American flag Stars and Stripes at Bastogne WW2 Memorial in Belgian Ardennes[/caption]
Finding ways to give back to your local community can be a rewarding portion of the entrepreneurial adventure. It can help strengthen the community you do business in and promote both local and long-distance partnerships. One great advantage is that it often does not require a considerable outlay of capital or dozens of people to do it. Here, Safety Marking Inc. shares how entrepreneurs can give back and help create a community-focused business.
One way, entrepreneurs and their businesses can give back is to help sponsor non-profit organizations in the community. By helping cover costs of important events, fundraisers, or even administrative expenses, those non-profits will usually, in turn, help promote the business during marketing efforts. Alternatively, businesses can choose to sponsor a large event on their own and take marketing materials into their own hands. Safety Marking has partnered with the Wakeman Boys and Girls Club in their community, helping support the club in Bridgeport and Fairfield. The company has sponsored many fundraising events, including the annual Celebrity Breakfast and OVER THE EDGE, in which volunteers plan to rappel down the side of the People’s United Bank building in Bridgeport.
Austin Cook, Project Manager at Safety Marking Inc. comments “Participating in Over the Edge was so rewarding, especially knowing that every donation directly contributes to the development of after-school programs for our local children.”
Another way companies can give back is to find ways to incorporate volunteering into the company mission. Volunteering serves as a great team-building activity and builds rapport amongst employees, and increases passion for social good at the company level. Safety Marking Inc. has incorporated volunteering into their mission by supporting a food drive for the local food pantry, the Thomas Merton Center. The annual food drive takes place around Thanksgiving to help families in need to enjoy a hearty meal.
Mark Kelly, the founder of Safety Marking Inc, has been a member of the Thomas Merton Center Advisory Board for 22 years. “His leadership from both an advisory and fundraising capacity has been critical in enabling the Merton Center to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable members of the Bridgeport community for many years. Since the inception of COVID- 19, food insecurity has been the biggest concern for families in the Fairfield County area. Our demand tripled overnight. It has been heartwarming how Mark Kelly has stepped up to this challenge and recognized the huge need in our time of crisis. Mark’s quiet leadership and unwavering persistence has been a driving force in Merton Center’s success in serving the most economically disadvantaged residents of Bridgeport,” shared Mike Donoghue, Executive Director of Thomas Merton Center, a division of Catholic Charities of Fairfield County.
Businesses can also help stimulate the local economy by supporting local businesses and initiatives in the community. Purchases and investments in those areas can help contribute to an organization’s overall livelihood and set future members up for success. Safety Marking Inc. does this by supporting the local college readiness program, Diplomas2Ddegrees. In the Bridgeport community, this program serves approximately 75 students annually who may be the first family members to graduate high school and pursue further education. Through funding and volunteers, the program provides tutoring, SAT preparation, scholarship opportunities, college research, campus tours, and other assistance to students in need, free of cost to them.
As a part of the program, Mark Kelly, President of Safety Marking Inc., supported the Wakeman Club Van initiative, which is used to transport members to prospective college campuses, field trips, and other school-related activities. The company also provides its Southport Clubhouse for program activities throughout the year and volunteers to staff college tours, summer camps, and after-school programs.
Sabrina Smeltz, CEO of Wakeman Boys & Girls Club commented: “It would not be possible for us to do the work we do in Bridgeport and Fairfield without the tremendous support of Safety Marking. For over 30 years, Mark, a Club Alumnus, has been a champion of Wakeman Boys & Girls Club’s mission—to guide and inspire young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.”