Aspiriant Day of Giving 2020

Aspiriant Connects With Our Communities

Every year, the employees at Aspiriant look forward to spending a day volunteering for an organization that helps make our communities brighter. It’s known as our Day of Giving. Each office picks a charity and spends time supporting the cause while having fun bonding as a group.

Naturally, like with so many things this year, we couldn’t volunteer in office groups like we normally would. And yet the coronavirus created greater needs in our communities as it impacted families in so many ways. Demand at food pantries skyrocketed, our elections faced daunting challenges, and children needed greater support as they home-schooled, just to name a few.

So this year, individual employees spent a day (for some, more than one day) volunteering for an organization of their own choice. It enabled us to really spread our charity and help many more people.

Here are some examples of how Aspiriant team members connected with their communities in 2020:

Linda Kitchens

Director in Wealth Management, Partner
San Diego
Organization: Community Resource Center

The Community Resource Center is based north of San Diego. It operates a food pantry, finds housing for displaced families, and operates a 24-hour domestic violence hotline and a secret-location battered women’s shelter. They also have several thrift stores to generate revenue. Linda has volunteered for the organization in one way or another for about 12 years.

This year she delivered food to a couple homebound senior women. But not only did she provide them nourishment, Linda developed friendships with them. Even when she was not able to go inside their homes because of COVID health restrictions, she pulled up a lawn chair and sat outside chatting with them. And when she couldn’t even do that anymore, she still called them weekly to make sure they were ok.

In addition, Linda gave food to the Community Resource Center’s food pantry, donated money for the domestic violence hotline (which saw a 49% increase in calls this year), and provided gift cards to food-insecure elementary school children through the Rotary Club.

“It’s true that you get more than you give from these experiences — my life is enriched,” Linda said. “I have become aware of what’s really happening in our community and respect the MANY volunteers devoting their time and resources — I’m constantly inspired. While I never feel like I am doing enough, I also appreciate that this is the ultimate lesson in teamwork. The collection of effort and resources makes a difference, creates impact. I am honored to play a small part.”

Shanda Gentry

Director in Compliance and Records Management

Dean McKenzie

Systems Administrator
Organization: Board of Elections

Two of our Cincinnati workers volunteered at their local polls.

Dean’s experience, unfortunately, was cut short. When he arrived at 5:30 a.m., there was already a line of voters. He helped set up and opened the polls at 6:30. But at around 9:30, a family member he spent time with over the weekend texted and said they had tested positive for COVID-19. So Dean promptly left and got tested. Fortunately, he was negative and quarantined at a friend’s apartment while the friend was out of town.

“I was happy to have had a chance to serve but wish I could have fulfilled my time. I look forward to next election day,” Dean said.

Shanda said her purpose was to assist local and national elections in Loveland, Ohio, but the benefit was much greater. “The outcome was that people could see people on both sides of the election having civil discussions, laughing and enjoying the sunshine together. Many commented that they hoped what they saw occurring between us would spread to all in the days post-election. So hope was my impact.”

Mike Fitzhugh

Director in Wealth Management, Partner
San Francisco
Organization: Alameda County Food Bank

Once every other month, Mike spends most of a day distributing bulk food from the Alameda County Food Bank to people in the vicinity of a Black church that ministers to the food-insecure in Oakland, Calif., to tide them over for a week or two. In the alternating months, he helps serve a hot meal and sends the participants home with a bag of groceries.

“I’m very grateful to the food bank for putting me in touch with this church group, which itself is poor but truly doing the work that the Lord would want and doing it with love and dignity,” Mike said.

Gregory Fasig

Director in Wealth Management, Partner
Organization: Northside Alley Beautification

Aspiriant Day of Giving 2020

The before and after of a Northside neighborhood alley in Cincinnati.

Greg has spent numerous days this year cleaning up 12 under-maintained, historic alleyways in his neighborhood. They run behind residences and many still have the original brick surfaces. They add greatly to the walkability of Northside as few motorized vehicles use the alleys.

