Community Involvement & Social Responsibility
Whether it’s inspiring others to take action, promoting your business, or simply just feeling great about doing a good deed, giving back to the community is something that is endlessly rewarding and will always come full circle. No matter if you’re the craftsman doing the labor, the business owner establishing the connections, or the organization receiving the donation, there are advantages to performing charitable work for everyone involved.
Noah Kanter, owner of Nth Degree Painting, Nick Brassfield and Carole Amsberry Anderson, owners of Brassberrys Painting and Coating, Debbie Schirmer, former Director of Community Affairs at Maritz, and Josh Abramson, owner of ALLBRiGHT Painting, have all set an excellent example when it comes to raising the standard for volunteering. In this article, they share their experiences with giving back and the advantages it can provide for both contractors and business owners.
Spotting Opportunities To Give Back
Noah Kanter is a great example of how building relationships, even outside of work, can provide some great opportunities to give back and ultimately put your business out there. Having done a lot of long-distance backpacking in his twenties, Noah wanted to help the people on the trail. After doing some general shelter maintenance with the Green Mountain Club, stewards of all the shelters and trails in Vermont, and got to know the volunteer coordinator, Lorne.
“Lorne reached out to me with an issue they were facing as an organization – how to properly prep and paint backcountry shelters with no electricity, no running water and volunteer labor, so I worked with him to create an SOP for this particular set of constraints,” said Kanter. “Nick Slavik, my employee Sandy, and I, then drove out to a mountain trailhead, and had the shelter and a backcountry privy prepped and stained by early afternoon. Lorne learned a lot by going through the process with us and felt confident to then teach and outfit all of the volunteers he oversees.”
Kanter’s interest in long-distance backpacking and creating those connections came full circle, ultimately leading to this opportunity. Not only was he able to give back to an organization so personal to him, but he was also able to provide value to Lorne and the volunteers that would be useful for years to come.
What’s In It For The Contractor?
Debbie Schirmer is the former Community Affairs Director at Maritz, a large privately-held company in St. Louis. During her tenure she was responsible for all aspects of its corporate giving and employee involvement program. Schirmer has plenty of knowledge when it comes to the return on investing in your community, and has shared some valuable insight on how it can benefit both the employee and the employer in various ways.
One example is developing leadership skills. “If an employee is looking to develop their professional skill set that they can’t currently get on the job, such as leadership skills, for example, volunteering on a non-profit’s board or committee might allow them the opportunity to develop those skills, and in turn, bring them back to the company,” said Schirmer. “So not only is the employee gaining professional development, but the employer is getting a more well-versed and skilled employee, as well.”
Schirmer helped incentivize volunteering at Maritz by creating an employee benefit around it. All employees are eligible for up to 12 paid hours for the work they do at one of the company’s partner non-profit organizations, such as the United Way. “Volunteering also further benefits the employer, because they’re getting represented by their employees out in the community. Volunteering demonstrates their good citizenship and establishes their reputation as a respectable business in the industry.”
“It also helps with clients, because they too want to be associated with a good, like-minded partner that wants to help out in the community,” said Schirmer. So overall, conducting good deeds in the community will almost always be helpful for the business.”
Making a Big Impact and Inspiring Others Through Simple Acts
When talking about community service, Nick Brassfield (winner of the 2022 PCA Humanitarian Award) and Carole Amsberry Anderson (winner of the 2020 PCA Humanitarian Award) of Brassberrys Painting and Coating in Arizona emphasize that giving back doesn’t always have to limited with the place you live in. Instead, you can broaden the impact to anyone you know in your specific sector.
Nick shared that a few years ago, a nonprofit in Virginia had plenty of work that needed to be done and they were getting local volunteers from different groups in the area to do work. When Nick learned of this, he made some phone calls and within a few days, a variety of businesses stepped forward and sent tools to this group, helping tremendously.
“You can do it from a distance. I did it from my sofa. The coolest thing is, you don’t have to be standing right there face to face with somebody to help a good group out,” said Nick.
Carole further explained small, doable actions can have a significant impact and motivate others to follow suit, no matter where they’re located. She hopes, “The more that people give, the more other people will want to give.”
The Paint-It-Forward Movement Coming to PCA
Josh Abramson, the Chief Solutionist at ALLBRiGHT PAINTING, founded Paint-It-Forward in 2005 as a way to give back to his community. Since that time, more painting contractors in the United States and Canada have joined Paint-It-Forward, truly growing into a movement.
PCA is aware of the value of giving back and how doing so can help contractors and company owners in the industry. Inspired by Abramson’s model, we’ve decided to organize a month-long event in October, where PCA members may register their business to carry out a charitable project to benefit a person, a location or an organization that resonates with them.
If you want to do your part in giving back, visit our website to learn more about joining the Paint-It-Forward movement.
About The Author
Daphne Young is PCA’s Blog Writer, responsible for concentrating her efforts on collaborating with thought-leaders in the painting industry to write articles appealing to PCA’s audience and offer further insight about the industry.