Company founder surprises employees with $20 million: 'I wanted to show some gratitude'
The founder of a home health care company who gave his employees $20 million in holiday gifts says the gesture is one of pure gratitude.
Mark Baiada, the chairman and founder of Bayada Home Health Care, a reported $1.4 billion private-nursing company in Philadelphia, announced the gift Tuesday during a staff holiday luncheon at the Bellevue Hotel in Philadelphia.
“I’m taking $20 million, dividing it up and giving it to everybody,” Baiada told the 100-person crowd, according to Philadelphia news outlet CBS Philly. “I wanted to show some gratitude to everybody for all the hard work you’ve done taking care of our clients.”
The money was distributed to 32,000 employees and allocated depending on years of service — new hires received $50, and longer-term workers received upwards of tens of thousands of dollars. Even retirees who left the company after 2010 were beneficiaries of the gift, Baiada, 71, a father of five, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
“These are everyday people who work hard in a low-margin service business — I’m honored to work with them,” Baiada tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I don’t go to patients’ homes much, but my employees are there every day.”
In 2016, Baiada, who founded the company in 1975, announced plans to convert his business into a nonprofit, which will open in January. “Nonprofits last longer, and I don’t really need the money, so we’re going to turn it over to a newly created nonprofit that’s all mission-driven,” Baiada told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We’re putting mission over money.”
Baiada admits getting teary-eyed during his announcement. “My wife Ann watches The Bachelor and said it was better than the most dramatic rose ceremony ever,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle, joking.
Employees already have big plans for their largesse, such as a trip to Ireland, new car tires and extra Christmas presents for their children.
Nicole Green, a pediatric nurse whose clients include a premature baby and a child with cerebral palsy, has worked at Bayada for only three years and will use her gift toward her daughter’s college tuition.
“Everyone was in awe — we thought we were just having a holiday lunch,” Green, 48, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Mark totally surprised us. He didn’t have to do this. I’ve only worked at Bayada a short time, but I’m a lifelong employee now.”
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