Why there is great value in taking the time to help another person

What would happen if you leveraged your position and influence and did more — not just for your business but for the social cause that your company cares about?

What if you created a company culture that offered employees the opportunity to receive immeasurable return on their investment?It was nine years ago that Tony Anderson, then the Midwest managing partner for EY, began to build something good — something beyond the excellence in professional services that EY provides. Anderson felt it was his responsibility to leverage his position to have a lasting impact on his community. He built a corporate/nonprofit connection that has become a part of the fabric of the Midwest office of EY. Nine years later, it is a model that serves as an example for other companies looking to make an impact.

Share your strength

Perspectives Charter Schools, the charter school network that I founded, was fortunate enough to benefit from Anderson’s vision. With his team, Anderson drew up a plan that has now involved hundreds of EY employees directly volunteering their time and talent with our students — young people in Chicago who need and deserve their unique support. EY has also made substantial multiyear contributions to Perspectives, but as Anderson puts it, “Our people were always our most valuable resource.”

EY employees serve as personal and professional mentors to students, review and edit college essays, lead holiday giving projects, assist students’ families with tax returns, help students with ACT prep, rally to provide college funds for graduates, inform and inspire students through panel discussions from various affinity groups — and much more.

In return, these EY employees are receiving the satisfaction that only giving to those less advantaged can bring.

“I’ve changed because of this experience,” says Sy Smith, an EY employee who has worked closely with Perspectives students. “I feel that I have impacted the lives of these students — and the students have enriched my life in ways I never imagined.”

Aja Beckham is a Perspectives alumna who is traveling to China this summer with the support of Perspectives and EY.

“I have always had big dreams, but EY has helped me become more accomplished, ambitious and altruistic,” Beckham says. “My mentor opened my eyes to experiences that I would have never had without her support.”

Make a difference

EY employees like Smith derive immense satisfaction from the fact that their role enables them to make a difference in the lives of others in a rich and personal way. They feel proud to be a part of a company that gives back in such a positive and fulfilling way.

Make a difference and build something good. You’re in a position to build something more than the product and services you provide. Find a way to leverage the talent of your people to truly make a connection with the cause you choose to support. Whatever cause is meaningful to your company and your employees — give your team the opportunity to have the immeasurable personal return that comes from doing something good.

When you build something good, good things come back to you.