September 18, 2019
Every day, Aspiriant employees bring peace of mind to our clients by helping them fulfill their dreams. But for many people in the communities where we work, peace of mind is more elusive, and yet so basic that many of us take these everyday needs for granted.
It may mean a healthy meal or a safe home or having family nearby when undergoing intensive medical treatment. For some, it’s even being able to read.
Every year, each of our 11 offices spends a summer work day trying to bring a little peace of mind to our communities. Aspiriant’s Day of Giving event allows us to band together and have fun volunteering for a local charity that is already doing so much good to make lives better for many people.
Here’s a rundown of what each office did on their Day of Giving 2019, and what giving back means to employees.
BookSpring helps to close the literacy gap for children and their families in Central Texas by providing new and gently used books.
The nine employees in Aspiriant’s newest office sorted, tagged and categorized books to prepare them for distribution to schools, community centers, teen centers and homeless shelters.
“We had a great day as a team — really bonding together to make an impact on children and families in Austin in such a positive way!” Lindsay Fleming, manager in investment operations.
The Turner Farms Price Hill Community Garden provides free fresh produce to local families and community centers. The employees in our Cincinnati office spent the day weeding, mounding, planting, setting up a trellis for climbing plants, and harvesting all the great food. The group also learned how to properly plant and maintain certain plants in the garden.
“Some brave souls were also talked into trying a few edible weeds … surprisingly very tasty,” said Debbie Biron, administrative assistant.
The Los Angeles office also helped grow food. It volunteered the Social Justice Learning Institute in Inglewood, Calif. The Do Good Bus connected our headquarters to the organization, which is dedicated to improving the education, health and well-being of youth and communities of color. More than 40 employees added new soil amendments, planted vegetables and edible flowers, and hand-painted inspirational signs in the garden. Some employees even took a trip to the store to buy more plants.
“As a new employee, I found it a great experience to bond with my colleagues and give back to the community,” said Rachel Hemmelder, billing manager. “It was a sense of accomplishment when the whole team pulled together to create a garden that the children of Inglewood could learn from, explore and enjoy.”
The Milwaukee office was introduced to the Homeless Assistance Leadership Organization (HALO Inc.) by a client who is a past board member and continues to support the Racine, Wisc.-based organization. Eleven employees cleaned and organized the donation room and laundry room. They also took gently used medical devices — such as walkers, canes and wheelchairs — to the local Goodwill Store.
“It was gratifying to bring organization to their donation facilities — making it more efficient to put packages of clothes, hygiene products and other items together for the homeless and families in need,” said Michele Melton, senior administrator in wealth management.
Employees in our Minneapolis office prepared and served dinner to 50 people at the Ronald McDonald Family Room at the Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare hospital in St. Paul, Minn. Two types of chili were on the menu.
“The experience was very rewarding, and the families were grateful,” said Brad Weber, director in wealth management and Aspiriant partner.
The Boston and New York offices joined together to build skateboards for children in foster care served by Together We Rise. The team of nine constructed 10 skateboards at a CASA agency in downtown New York City. For some kids, the skateboard is their only form of transportation.
“It’s rewarding to know that we built a method of transportation for kids in need,” said Vanessa Franco, associate in wealth management.
Our Orange County office supported Olive Crest, which is dedicated to ending child abuse, by volunteering for its Pick A Purse event in Newport Beach, Calif. About a half-dozen employees helped make sure the event ran smoothly by setting up tables, registering attendees, handing out thank-you gifts and cleaning up afterward. While a fun day for girls, the event also meant something to our volunteers.
“Hearing a young girl get up in front of a room of 300 and tell her story about how she got into foster care and how the organization helped turn her life around was very impressive,” said Clay Stevens, director in wealth management.
The O.C. team’s hard work impressed event organizers, as well. “I have never seen a volunteer group work so cohesively and quickly in my years at Olive Crest!” said National Events Coordinator Sandra Bond. “Every single member of the team took great care to see that our guests were taken care of, and their communication skills brought clarity in every situation they were in!”
Day of Giving is such a special event for Aspiriant employees that a retired partner, Neil Hokanson, came back to lend a hand.
The San Diego office also spent time supporting a Ronald McDonald House Charities organization as Ami Aranha, a manager in wealth management, serves as a trustee of Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego. The team of 11 served up to 150 meals to families of critically ill children in local hospitals in San Diego.
The organization’s leaders were grateful for our help and shared our day with them on LinkedIn.
This year, the office volunteered for CityTeam, which provides a variety of programs to combat poverty, homeless and addiction. Most of our 39 volunteers made approximately 400 sandwiches and put together food bags, then hand-delivered them to grateful residents in SRO hotels and on the streets in the Tenderloin district.
A small team stayed back at the center to organize the clothing closet where people can pick out a free outfit once a week. We learned there’s a great need for men’s clothing, so employees also brought in roughly 10 boxes and bags of mostly men’s apparel, which was neatly hung and stacked in the closet.
Being able to directly interact with people who needed help made a profound impact on us. “This year I participated in my fourth Day of Giving, and it was the first time that I truly felt taken out of my comfort zone. I was face-to-face with the people, issues and situations that I normally think little of and oftentimes try to avoid thinking of, hoping that someone else will step up and help,” said April Antonio, a portfolio administrator in investment operations. “I knew the few hours I spent at CityTeam helping these very thankful people, who are literally living paycheck to paycheck, was exactly where I needed to be.”
The folks in our Silicon Valley office supported the charity Momentum for Mental Health by volunteering at the Annual Benefit Golf Tournament at the Los Altos Golf & Country Club. The team of 12 were there all day helping with registration, assembling tee bags, distributing prizes, monitoring holes and driving golf carts to replenish beverages.
The event raised more than $150,000 to repair and improve treatment facilities that serve more than 3,000 people overcoming the challenges of mental illness and substance abuse each year.
“Other than the fact that we chose the hottest day of the year to do this (It was 102 on the golf course!), our Day of Giving was a lot of fun,” said Tazeem Lotia, administrative assistant.
Many of our people are individually involved in their local communities throughout the year. But our Day of Giving allows us to work together as a team in a different way to make a positive impact. It’s one of the highlights of our year because it goes to the heart of what we do every day to enrich people’s lives.
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