Originally Published: December 15, 2018 5:28 p.m.
In an unusual move by a company owner, Mark Baiada turned his enterprise into a nonprofit in 2017 and then decided to donate $20 million of his own money to his roughly 26,000 employees around the world this month.
“After decades of study, thought, and prayer, I — with the support of my family — have decided to gift BAYADA to a newly created foundation solely dedicated to perpetuating our mission and protecting the company from ever being sold,” Baiada said in an open letter in 2016.
BAYADA Home Health Care is an international, multi-specialty provider of home health care service. Mark Baiada founded the company in 1975. Its Prescott location opened in 2012 and currently has about 40 employees.
On Thursday, Dec. 13, those employees each received a special check. It was their share of the $20 million. Each check amount was based upon how long an employee has worked for the company.
“Some of the people who have been with the company 30 years are getting tens of thousands of dollars,” said Jim Daly, director of BAYADA’s Prescott location.
Since Daly’s employees are all relatively new to the company, they each received closer to $1,000, he said.
“It’s just totally unexpected,” said Prescott BAYADA employee Jennifer Pitterle. “To me, it just says we work for a really awesome company.”
“I mean you think about what he could have done with [the $20 million],” added Prescott BAYADA employee Johanna O’Hagan. “He could have kept it or invested it in something else.”
In Baiada’s open letter, he explained he has turned down “countless offers” to sell the company out of pride for what he has built and the intention he set for it at its start.
“If I sold BAYADA, the new owners’ primary purpose would most likely be to make money,” he wrote. “BAYADA’s primary purpose is to care for our clients and honor, respect, and support our employees. The dream of helping millions of people is far more important to me than money.”
This resonates with many in a day and age when the driving mission of most companies is to turn a greater profit every year to appease investors and shareholders.
“It’s just the kind of guy [Baiada] is,” Pitterle said. “He gave it to the charity so BAYADA would be around forever.”
During this recent transition, nothing has changed about what the company offers or how it operates, Daly said.
“Everything is all the same,” Daly said. “It’s just the term lasting legacy, so it’s going to be around — they say — for the next 100 years.”
However, in the near future, the company will reach a much closer milestone.
“We’re really close to serving our 1 millionth person for the company,” Daly said. “I think we’re at about 956,000.”