Mark DeBellis wants to see his employees succeed—not just now, but later in life. He stresses the importance of looking to the future, and it’s rubbing off on his 80 employees.
His Gahanna-based company, Suburban Steel Supply, has a 100 percent participation in the company’s 401K, and he regularly provides resources on financial literacy.
But, even with the best of planning, things can go wrong. Mark has seen his employees struggle when a car breaks down, a spouse loses their job, or someone in their family becomes ill. The company’s CFO, Jenny Demko, heard about the Emergency Assistance Program at The Columbus Foundation and suggested the company consider establishing a program to help employees in need.
The DeBellis Family Foundation – Suburban Steel Supply Emergency Assistance Fund was established to support eligible employees who experience financial difficulties from an unexpected emergency hardship or qualified disaster. Employees can apply online through The Columbus Foundation, or access an application to submit via email, fax, or mail. Applications are reviewed by program administrators who are part of the Foundation staff. The employee remains anonymous to the company. If approved, grants from $250–$2,500 for food, shelter, and other basic needs are awarded.
“This fund is a vehicle that allows us to help good, hardworking people if something unfortunate happens.”
“This program that the Foundation offers is just perfect for us,” Mark said. “It allowed us to say ‘if something bad happens to you, we can help so it doesn’t spiral into something worse.’”
Mark and Cindy DeBellis grew up in Columbus. High school sweethearts, they married in 1979. “The world wasn’t as big to us then,” Mark laughed. But, he said, moving was never appealing to them. They love Columbus and are proud to call it home. They raised two sons, both now involved in the family business, and still have a large extended family in the area.
After starting his career at the Federal Reserve Bank, Mark worked for Borden and then joined Crane Plastics in 1983. When Crane acquired Suburban Supply Steel in 1995, leaders at Crane felt Mark had the right skill set and gave him the opportunity to run the new business. He worked for Crane until he purchased Suburban Supply in 2012.
Mark credits two men for providing inspiration on the importance of being charitable—his father and Jim Crane.
“Both of them have lived this philosophy—a major reason to be successful is to help others.”
Mark hopes grants from the fund will help employees overcome the speed bumps life offers, and that they in turn will help others when they can.
“Our goal is to impact these 80 people in the hopes they will impact another 160 people—we’re going to do it from the ground up,” Mark said. “We would like this business to be family-owned, family-controlled, and wouldn’t it be nice if, in many years, when we are long gone, we are still able to help people who are working here.”