Leominster, MA –August 16, 2021 – AIS, a leading manufacturer of commercial office furniture and seating, has been named by the Boston Business Journal as an honoree of the publication’s 2021 Corporate Citizenship Awards, a recognition of the region's top corporate charitable contributors.
The Business Journal annually publishes this list to showcase companies that promote and prioritize giving back to their communities – a feat that is even more important during times of turmoil and crisis, such as those experienced over the past year. This year, 98 companies qualified for the distinction by reporting at least $100,000 in cash contributions to Massachusetts-based charities in 2020. The honorees include companies from such industry sectors as financial and professional services, health care, technology, retail, manufacturing and professional sports.
AIS’s stewardship extended throughout Massachusetts and beyond, with the company giving back more than $3.5 million in cash, in-kind and service contributions locally and across the country.
Among its most notable charitable efforts over the past year, AIS donated and delivered 600,000 high-quality face masks to over 500 organizations in Massachusetts and 30 additional states through the company’s Sew the Masks program.
AIS began making high-quality facemasks when the COVID-19 pandemic intensified in the spring of 2020. That May, after seeing the demand for masks would continue, AIS established a nationwide Sew the Masks initiative based on Rosie the Riveter, the World War II icon. The company activated internal production lines and nearly 1,000 volunteer “Rosies” in 45 states to create masks at their home sewing machines.
In partnership with the United Way of North Central Massachusetts and a number of sponsors, the Sew the Masks program provided masks to first responders, frontline workers, food banks and local schools as well as Election Day 2020 poll workers and city officials in nearly 270 cities and towns in Massachusetts and 80 precincts in Washington, D.C.
“AIS is honored to be a recipient of the Boston Business Journal Corporate Citizenship Award for the third year in a row, alongside many extraordinary companies in the Boston area. I am so proud of and thankful for our employees, partners and the Rosies in Massachusetts and across the country who helped to make a difference in the Sew the Masks program to fight the spread of COVID-19,” AIS CEO Bruce Platzman said.
Philanthropy is part of AIS’s DNA, and Platzman in particular is passionate about giving back to the community. Some of the nonprofit organizations that AIS has supported include Make-A-Wish® Massachusetts and Rhode Island, United Way of North Central Massachusetts, the cities of Leominster and Fitchburg, Catie’s Closet, the American Red Cross, Designs for Dignity, Worcester Animal Rescue League, Base Hoopz, Partners in Literacy and the Montachusett Interfaith Hospitality Network. Platzman currently serves on the board of directors of Make-A-Wish® Massachusetts and Rhode Island and the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce.
AIS has also partnered with Seven Hills ASPiRE!, a program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism and brain injury to develop the skills necessary to pursue interests in employment. Additionally, the company teams up with local high schools and universities for a “day in the life” of manufacturing opportunities and provides tours and mentoring to these up-and-coming students.
For several years in a row, AIS has participated in the United Way Combat Hunger initiative. Typically held in December, AIS team members pack more than 20,000 meals for North Central Massachusetts families in need.
About a decade ago, the rapidly growing AIS was being wooed by other states and even Mexico to relocate operations. Platzman and the company’s board of directors chose to remain in Massachusetts and located headquarters and manufacturing operations in Leominster where AIS now employs more than 800.
Knowing the pandemic has taken its toll on the businesses and people in the northeast, AIS is now driving the ReNEW England initiative. Grounded in the multiplier-effect principle and reinforcing the premise that buying locally and regionally can accelerate the rebound of the region’s economy, Platzman is sharing his company’s dedication to sourcing as much materials as possible from neighbors while encouraging other businesses in New England to do the same.
“I’ve spent my entire life in Massachusetts,” Platzman said. “I love our great state and the people who live here. When everyone commits to supporting each other through meaningful employment and business opportunities and worthy charitable efforts, our local communities will benefit and the overall economic health of the area will improve more rapidly.”
AIS will be honored at the Business Journal’s 16th Annual Corporate Citizenship Awards virtual ceremony on Sept. 9.
“During a time filled with unprecedented events and change, it’s incredible to think that so many companies still gave so generously to charities in Massachusetts,” said Boston Business Journal Market President and Publisher Carolyn Jones. “The philanthropic companies prioritize the welfare of our communities, and we are excited to be able to honor them.”
AIS, headquartered in Leominster, Massachusetts, is a leading manufacturer of commercial office furniture and boasts one of the most impressive stories of growth and success in the furniture industry. Founded in 1989, the company is known for offering market-relevant, feature-rich product lines that entice designers and support the diverse needs of end-users while offering exceptional value. AIS is an innovator that leads the industry in sustainable, lean manufacturing, lead-time performance and manufacturing flexibility. The Boston Business Journal has recognized AIS with its Corporate Citizenship Award since 2019. AIS has permanent showrooms at its Leominster headquarters and in Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C. With locations across the U.S., AIS has more than 800 employees and over 1 million square feet of office, showroom and factory space. For more information, visit www.ais-inc.com.