Do you have a quote or phrase forever stuck in your head? The one that grips your conscience, even if the words have been stuck on repeat for so long, it can start to have the feeling of being “cliché.” That’s why Giving Back has been a part of me longer than my company- Nine Promotions. Before there was Nine Promotions, there was just a college kid with a job. I was leading an outdoors program for kids through the city of Albuquerque when I first learned to make survival bracelets. Around the same time, my family was also planning to go back to Vietnam to visit family. I felt good about where I was in my life. I felt blessed, so I wanted to give back by making and selling these bracelets to raise money for a Vietnamese orphanage.
For the members of Girls Inc. Westchester, Strong, Smart, and Bold is more than a tag line – it’s a way to live.
It’s also what got me involved with the organization ten years ago, shortly after the Westchester affiliate was founded. Besides being shocked that there was an organization empowering women which I hadn’t heard of, my interest was peaked by the foundation it was built on: Strong, Smart, and Bold.
Those words really do empower you. (I always wear my Strong, Smart, and Bold T-shirt to the gym.)
I had been with Charles River Apparel for about 10 months, when my first Christmas in the City rolled around. I had heard, on a daily basis, about this event that Charles River participated in. The excitement and enthusiasm that Barry and Deb Lipsett (our owners) spoke about this event was infectious. As someone that was still new to the company and being asked by ownership to participate, I did not want to say no. That is how the journey started. Christmas in the City was a company activity that meant so much to my ownership. So, I packed up my car, headed up from New Jersey to Boston on a Saturday evening.
At Fairware, we care deeply about our supply chain and sustainability, issues that affect us all and stretch across the globe. We also believe it's important to be involved in our local community. Our office is located close to the Downtown Eastside, the poorest neighbourhood in Canada, which struggles with poverty and the opioid crisis.
For 10 out of the last 13 years during “spring break”, I have joined with members of my local church to travel with 240 high school kids to the border slums outside of Tijuana, Mexico to build homes for the truly less fortunate. We work together in teams of 12 high school kids from across all 4 grade levels and two adult leaders. Many of them have never swung a hammer or cut a board before our mission trips started. It is a remarkable experience on many levels and I will try to articulate a few.
It was like a brick through a thick glass window. By the way he told the story, it was like, this is important.
Art Christoffersen and I had both worked at McLeodUSA, a telephone company in Cedar Rapids. He was known for his work in the phone book side of the business, merging dozens of phone book companies across the country using a very successful model.
I remember the exact moment when my wife Tamar and I decided to act. We had just put our two young sons to bed and stumbled upon a story about the countless number of children who were suffering and dying in the Syrian civil war. Something about that moment stuck with us — suddenly, we realized that mere fortune of circumstance was all that separated our children from the unspeakable horrors being visited upon the children of Syria. Our research into the conflict led to an epiphany - a genocide was unfolding in our time and it was all right there in front of us. If we were going to ignore it, we would be making an intentional choice to do so. We were not willing to make that choice. So, we chose to lean in.
Help, Hope, and Healing. The 3 part approach provided by the CACHC which is the Children’s Advocacy Center for kids that have been affected by alleged abuse and neglect. This center of help, hope and healing located right in little Chattanooga, Tennessee.
In 2014 childhelp.org reported that state agencies alone estimated 702,000 victims of child maltreatment. This is the equivalent of 10 football stadiums packed full of mistreated youths. It goes on to state that we lose an average of four to seven children a day to child abuse and neglect. A truly gut-wrenching statistic.
Making a positive contribution to the communities we serve has always been central to our shared vision for an organization, and, after 3 years building Branded Logistics, we’d reached a moment when it was important and necessary to look up from the business-focused tasks at hand and survey where our philanthropic contribution might provide the greatest possible reach and impact.
Try to do good in this world not out of fear of hell or reward of heaven but because it feels better not to be a jackass.
No doubt we all agree that the world needs more kindness right now. And every one of us should do our part to help. It’s a lot easier to do so when we acknowledge that even the simplest acts of humanity do matter. A compliment can make someone’s day and even reverberate into more compliments or even higher productivity. And donating even a dollar, can ripple in positive ways that will instill a spirit of generosity in strangers you may never meet.
"Get your sh$t together, Shultz."
Those were the words ringing in my head, having ducked into a bathroom at Children’s Mercy Hospital after watching a six-year-old girl, connected to a handful of tubes and beeping machines, smile and sing while giving one of our celebrity guests a pretend makeover. Her parents sat watching, quietly, with a look comprised of fear, exhaustion, and a host of other emotions.