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Employee Appreciation Fund


The Employee Appreciation Fund (EAF) is a voluntary, Member-driven initiative launched in 2000 by Members of the Reynolds Lake Oconee community which serves as a way for Members to thank and recognize all hourly team members for their dedication and hard work in creating a phenomenal Member experience. 

Employee Appreciation Fund
Members saying thanks for the work you do every day.


Fellow Reynolds Lake Oconee Members -

Reynolds Members initiated the Employee Appreciation Fund (EAF), and it has now been a 24-year tradition of recognizing the efforts of the hourly employees here. This voluntary program allows Members to show their appreciation to the dedicated hourly staff for their hard work every day throughout the year.

Each year, the EAF:

  • Distributes all of the Members’ contributions to the Reynolds hourly employees,

  • Provides monetary recognition based on years of service and the hours worked during the year,

  • Is 100% Member-driven to ensure our appreciation is delivered directly to hourly employees and

  • Enables a check to be presented in December by a Board of Advisors member.

There are several ways in which Reynolds Members can participate in the EAF:

  • Returning the traditional “green card” that will be available this fall,

  • After September 1, when you open the Member app, you’ll see an option to contribute or

  • By establishing a convenient monthly contribution from your Member account.

If you want to enroll in the monthly contribution option, please email your request, including your name, Member number, and monthly amount, to Susan Ladner ([email protected]).  

The EAF ensures that all the hourly employees who work “behind the scenes” making so many valuable contributions through their roles in culinary, golf maintenance, housekeeping, concierge, and accounting (just to name a few) are recognized through this Member-driven approach. Over 85% of the 700+ hourly employees work in positions where tipping by Members is not possible. 

All these wonderful people are worthy of our appreciation, and a great way to do that is by contributing annually to the EAF.  These hourly employees go out every day to prepare the golf courses, tennis and pickleball courts, swimming pools, food and beverage – all the amenities we enjoy.  Many are at work before most of us are awake, and others work well into the night after we are resting in our homes.  

In closing, if you have contributed in the past on behalf of these employees and their families who benefited from your generosity, thank you. 

If you have any questions, contact Larry Buchanan at [email protected].  He is leading the EAF this year for our Reynolds Board of Advisors.

Thank you for your support in 2024!


Reynolds Lake Oconee Board of Advisors

Drew Santee, BOA Chair
Linda Moore, BOA Vice-Chair
Kaye Sutterer, Greens Committee Chair
Mike Nelson, Events Committee Chair
Greg Tantum, Lead Member at Large
Pat Fleet, Member at Large
Larry Buchanan, Member at Large
Rick Klotz, Golf Committee Chair
Bill Bonnington, Food & Beverage Committee Chair 
Scott Hein, Wellness & Recreation Committee Chair


2024 Employee Appreciation Fund – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the history of the Employee Appreciation Fund (EAF)?
The EAF was started by a group of Reynolds Members in 2000 as a way to say thank you to the hourly employees for the many ways that their work enhanced our Member experience.  In that first year, 404 employees benefited from the fund, which was distributed in early December in time for the holidays.
Who leads the Employee Appreciation Fund campaign?
Since this is a Member-driven program, it is coordinated by the Reynolds Lake Oconee Board of Advisors (BOA) on behalf of the Members.  For those of you not familiar with the BOA, this Member-based organization consists of five standing Committees (Food & Beverage, Events, Golf, Greens, and Wellness & Recreation), four Members at Large, a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson.  There are 12 Members serving on each of the five standing Committees.
Who benefits from the EAF?
All non-management, hourly employees receive their EAF distribution in early December each year. Every year, the employees share their stories of how this impacts their own lives and their families. One employee summed up their feelings about the EAF when they said, “I am grateful for the Members more than you will ever know.”
Where are we today?
Last December, over 700 employees and their families benefited from the fund.  Reynolds Members contributed more than $509,000 in 2023.  With the continued generous support of Members, we hope to exceed $575,000 in 2024.  The number of non-management, hourly employees expected to be eligible will grow to over 750 during the year.
How are employee payouts determined?
The employee payouts are based upon two factors:  the number of hours worked in the past 12 months multiplied by the employee’s length of service (up to a maximum of five years).  This creates the number of “shares” of the total contributions for each hourly employee.  Any employees working less than six months will receive a minimum distribution payment.  This approach enables the Members to show they appreciate everyone - both the tenured employees as well as the newly hired people.
What is the most common feedback given by Members about why they don’t contribute to the EAF?
Members sometimes say, “I’m a big tipper,” or “I give a gift directly to those employees who provide me good service.”  Roughly 85% of the Reynolds hourly employees are not tip-eligible because of the type of work that they perform.  The Employee Appreciation Fund recognizes all non-management, hourly employees.  This includes the majority who work behind the scenes to make this a great place to live and play, including the person who blows the leaves off the pickleball courts, the person who balances the chemicals in the swimming pools, the person who is out at dawn cutting the greens, the dishwasher who makes the wine glasses spotless, just to name a few.  In short, it takes the efforts of over 700 people to keep Reynolds in such fine shape for our Members; more than 600 of them are not working in a tip eligible position!
Does Reynolds contribute to the EAF?
There are two parts to this answer, so please be sure to read both below:
Yes, Reynolds does contribute to the EAF by working closely with the BOA in the administration of the fund.  This includes Member communication, collection of contributions, distribution of contributions to employees, marketing support, and multiple other supportive roles that significantly contribute to the success of the EAF. 
No, Reynolds does not contribute financially to the fund, as this was founded as and continues to be a 100% Member-driven appreciation program. It’s our Members’ voluntary gift to the dedicated employees. Many Members believe this maximizes the program's value to the employees because the “appreciation” focus is directly from the Members. Furthermore, any financial contribution from Reynolds would be a cost of doing business and would ultimately be passed along in Member dues. 
Is there a suggested contribution amount?
The employees appreciate each and every contribution, regardless of the amount.  Historically, contributions have ranged from $25 to over $5,000.  Every contribution is voluntary.
A few years ago, when Reynolds had roughly 500 eligible employees, Members were encouraged to consider contributing $1 per employee. Last year, more than a third of EAF contributors were at the $500 (or higher) level.  Each Member’s situation is different, and please know that the employees will benefit from every contribution, regardless of the amount. 
Members have the option of making their contributions in a lump sum from September 1 through November 30th or through a convenient monthly contribution available with their Member account.
What can I do to help?
Please support the EAF and HELP SPREAD THE WORD!  The BOA has found that Members are happy to support our employees once they understand it is a Member-driven initiative to thank the non-management, hourly employees through voluntary Member contributions presented as an annual gift.  Please help us get the message out! 
What if I have questions or constructive feedback?
Feel free to reach out to Larry Buchanan, the 2024 EAF Lead for the BOA, or Drew Santee, 2024 Chair of the BOA.  
You may contact Larry at [email protected] or Drew at [email protected].