— Meagan Swanson
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
— Theodore Roosevelt
When the Wealth Management team began brainstorming ideas for our department-wide Giving Back initiative to kick off 2014, we first sat down to establish a simple framework that would guide us in achieving our goals. In the end, we settled on the following:
- Identify. We wanted to identify a local, well-respected organization with a value system in line with our own at Commonwealth.
- Organize. We wanted to organize a series of events that would allow people to participate in any manner they could, whether with their time, money, or donated goods.
- Cultivate. We wanted to cultivate collaboration across the firm and within our department while maintaining a fun, welcoming environment.
- Celebrate. We wanted to celebrate the success of this initiative and of the impact possible through teamwork.
With this framework in mind, we worked with Paula O’Shaughnessy to identify the most appropriate organization to partner with. This led us to Cradles to Crayons, a local nonprofit with a clear objective, passion for excellence, and commitment to supporting children and families in need.
It was a successful partnership from the start, in large part because of both organizations’ “Anything but Common” approach to providing for those we serve. The true culture of Cradles to Crayons became even more apparent when my colleague Sammy Quinn and I volunteered at their Giving Factory in Brighton, Massachusetts, prior to launching the project at Commonwealth. This firsthand look into how the organization operated, the passion shown by each of the employees, and their nonnegotiable focus on quality served us well in setting the bar for our own contribution.
Ultimately, we designed a multifaceted initiative that included:
- A children’s product drive in which employees across Commonwealth donated clothing, winter gear, books, toys, and more
- A casual dress day to raise money to purchase outfit packs for specific age groups in the greatest need
- A department-wide event to sort and organize the donated goods, assemble the outfit packs, and celebrate the experience, as well as the end result!
With help from employees across the Wealth Management department and the firm, we were able to successfully identify, organize, cultivate, and celebrate! On March 4, our caravan dropped off our final contribution, consisting of:
- Twenty outfit packs for boys and girls ages 2 to 7 years of age
- An impressive array of in-kind donations
- A check made payable to Cradles to Crayons for more than $1,400
Our Cradles to Crayons contact noted that ours was a “standout” contribution and that it was uncommon for companies to provide this level of support. My response was simple: “We like to overachieve at Commonwealth!”
We’d specifically like to thank Gavin Morrissey, Paula O’Shaughnessy, Sammy Quinn, Holly Sivec, Kim Hiltz, Donna Wilkins, and everyone else who played a vital role in this effort, as well as Commonwealth Cares. We sincerely appreciate the support and generosity of all those involved! Thank you for making this a high-impact initiative that we can be proud of.
Meagan Swanson has been a part of the Commonwealth community since 2011. She is a senior fixed income analyst on our Investment Research team, where she handles inquiries on portfolio construction and design and researches individual investment opportunities and industry trends related to the credit markets.