This week most of us will take a well-earned break to gather with family and friends to give thanks for our many blessings. I’d like to first acknowledge and thank those who will not be relaxing on Thursday but will instead be on the job – our military personnel, police, fire and other safety workers, and those providing care and respite to patients in health care facilities. I also want to take this opportunity to thank my employees for their hard work throughout the year. ATR is successful only because of the many individuals who work together to serve our clients. I am thankful and privileged to work with such dedicated colleagues.
Their hard work is not confined to their responsibilities on the job either; my colleagues are committed and generous with their time and money on behalf of numerous charitable endeavors. Today, in the spirit of the holiday season, I’d like to highlight one of ATR’s most successful fund raising efforts – the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night Walk. Over the next few weeks, I will highlight other ways that ATR employees have made a difference in our communities this past year. Primarily I want to thank them and recognize their efforts, but if it inspires someone else along the way, all the better!
Light The Night is one of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s premier fund raising events. Families, friends, individuals, and co-workers – anyone can participate! – work in teams to raise funds that bring help and hope to people battling blood cancers. The money raised provides lifesaving research as well as programs and educational materials that support both patients and their families. The campaign lasts more than a month, with a variety of fund raising events and opportunities, and culminates with the inspirational evening walk, where people carry illuminated balloons – white for survivors, red for supporters and gold in memory of loved ones lost to cancer.
ATR was part of the San Jose walk held on Saturday October 22, 2011 in Arena Green Park. It was a beautiful evening, filled with reflection, celebration and hope. This is the third year that ATR has participated, joining with other business teams for some friendly competition as part of the LTN Corporate Cup Challenge. Each year we have placed first in our division, including this year with $21,678. ATR employees raised this amazing amount in several ways:
- For a $10 contribution, people attended the kick-off lunch. Much thanks to our local Olive Garden for donating the delicious food!
- The committee organized an ice cream social one afternoon. For a $6 contribution you could get all the toppings you wanted!
- Raffles for prizes that included sports tickets and WII game packs raised additional funds.
- Vouchers that allowed employees to “go casual” on days other than Friday, or leave work an hour early without using vacation time were a very popular item!
- Finally, many chose to donate a portion of their vacation time, with the dollar equivalent going to Light The Night fund.
I hope you can tell how proud I am! I believe in the importance of giving back and as the president and owner of a successful business I can, and do, make decisions about ATR’s charitable contributions as part of our Corporate Responsibility Program. But this isn’t the company’s money or time; over the last three years the individual employees of ATR have donated more than $65,000. They may have received a bowl of ice cream or the chance to wear jeans in exchange, but believe me that is not their primary motivation. I am so thankful for their generosity of time, money and spirit. The picture below shows a few, accepting an award from the LLS that was earned by many! Please also check out our Facebook page for pictures from the walk itself.
Thank you, readers, for indulging me and listening to me crow a little about my great staff! I hope this bit of good news brings a smile to your day. I wish you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!
Recently, ATR was honored by Wells Fargo with its Community Support Award for our efforts in the Charlotte, Minneapolis, and San Francisco communities over the past six years. We were also recognized by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) receiving its inaugural Hall of Fame Award for our support in 2010-11.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Simple words, but I hope that they can adequately express the gratitude I feel.
First, I would like to thank the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and all the bright, committed people who work there searching for a cure and making the lives of those with CF better and brighter. ATR is proud to support them and humbled that we can make even a small contribution to their important mission. To receive recognition on top of this is just extra nice and we very much appreciate it. Throughout our relationship with Wells Fargo we have met countless dedicated people serving their communities in many ways including those at Vail Place, the Bennett Clayton Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. All of these organizations are performing vital research, providing critical services, and improving all our lives with the work that they perform. I thank them all.
Second, I want to say thank you to my employees. They are the ones who really earn and deserve any recognition that ATR receives. They are the backbone of ATR’s charitable efforts and work tirelessly within our communities supporting many worthy organizations. Whether it is as a part of our corporate efforts or as individuals, I am constantly impressed by their dedication and zeal. In addition to our support alongside our clients, our own corporate program works closely with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) and this past weekend was the LLS’ annual Light the Night walk, the culmination of weeks of internal fund raising efforts. The walk drew more than 3,000 and is highlighted by the balloons carried in honor of those lost to the disease, those fighting it and those who support them. Check out our Facebook page to see our employees in action. For all of your efforts throughout the year, I salute and thank my ATR colleagues.
Third, I want to thank Wells Fargo. Corporate Social Responsibility is nothing more than a buzz word and a program on paper until it comes to life through the efforts of a company’s individual people. At Wells Fargo their commitment to the communities they live and work in is tangible and I feel privileged to partner with them in supporting organizations whose work is critical to improving the lives of so many. Their charitable commitment includes local and national organizations and through them, ATR has been given opportunities to expand the reach and scope of our own efforts. It is said that it is better to give than to receive, and we appreciate and thank Wells Fargo for giving us the opportunity to give back, as well as for recognizing our efforts with the Community Support Award.
Lastly, I want to repeat – it is better to give then to receive – and encourage you to donate your time and/or money to a worthy organization in your own community. Organizations that depend on donations need continuous support, not just when the economy is booming and it is easier to be generous. Charity should be recession proof. Now, when many non-profits find their services in higher demand than ever, they need our corporate and individual support even more. I haven’t seen Wells Fargo’s assistance falter and my personal and ATR’s corporate commitments have increased over the past few years. Also, if you haven’t had the chance to visit a charity that you support, I urge you to do so. This summer I had the opportunity to tour the St. Jude facility in Memphis and seeing the work that they do in person was a memorable experience I won’t ever forget. I’m certain you will have a similarly inspirational visit.
Philanthropy is more than just dollars, sometimes time and effort are what’s needed. We introduced a paid time-off program for our employees to donate up to a week of their time to charities of their own. A few examples of how they’ve made a difference: building with Habitat for Humanity; assisting with the literacy program Write2Read; and working at a local homeless shelter. I’m pretty sure my employees would agree with me that we get back far more than we give. I urge all of you to find ways to give back, or increase your donations of time and money; there are so many ways to do it and so many who will benefit from your help. Trust me, you’ll feel good by doing good. So good that you might feel a little guilty, though grateful, when you are given an award.
President and CEO