Unused PTO to Change a Child's Life

Featured, Donations

What does it mean to go to the ends of the earth for someone? What does it mean to come together to make someone else's life easier, to help alleviate discomfort? How can a company - specifically, its employees - work together to make an impact in just 48 hours through PTO Exchange?


Envera Omercevic was born in 2011. Things were good. But one day, right around Envera’s first birthday, her mother started to notice some developmental delays in her daughter. Immediately, they made an appointment with the pediatrician who quickly diagnosed Envera with hypotonia (weak muscle tone). While they were grateful to have answers, Merjem, her mother, had a feeling something else was on the horizon. Something bigger.

Within months, Envera went from a happy, playful, and smiley child to an unsteady, floppy, non-active little girl.envera-omercevics-stratacache-chive-charities-chair

Envera became one of 200 known individuals in the world with a rare genetic disorder called H-abc Leukodystrophy, a progressive degenerative disorder impacting the brain and limiting muscle development, mobility, and other basic functions. It’s a terminal illness with no known cure.

“When we heard the diagnosis, I didn’t even know where we were,” Merjem told Chive Charities. “I was completely out of it and couldn’t say anything for days. How do you deal with something so rare, something so devastating? Even most of the doctors had never heard of it.”


With few options, the Omercevics turned to Chive Charities, a different type of non-profit support organization. As opposed to using the cause to raise awareness on behalf of the recipient, they work with the recipient to tell their own story. Donors are connected to the individual, with great impact on their specific situation.

Chive Charities focuses on 3 groups specifically:

  • Rare Medical
    Individuals with rare medical conditions
  • Veterans
    Veterans with medically-related needs
  • First Responders
    First responders with medically-related needs

ADA-vehicle-silhouette-envera-chive-charitiesEnvera's needs were unique -  she needed an activity chair, a power wheelchair lift, and a wheelchair-accessible van. The first two, though not insignificant expenses, are more manageable to source and fund. The ADA-certified van, however, presented a more significant challenge to fund. These specialized vehicles cost over $40,000.



STRATACACHE, a digital signage and merchandising company, has been supporting Chive Charities for years. STRATACACHE also uses PTO Exchange to allow its employees to convert unused vacation into other priorities, including retirement contributions, student loan payments - and charitable donations as well.

Chive Charities turned to STRATACACHE for some help, and they had a pretty incredible idea for how to make Envera’s dream come true with us. Whatever it took.

Listen to the compelling story as conveyed by Matt Cadwell, VP of Human Resources at Stratacache.

stratacache-chive-charities-envera-amount-raised-pto-exchangeUsing PTO Exchange, STRATACACHE invited employees across all its company brands -- STRATACACHE, Scala, X20 Media, PRN, Real Digital Media, Optika Display and SuperLumin -- to consider donating unused paid time off in exchange for a dollar-for-dollar match from the company and CEO Chris Riegel. Team members also had the option to make a monetary contribution by credit card through the PTO Exchange platform. The goal was to raise $22,500 which would then be matched by STRATACACHE for a grand total of $45,000 - enough to cover the wheelchair-accessible van for Envera.

This had never been done before in company history. But, true to form, employees heard Envera’s story, saw the need, and stepped up to do whatever it took to help. The team at PTO Exchange set up the campaign in just 2 days, and then, in less than 48 hours, STRATACACHE hit their goal and $45,000 was raised to fund Envera’s van.

"We are proud to have contributed as a team to make this happen for Envera, and STRATACACHE throws down the gauntlet to other companies to follow our lead. Support the underdog, make a difference. Chive Charities is the real deal, and Chive supporters can see that their contributions make a real, direct impact. It doesn't get any better than that."

    -- Chris Riegel, CEO, STRATACACHE

Once we knew the van was a reality, once we saw the amazing effort of STRATACACHE in action, we scheduled a Zoom call with Envera’s family to surprise them with the news. After a moment of stunned silence, Merjem burst into tears, completely overcome by the announcement.

What does it mean to go to the ends of the earth for someone? What does it mean to dedicate your life to making someone else’s easier? What does it mean to love someone so much, you would do anything in your power to make them happy?

Chive Charities, STRATACACHE and charitable donors just showed them. If that isn’t the epitome of making the world 10% happier, we don’t know what is. To the moon? That’s nothing. DONATE HERE.



chive-charities-logoAs a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Chive Charities inspires a new generation to support causes that would otherwise be forgotten. Proving themselves as the most generous community on the web today, Chive Nation has earned media recognition time and time again for their overwhelming desire and ability to improve lives. In order to keep this movement funded, we compile both monthly and one-time contributions from our Chive Charities members. These dollars are used to meet our chosen grant recipients' needs.


STRATACACHE-Logo-1490x785Headquartered in Dayton, OH, STRATACACHE delivers in-store retail experience transformation and exceptional customer journeys through a wide array of marketing technology. Our solutions enable retailers to learn deeply about their customers’ shopping preferences and behaviors, delivering targeted promotional or task-based messaging on any digital display. With 3.3 million+ software activations globally, we power the biggest digital networks for the world’s largest brands. Across the STRATACACHE family of complementary Marketing Technology solution companies, we have the technology, expertise and track record to bring retail innovation that delivers results.

Building Community, Culture, and "Reputational Excellence"
with PTO Exchange

Companies are facing a dilemma about how to further support both employees and the community at large. With the average employee receiving 3 weeks of vacation per year, but only taking 2 weeks, there is an opportunity to apply unused vacation to other purposes, including charitable donations. 

PTO Exchange creates a highly differentiated benefit to retain key talent and enhance community and financial wellbeing, while allowing companies to reduce a ballooning PTO liability. The demand for talent means many companies will not be able to fill and retain skilled positions as the economy rebounds after COVID. Being a desirable, employee-friendly employer helps.

This is a notable time with many companies making bold adjustments to their PTO strategy and trying to find new ways to help their employee community bridge the changes that are affecting their lives.

If PTO donations, leave-sharing, cash-out or one of our other service plans are something that can help your organization navigate through this situation, we are here to help.

Learn more about PTO Exchange and what your organization can do to reduce surplus PTO and build reputational excellence at the same time.

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Published on May 10, 2021 by Gregg Makuch

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