Giving back Featured

7:00pm EDT November 24, 2006

Tom McKee sees giving back to the community as a duty, not something that’s optional.

“I feel that giving back to humanitarian and social services is part of my responsibility,” says McKee, co-chairman of the law firm of Calfee, Halter & Griswold. “I’ve been given a lot in my career, and giving back is part of the territory. It’s easy to get caught up in business and lose sight of what makes us satisfied and happy.

“By giving back, I’ve received far more than I’ve given.”

He says he gets something out of his commitment every time he visits the Achievement Centers for Children, a nonprofit agency for children with special needs.

“I’m amazed every time I spend time at the facility and hear staff reports and hear families talk about the impact the center has had on their lives and the children’s lives,” McKee says.

His involvement with the center started with a solicitation from a business colleague, and that initial contact has turned into eight years of contributions. McKee is on the board of directors for the Achievement Centers for Children, and his leadership on the governance committee is credited with allowing the agency to rapidly grow to meet the needs of the community.

“This growth has allowed us to expand needed services for increasing numbers of children with disabilities and their families in our community,” says Patricia Nobili, the center’s executive director.

McKee says if you are looking to get more involved with the community, start by asking colleagues what they’re doing to help.

“Ask others what they are involved in and which organizations have provided the type of rewards you are looking for,” he says. “Everyone contributes in their own way, but I’m a strong believer in talking to others to find the right fit.”

And whether you are donating services, money or leadership, the end result is a better community and a good feeling.

“It provides a different kind of reward,” McKee says. “You can’t get it from an everyday job.”

HOW TO REACH: Calfee, Halter & Griswold, www.calfee.com; Achievement Centers for Children, www.achievementcenters.org