Building Business by Giving
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Small Businesses Improve Their Communities
Small businesses may be struggling these days, but that hasn’t stopped them from supporting their local communities and those in need.
Fine Earth, LLC—A Dream Come True Park
“We strongly believe that being involved in our community is essential to the success of our business and the success of those around us,” says Chad Layman, owner of Fine Earth, LLC, a landscaping company in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
In May 2010, Layman and his 18 employees helped cut the ribbon on a playground that enables all children to play together safely, including children with disabilities. The A Dream Come True Park began as a Girl Scout project in 2001 before becoming a community service project with full support of the Harrisonburg Department of Parks and Recreation in 2004. The $2.4 million project was funded by 150 community donations, including a donation of approximately $15,000 in time, materials, and expertise from Fine Earth. The company also donated another $5,000 in advertising ahead of the big opening. “This playground represents a huge step forward in the effort to create communities that are truly open to all,” Layman says.
Newman Architecture—Schools for Children of the World
As owner of Newman Architecture in Naperville, Illinois, Chuck Newman supports many community activities. But it’s his work as president and co-founder of Schools for the Children of the World (SCW) that has enabled him to tap into his passion to improve educational opportunities around the world.
In 1997, Newman traveled to Honduras with Dr. William DeJong, a school planner from Columbus, Ohio, and 10 other architects and school planners to study the condition of schools in that country’s rural areas. Following the trip, Newman designed a prototype school in the community of Canchias, and in July 1998, he and DeJong founded SCW, a not-for-profit that helps communities build and repair schools.
SCW has built 6 new schools and has added to or renovated more than 60 others. Newman is involved in projects in Belize, Honduras, India, Kenya, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Peru, Tanzania, and Zambia. Newman and SCW are partnering with the Spanish Red Cross to rebuild 10 schools in earthquake-devastated Haiti. “Most developing countries don’t have building codes or standards for building a school,” Newman says. “We show them that it is possible to build a safe school and hopefully create a model to be replicated throughout the region.”
Pattie Sheehan—Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization (formerly known as the Breast Cancer Network of Strength)
After working in the corporate world for 30 years, Pattie Sheehan had an epiphany after taking her mother—an 80-year-old cancer survivor—to get fitted for a wig following chemotherapy. Sheehan saw firsthand how important self-image is in the recovery process but realized that there were no cancer recovery boutiques in her city of Chicago. “They were all out in the suburbs,” she says.
So Sheehan set out to open Second Act LLC, the only fully accredited mastectomy boutique in downtown Chicago that offers wigs and postsurgery bras and prostheses in one location. “I spend a lot of time in the community talking about what’s available and the funding options and providing training and teaching,” Sheehan says. “When I was in the corporate world, I never felt like I made a difference in anyone’s life. Here, I make a difference every day.”
Before she could open her own boutique, Sheehan had to become a Certified Mastectomy Fitter, which required 500 hours of fitting experience before sitting for an exam. She joined the Breast Cancer Network of Strength’s mobile salon team for two years, handing out bras, prostheses, and wigs to women who could not afford them. Sheehan used her advertising and marketing experience to help the group transition back to its original name and reestablish its brand.
March To-Do List
EXPLORE the financial regulatory law using an interactive chart. www.centerforcapitalmarkets.com
TELL us your health care reform story. www.HealthReformImpacts.com
SIGN the pledge to put America back to work. www.uschamber.com/backtowork
COMMENT on the National Labor Relations Board’s new rule to force businesses to post a biased notice of labor rights. www.uschamber.com/commentnlrb
SUPPORT repeal of the 1099 filing mandate. www.uschamber.com/repeal1099