denver Chamber of Commerce Committees and Councils, and serving on Denver Architecture Foundation's Board of Directors;
  • Staff contributions to community organizations including Colorado School of Mines, Colorado Outdoor Education Center, Colorado Pet Pantry, Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver, Boy Scouts of America, Girls Scouts of America, Littleton Planning Commission, and Denver Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).

As we look forward into 2022, we will continue to grow together, to educate ourselves and to foster the kind of work environment that allows everyone to be at their best, united in the goal of creating more livable communities for all.

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3003 Larimer Street
Denver, CO 80205

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