Pillar Properties, a locally owned family business, wants to make a difference in the Puget Sound area of Seattle, where it owns and operates seven luxury properties. Each quarter, Pillar partners with a different local charity that it’s passionate about to raise funds and awareness for that organization by involving staff and residents.

Pillar calls its Pillar Passions approach “localiscious”—and it is. Last year, the company contributed $65,000 in goods, services, and cash, as well as 20,000 meals to such organizations as Toys for Tots and the Seattle Animal Shelter, says Billy Pettit, company president. Altogether, the program has raised $100,000.

With Toys for Tots, Pillar held a toy drive and gave donors raffle tickets, then gifted raffle winners with prizes at each community’s holiday parties. For the animal shelter, reps organized a pet-food drive they called “Yappy Hours.” To encourage participation, Pillar shared information using e-mail, flyers, and word of mouth.

Another benefit of Pillar Passions is better retention and morale. “Our resident retention rate is above 60%,” Pettit says. Employee turnover has gone down, which Pettit attributes to hiring people who want to be engaged on a personal and professional level. “At the end of the day, it’s about being a good neighbor and making a difference,” Pettit says.