Philanthropic Impact & Insight: Company ‘giving forward’ helps community

In this season of giving, many corporations of all sizes are finding ways to give back to their communities. Some have teams of employees who contribute their time and talents by volunteering for meaningful projects like feeding the hungry, reading to children or helping the homeless. Others make financial contributions to particular causes, donate office furniture or offer in-kind services to local nonprofits.

 

Jericho Resources, Inc. took an innovative approach toward giving this year. The firm partnered with the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Southeastern Wisconsin (AFP SEWI) in support of its annual event celebrating philanthropy. In addition to sponsoring the event, Jericho donated $1,500 worth of $25.00 VISA gift cards—one for each table. Attendees at each table were asked to brainstorm together to choose a cause they’re passionate about and designate an individual to send the contribution.  
      
Branded as the “Giving It Forward Challenge,” the effort served as a catalyst. The 600 National Philanthropy Day Luncheon attendees went beyond honoring philanthropic achievements and became philanthropists by actively engaging in giving. A myriad of causes were supported that include meals for seniors, hats and mittens for preschoolers, teen dating violence prevention, veterans services and even combating Ebola in West Africa.  
      
Many attendees did not just give away the $25. They were inspired to match it or give more—some even quadrupled the gift. In the end, contributions went to over 30 organizations and programs as a result of the “Giving It Forward Challenge.” Ultimately, it’s not the amount, or method, that’s important. What really matters is finding a way to give back that excites you and your colleagues, matching your company’s passion with the need in our community.
      
As 2014 comes to a close, corporations and businesses should remember that they can make a difference with even a small investment like the “Giving It Forward Challenge.” Consider asking staff, colleagues and co-workers to take the challenge. Find out what causes they care about and spark contributions by “giving it forward” with a starter gift. Giving back as a company can create greater staff morale and increase productivity while making a lasting impact on the quality of life in our region.

William Martin is president of Jericho Resources, Inc., a human services consulting firm, and president-elect of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter. Editor Peter Zehren is vice president of communications for the AFP SEWI. For more information on the “Giving It Forward Challenge” or to receive a sample form contact the AFP SEWI at afpsewi@yahoo.com.

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