On a sweltering day with unseasonable temperatures hovering in the upper 90s, the entire staff of 181 MarksNelson employees deployed across Kansas City to volunteer at nonprofits. The firm, closed its offices on June 14, 2018, so that its entire workforce –- from the managing partner to summer interns — could help move the community forward.
The 11 charities that benefitted from the volunteers’ help were suggested and voted on by employees. Among the top picks were painting houses and building a concrete pad for a grill at an innovative new community of tiny houses for homeless veterans; landscaping a facility that serves those with autism; working in community gardens; preparing a summer camp for the blind; sorting donations at an abused women’s shelter; and repairing and readying a Boy Scout camp.
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Volunteer Day is part of MarksNelson’s on-going Marks of Kindness program, which formalizes the firm’s community outreach. “What really sets our award-winning Marks of Kindness program apart is that it isn’t just about fundraising but about finding innovative ways for our employees to get involved and personally do something that makes an impact,” says Managing Partner Mark Radetic.
Staff members were given the opportunity to submit their first, second and third choice of projects at which they wanted to volunteer. Many selected projects that were personally meaningful to them.
MarksNelson Entrepreneurial Services Practice Leader Margo Hoegler, who chose to paint tiny houses for veterans because her husband had served in the military, said that Volunteer Day is her favorite work day of the year. When her husband suggested that they take a vacation during the week it was scheduled, she immediately nixed that idea because she wanted to participate in Volunteer Day.
Clad in purple t-shirts announcing “Volunteer” across the front, accountants, business advisors, technology professionals and the operations team climbed ladders, dug with shovels, painted, planted and worked under the hot sun. Others sorted, filed, and interacted with those helped by the charitable organizations.
Employees say that, in addition to giving back to the community, they enjoy teaming up with others whom they normally would not get a chance to know.
“We strive to share our experience, expertise, and resources to help those in need,” says Radetic. “Volunteer Day is just one of many ways our employees give back to their community.”