Business Smart: Marbles Kids Museum

In 2007, a new world of discovery opened its doors. Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh is a place and space designed to spark imagination, discovery and learning through play, as well as strengthen families and unite communities.

That focus on community is what drew Lori Osborne, vice president of people, to the museum. “I moved from tech into nonprofit because I was at a point in my career where I wanted to give back and feel more connected to Raleigh.”

And from day one, Lori has made it her mission to give back to the community outside and inside of Marbles. She is a champion of the rights of community and family, and this includes creating family-friendly workplace policies such as paid family leave. “Providing family leave is something that is near and dear to my heart,” she says, “because when I went out with my two children it was important to feel supported by my employer.”

Lori began exploring the feasibility of paid family leave at Marbles by asking what kind of policy would work best for the 65-70 full-time employees.

“We’re serving the families of our community all day long,” explains Lori, “and that includes the people who work here.” Taking into consideration the financial limitations in the world of nonprofit, Lori sat down with three soon-to-be mothers at Marbles to discuss what was important to them and what would be most helpful in a paid leave policy.

One of those women was Senior Event Coordinator Jamie Bockover.

“I was working with the team to make updates and staying hopeful that what was proposed would be approved, and I’m so fortunate that it was,” Jamie says.

After hearing feedback and making financial assessments, Marbles put a Paid Parental/Caregiver Leave policy into action. The policy include:

  • Four weeks of paid parental leave after giving birth to a child, or;
  • Two weeks of paid parental leave after a partner gives birth or in the event of adoption, foster care or other legal placement of a child (up to the age of 18).
  • Two weeks of paid caregiver leave to employees who serve as the full-time caregiver for a spouse/partner, parent, child, or immediate family member who experiences a serious illness or medical condition.

“I’ve received very positive feedback from our staff,” says Lori, “and several kind emails.” While it may not affect everyone at the given moment, knowing a policy like this is in place gives every staff member a certain peace of mind in planning their personal futures and their future at Marbles. “It was really important for us to start here with the policy,” explains Lori, “and gather feedback from team members as it’s used.”

Jamie Bockover and family

 

And new mom Jamie is one of the first to take advantage of the policy. “It’s so important to have that bonding time with your child,” says Jamie. She points out this time is especially important as a first-time mom as she not only bonds with her baby but learns just how to be a mother—balancing time between caring for and staring at her newborn. “Babies are amazing,” she explains, “you can stare at them for hours and all of a sudden the day is gone!”

As the days of her leave slip by, Jamie’s noted how grateful she is to have that time without the stress of rushing back to work. “Marbles took the time to recognize the importance of having leave for their employees,” she says, “and it’s a fantastic way to make their employees feel supported.”

And that support is extended to the entire workforce through the expanded caregiver leave policy. As Lori explains, “We wanted to make sure that we were thinking holistically about all the different seasons of life. It can be a policy that will benefit all employees, not just one group.”

Life throws curve balls, and by extending the leave policy to caregivers, Marbles recognizes that family caregiving can mean caring for others beyond a new baby, such as an older child or a parent.

In this way, Lori hopes Marbles can be an example for not only other nonprofits, but for all companies. She points out that programs like this don’t lose money. In fact, if you consider the cost of recruiting, training and onboarding new employees, policies like this save money. “Instead of money,” explains Lori, “what you might lose is someone who is connected to your mission and your culture. To me, that’s not a good trade off.”

Sample benefits: Marbles Kids Museum

  • Paid parental and caregiver leave
  • Free and reduced price out-of-school care for staff children
  • Health, dental, and vision
  • Health savings account with employer contribution
  • Medical and dependent flexible spending accounts
  • Employer paid short & long-term disability
  • Life and accidental insurance
  • Employee assistance program
  • 401(k) plan with employer match
  • Subsidized parking and free Go Raleigh transit passes

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