Last week, I had the privilege of volunteering at the ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston. The Youth Gathering is put on by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America once every three years, where congregations from across the country send 30,000 young people to a chosen city for worship, service and fun. It’s a place where young people can find themselves spiritually through doing service work around the community and hear from inspiring speakers at the nightly Mass Gathering.
I love great ideas! Especially the ones that start out small but then revolutionize an industry. In 2007, a like-minded group of individuals, including Pam Warhurst and Mary Clear, wanted to find a way in which everyone could help improve their own community. Their solution: They taught their local residents to take control of their community through gardening and eating.
“The answer was food,” said Warhurst in her TED Talk. “Everyone understands food. Food gets people talking; even better, it inspires people to take action.” They started with small herb gardens and community plots in a Northern England town called Todmorden. Then they planted corn in front of a police station, fruit trees on the sides of roads, vegetables in front of the senior center, and even planted gardens in the cemetery, where “things grow really well because the soil is really good!” Read more after the jump…
At GroundFloor Media, we strongly believe in companies giving back to their communities – this will come as no surprise to those of you who know us. We believe in it primarily because we know it is the right thing to do – but we also believe in the concept of “doing well by doing good.”
The Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College recently released its 2012 State of Corporate Citizenship report, and its findings certainly support this notion. The report reveals the results of the Center’s fifth biennial survey of business executives on the topic of corporate citizenship. And in it, “executives issue a clear verdict — corporate citizenship delivers real business results. It doesn’t just make ﬁrms look good and employees feel good. It helps to achieve business goals such as increasing market share and managing risk.”
Those of you who read our blog regularly know that giving back to the community is central to what GFM is all about. While our community outreach takes many forms, including providing pro bono PR support to our nonprofit partner SafeHouse Denver, offering a discounted rate to other nonprofit clients, and our Get Grounded volunteer program, last week it took the form of a team volunteer day at Food Bank of the Rockies.
Twice a year – generally in the spring and fall – we take time as a team to step away from our computers and complete a community service project. Earlier this year, we spent an afternoon with the kiddos in Colfax Community Network’s after school program. Last Tuesday, we spent the morning at Food Bank of the Rockies, filling boxes with food for the USDA Commodity Supplemental Food Program, a program that targets low-income pregnant and postpartum women, their infants and children, and seniors. At the end of our two-hour shift, we had built and packed more than 300 boxes of food. We also collectively donated more than $300 to another Food Bank program, Totes of Hope, through which kids in need receive totes filled with 8 – 9 pounds of nutritious kid-friendly food on Fridays to help carry them through the weekend. It felt great knowing that we’d been able to contribute to such worthy causes, and it was a lot of fun spending time together away from the office. And, as Kimmie Greene wrote last week, being able to work together in the community is a great source of inspiration for our team!
The Colfax Crew team has adopted Colfax Community Network (CCN) as its beneficiary for GroundFloor Media’s 10th anniversary Get Giving program. For Amanda Brannum, Laura Love, Jennefer Traeger, Kimmie Greene and myself, all it took was a few words about CCN to make us realize that we wanted to be a part of supporting its mission.
Let’s start with one simple question…
What do you think about when you drive down Colfax Avenue and pass motel after dilapidated motel?
I am willing to bet you don’t think very highly of the people who are inside. The terms drug addict, criminals and prostitutes probably come to mind. There may also be an assumption that the motel dwellers deserve to be there, or that they haven’t worked hard enough to find better housing.
However, what if you learned that those motels actually house hundreds of families with young children—children who do not choose to be born into poverty and spend their entire childhood growing up in those conditions? What would you think if someone told you that the grandparents, parents and children in the residential motels are more of a community—a community of good people who are struggling every day to stay one small step above being homeless?
When the Colfax Crew team learned the truth about those “seedy” Colfax Avenue motels, we knew that we wanted to donate our time and Get Giving donation budget to these families and the CCN staff.
Currently, CCN focuses on the following services for the motel community:
- Family Night
- Emergency Walk-In Services
- Access to Services
- After School Program
- Summer Camp
CCN is also always looking for volunteers and donations. We encourage you to visit the “Get Involved” section of the website to review available volunteer positions and current wish list items.
In the coming weeks our team is thrilled to be donating time and resources in several areas. We will attend a Family Night gathering to meet motel families and learn first-hand about their struggles and the support CCN provides. We are also sponsoring six field trips for children serviced by CCN in order to expose them to new, positive Denver experiences and hopefully lighten their spirits in the process. And finally, we will collect clothing and hygiene products for the families to help fulfill CCN’s current wish list needs.
We look forward to sharing our experiences with you here on the GFM blog. Click here to read more about our work with CCN, and please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to get involved as well!
Around 55% of another person’s perception of you is based on how you look. Fair? No. Human nature? Regrettably so. We’d all like to believe that an employer will choose substance over style during a job interview, but there’s no denying that wardrobe is part of a first impression.
You know the scenario – the golden call for a job interview comes in and, the night before, you’re tearing through your closet trying on every suit you own to decide if it’s “the one.” I’ll admit I’ve probably spent more time prepping my interview outfit than my interview question responses.
But the reality is that not everyone has the luxury of picking and choosing from a closet stocked with professional attire. If you’re a low-income woman on a budget, there’s one place you’re likely to turn for a little wardrobe 9-1-1 – Dress for Success Denver. As part of GFM’s 10th anniversary Get Giving initiative, the Impressionistas Team is donating money and time to help Dress for Success Denver continue to help women make powerful first impressions in the workforce through updated wardrobes, as well as career training and counseling. And, seeing that it’s the nonprofit’s 5th anniversary this year, the timing for our partnership couldn’t have been more serendipitous.
The timing is also opportune for you to donate. Are you now working in a more casual or remote environment, yet keeping a stash of just-in-case suits? (This was so me until recently.) Did you lose or gain weight and can’t bring yourself to purge the old-you attire? Label it lazy, hopeful, sentimental or something else, but really… it’s time to put those perfectly good suits to good use.
Here are a few ideas you can do today to help Dress for Success Denver’s disadvantaged women in their journey to economic independence:
- Donate… duh. Drop-offs are the second Saturday of the month at Dress for Success Denver, which means the next one is Nov. 12. Mark it on your calendar today. Heck, go a step further and round up suits from your friends and/or officemates. Help them help others.
- Don’t donate. What I mean to say is don’t donate anything you wouldn’t wear yourself. These women want to feel chic, professional and confident, so bring only new or nearly new clothes with no stains or tears (that means no 80’s shoulder pads a la Melanie Griffith in “Working Girl”). Current wish list items are: white button-down shirts, black slacks sizes 16-26, camisoles, nice jewelry and handbags.
- Financial support. Don’t have suits to spare? Financial donations in any amount help.
- Volunteer. Visit the Dress for Success Denver volunteer page to sign up to be a personal shopper, career center counselor or donation day warrior.
- Show some Facebook love. Follow Dress for Success Denver on Facebook to learn about their events, their needs, help share their cause with your own networks or just to tell them what a great job they’re doing.
- Colfax Community Network: advocates for and works on behalf of children and families residing in low-income, transient housing (primarily residential motels) along Colfax Avenue
- Dress for Success – Denver: promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing them professional attire, a network of support and career development tools
- Morris Animal Foundation: advances health and welfare research that protects, treats and cures companion animals, horses and wildlife worldwide
- Underwearness: provides new underwear to children in need