MARTINSBURG -- Both local and national charities were surprised to find that the employees of the West Virginia based law firm of Martin & Seibert had selected their organization as the recipient of the proceeds from Jeans Friday.

"We weren't sure what that meant exactly, but we were excited to find additional financial support from the business community," said Kevin Knowles, the Resource Development Director for Berkeley Senior Services.

Jeans Friday was created by the law firm to give its employees a break from the day-to-day business dress that is so typical in the legal community. The firm found this employee benefit to be both a reward to its employees and a benefit to the community.

The employees of Martin & Seibert nominate a different charitable organization, either local or national, for each week of the year. On every Friday, the firm places an honesty box on a table, next to a sign promoting that week's recipient of the contributions. The minimum contribution per employee is $1, and that contribution entitles the employee to wear a badge supporting the charitable organization—and of course to wear blue jeans to work.

Walter Jones, the Managing Shareholder of the firm, challenged the employees to support these charitable organizations by agreeing that the individual shareholders of the firm would match all contributions made by the employees.

"It doesn't sound like we could make a difference, but in a little over a year, the employees have raised and we have matched those contributions for a total of $15,266," he said. "Where else can you find an employer that has 100 percent participation of its employees contributing to 54 separate charitable causes?

"We are extremely proud of our employees for becoming so involved in our community. These are their favorite charities and support organizations. We challenge every law firm and every employer to take the opportunity to make a difference in the community, while giving its employees something they enjoy -- Jeans Friday.

"Can you imagine the difference that it would make if every employer and every employee would provide this type of support to the people and organizations that really make a difference in the lives of our neighbors? Our employees salute the people and organizations that so generously make a difference to so many. This is the chance for everyone to step-up and support whatever charity, service or organization that is important to them.

"Accept our challenge and make a difference. And do it today."

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