The volunteer group hosted two neighborhood cleaning days and removed yards of dirt, leaves and debris. Greg also helped implement an alley adoption program where concerned community members, primarily people living along the alleys, “adopt” an alley segment and agree to maintain and beautify it throughout the year. The alleys were divided into more than 50 segments, and over half were adopted in just a few weeks.

“This project not only beautifies the neighborhood, but it also strengthens the bonds of neighbors and increases the pride in this already extremely proud neighborhood,” Greg said. “It’s led to replaced and new lighting at several sections to make them safer to walk at night.”

Daniella Chuckran

Marketing Manager

Sandra Conners

Director in Wealth Management, Partner
San Diego
Organization: Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County

Daniella and Sandra in our San Diego office teamed up to volunteer on August 25 for a financial literacy workshop for “littles” through Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County. They covered a variety of personal finance topics, with an emphasis on saving, budgeting, credit, taxes and investing. There were roughly 15 high-school aged “littles” in attendance who learned important personal finance topics that they may not have otherwise learned in school.

Big Brother Big Sisters of San Diego County provides professionally supported, one-to-one mentoring relationships for kids who need an additional layer of support. Most of the “littles” in the big/little mentoring relationship face challenges like poverty or single-parent households.

“I’ve been a big sister to my little sister, Alaina for five years, and I have seen firsthand the power of mentorship,” said Daniella. “I’ve watched Alaina grow from a timid 10-year-old into a confident 15-year-old with bold dreams. Being able to hold this financial literacy workshop and share knowledge and advice with other littles who need this valuable information, but don’t necessarily have access to it, is very rewarding.”

Emily Whaley

Manager in Compliance
Organization: Bethany House Services

Bethany House provides services to homeless families in the Cincinnati area. The organization focuses on empowering homeless and at-risk families with the solutions to achieve housing stability and long-term self-sufficiency. Due to COVID-19, Bethany House moved their families to hotels to maintain safe social distancing. This year, Emily heard that they needed volunteers to serve a hot meal to the families living in these hotels.

On December 3, Emily’s family provided fried chicken, green beans and mashed potatoes to 12 families (48 people). Her children, ages 7 and 12, assisted in dividing and packaging the food and plates for the individual families.

“It was definitely a team effort,” said Emily. “During the drive to deliver the food, my husband and I explained to our children the services that Bethany House provides and how important it is that there are organizations like this to assist families in need. In addition, we reminded them of how lucky our family is during this Christmas season.”

Bret Magpiong

Chief Practice Officer, Partner
Los Angeles
Organization: YoungLife

Aspiriant Day of Giving 2020

Aspiriant CPO Bret Magpiong (top center) and his wife (bottom left) helped raise money for YoungLife via a Zoom telethon.

On December 8, Bret teamed up with a group of volunteers for a virtual telethon fundraiser to benefit YoungLife in Torrance, Calif., a faith-based organization that focuses on developing relationships with middle school and high school students to help them develop life skills. The event was held via a Zoom meeting so the volunteers could see each other make fundraising calls for the organization and have conversations.

“This was definitely outside of my comfort zone. It is not an easy thing to ask for money. Yet when I was doing it with a group of like-minded people (including my wife), with the ability to watch and be encouraged by each other via Zoom (crazy 2020!!!!), and for a cause that we all believe in, it took the discomfort away,” Bret reflected.

“YoungLife is an organization that starts with adults who are concerned enough about kids to go to them, on their turf and in their culture, building bridges of authentic friendship. These relationships don’t happen overnight — they take time, patience, trust and consistency. That was the powerful why behind what we were all doing. While we don’t know what the ultimate success will be with our efforts this evening, we do know that we are making a difference in the lives of each other, and the kids we are looking to serve. That’s what it’s all about.”

Office donations

In addition to individual employees volunteering their time, each Aspiriant office donated to a local charity. See the list below: