BY CAROLINA ALBAN-STOUGHTON
Much has been said about the power of giving in one’s life. Winston Churchill’s, famous quote, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give,” alludes to the importance of giving as the essence of someone’s being and a lifetime commitment. However, the holidays have always provided a special opportunity for individuals and organizations to give back to the community. “For some, the Holiday season is not ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.’ While many of us are trying to decide which new electronic game or bicycle or sweater might make a better gift, there are many who wonder if they are going to be able to feed their family,” said Managing Partner at WWM Financial, Steve Wolff. This year WWM Financial – together with Fortis Fitness Strength Training & YOGALUX – won the Small Business Community Impact Award, not only for their efforts to give back during the holidays, but also for their involvement with programs that impact the community throughout the year. “This is a good time of the year to reflect on the riches we enjoy and think about those people who could use a little extra to make the Holidays something to which they can look forward,” added Wolff.
Fortis Fitness and Strength Training & YOGALUX, Owner and Founder, Adam Jacobs, has instilled in his company “giving back” as a core value. “Every year Fortis Fitness & YOGALUX runs a Peanut Butter Drive the month of October and a Food Drive the month of November benefiting the North County / San Diego Food Bank. Every Thanksgiving morning we run a Community Donation Yoga class again benefiting the North County / San Diego Food Bank. We get involved in the community in many other ways as well and each individual member of our team has their own passions, interests, and causes that they want to support.” He adds that “while the Holidays act as a reminder that there are people in our community in need of a hand up, it is important to keep in mind that is the case year round as well.”
The season of giving
WWM Financial also has plans to help the needy during the holidays. “One of WWM’s most fulfilling contributions is our participation in the Community Resource Center’s Annual Holiday Baskets program. WWM does more than just volunteer at the Del Mar Fairgrounds to help set up for the holiday distribution. For the past several years, we have collected theme gifts such as baby items, blankets, jackets, senior’s needs, etc. With the dedication of volunteers including the staff of WWM Financial, this program allows for more than 1,500 North County families in need to wake up Christmas morning with extra gifts under the tree, pantries stocked with food and new outfits. Every holiday season, we donate toys to programs such as Toys for Tots and the Carlsbad Christmas Bureau,” said Catherine Magaña, also Managing Partner at WWM Financial.
The spirit of giving is contagious during the holidays, but often times companies are hesitant to run a giving program because they don’t know how to start or don’t think the efforts will pay off. Jacobs believes that while giving back is top of mind during the holiday season, companies should plan out ways to get involved the rest of the year as well. “For companies wanting to start their giving back campaign. I would recommend speaking with some of the larger organizations in the area, they typically have materials on best practices for implementing both short term and long term campaigns. The key is to commit to a plan you can sustain throughout the year and beyond. Getting everyone in your organization to get on board takes a strong and continued commitment from its leadership.” He’s also learned that giving back to the community is a long term approach. “You may not see direct benefits to your organization immediately; but as you continue to do so the community will recognize your efforts. You have to remember the “what goes around, comes around” mentality!”
Wolff believes that the Holidays are as a good a time as any to start being charitable, but as Jacobs, he agrees that partnering with other organizations may be the best way to get started. “Perhaps the best way to start is to join a charity or service group and volunteer to help. This will give you an idea of what to do and perhaps how to do it. Once you have that experience under your belt, it will be easier to start something on your own. But honestly, it doesn’t take any special knowledge or talent to go out and sing Carols or make cookies to donate to nursing home residents or donate clothes or toys to a charity that will dispense them to the less fortunate. The main thing is to just get started and remember that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”