Today’s post will be a short one, as I am currently at Commonwealth’s National Conference in Washington, DC. I spent this morning working on a giving back project, which involved painting three different properties that provide shelter to homeless veterans in our nation’s capital.
The properties are active; the residents were walking in and out as we painted hallways, reception areas, and common areas, as well as vacant units. Although they weren’t in bad condition, the properties definitely benefited from a new coat of paint.
Commonwealth does projects like this at every conference we hold for our advisors and their staff—whether it be sprucing up a local school or Boys & Girls Club or working directly with Habitat for Humanity. Our overriding goal across all of these projects is to leave a place we visit better than we found it. We, of course, follow up with financial support as well.
Doing well by doing good
Personally, I always feel that I gain far more than I give. The chance to make a meaningful difference in someone’s environment or life, to help out in a material way, is a very real benefit that I did not fully appreciate before I started working at Commonwealth. What is kind of funny is that for many of us, we are excited to work to help others in a way that we would not do for ourselves.
It’s easy to write a check. It’s easy to say the right thing. It’s not so easy to get up early, on a trip that is supposed to be a well-earned vacation, and get out in the hot sun to clear rocks from a playground or clean out gutters (both of which I've done on other Commonwealth trips). The fact that Commonwealth’s giving back events regularly fill up before any other sessions speaks volumes about the quality of our community.
I now have paint all over my hands—and in my hair, which I suspect I will not be able to get rid of before I sit down with Ben Bernanke tomorrow. I am okay with that because I know if he or anyone asks, I have a good story to tell about how it got there. I hope he does, in fact, so I have a chance to tell him about the community of which I am proud to be a part.