Categorized | Publisher's Letter

People before profits

If you have been following my From the Publisher letters over the years, you know that I try to write about real experiences that shape my opinions and open my mind to new ideas.

I had one of those moments while visiting the Museum of Science and History one afternoon. It was for the organized kickoff party of in cooperation with Hands on Jacksonville and sponsored by Synovus Bank. As part of its business model, it serves as a non-profit hub of sorts that brings worthy organizations and willing volunteers together. It measures time pledged rather than dollars donated.

I had never given much thought to how many non-profit organizations were represented in our area, but between and Hands on Jacksonville, there are more than 170 organizations represented on the websites. It surely opened my eyes to the sheer number of groups because when I was sitting in the auditorium, it was full—and every one of them legitimate and deserving.

During the presentation, the founder of, Mike White asked how many are NOT working with smaller budgets than last year. No hands rose, and unfortunately, I wasn’t surprised. This is the precisely why was created.

Instead of pledging dollars, for-profit companies pledge employee’s time. Progressive organizations are keenly aware what makes a fulfilling work experience, and company and volunteer time is spent building a house or serving food. There is no shortage of projects. After all, non-profit organizations are happy to get any help they can.

My time spent at the launch party got my mental wheels turning. Should unselfish, unpaid service to others be part of a successful for-profit business culture? I think the answer is clearly “yes,” but admittedly I’m ashamed to say I haven’t paid as much attention to it as I probably should have.

While deciding where to donate time and money is largely a personal decision, why shouldn’t the employer send the right message to customers and employees that people come before profits?

Thankfully we live in a generous community where people are giving all the time. In addition to being the right thing to do, I can’t imagine a better way to create a meaningful work experience.

Keeping things in perspective.



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