To me, Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) may have a first cousin in the younger generation managers coming online today. These are people who care about ethical framework and community involvement on a deeper level. Gratefully, that’s been part of our corporate culture in different ways over time, and we’ve recently made our efforts more official. Giving back to the community can take several forms, but for us, there are three major resources:
Time. We’ve always encouraged those in the company to be active volunteers in their communities. This year, we formalized a program to show our support. It’s called Stewart/Perry Cares, and among several initiatives, allows each one of us to take a full day (paid) away from the office for service.
Space. Since we first moved to our new place about 10 years ago, we’ve been donating the space to non-profits who might need a venue for a meeting or event. We’ve lent out our conference room countless times, and allowed many groups of elementary school children to fish in our lake. Several fundraising dinners have taken place on our grounds. This is another easy way to contribute, and it’s fun for us as well.
Finances. We support several initiatives with our finances, from the Scouts to United Way, the Symphony and others. When it comes to investments, we consider both financial return and social or environmental impact, to find a win for both our company and the greater good.
Even small initiatives can make a big difference over time. To paraphrase John Harbert, an acquaintance from many years ago, “It’s not important how much you do, but that you do something.”