Wednesday, December 19, 2012

GIVING AT CHRISTMAS IS EASY. Bob sends holiday wishes to everyone, with hope that the spirit of giving extends through the year.

We've all witnessed how our nation gathers together to help when tragedy strikes. The same is true at holiday time. We think more about the needy, more about our neighbors, and we look for ways to give with simple acts of kindness. And that kindness is generally returned this time of year.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could pay it forward the rest of the year? About a month ago there was a news story about a woman who was short some money at a local Target store. The person in line in front of her overheard it and left money to pay her bill. Later, at another store, she paid the bill for a person behind her. This made national news simply because it's so rare, on just an average day, to see an act of kindness like this. If acts of kindness like this happened every day, can you imagine how much nicer our world would be?

I was raised to believe the act of giving should be performed throughout the year. The wonderful people who work at Shamrock also believe this. Shamrock employees practice kindness daily and it makes working here a better place. There are countless fundraisers throughout the year. Most raise money for charity in fun and interesting ways that engage the whole company. Some are more seriously thought out due to the nature of the event.

So, I want to say a simple "thank you" to every person who works at Shamrock and extend best wishes to their families, their friends and their special charities for a joyous holiday season and a happy, healthy and, fruitful New Year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

THE ART OF GIVING BACK. Bob looks at Shamrock's past, present and future giving.

A Christmas Carol is the story of redemption. When Scrooge visits the home of Bob Cratchit, bearing gifts and goodwill, he is saved from a life of misery.

As kids, we would read the story or see the movie on television, and the family would discuss the act of giving, not only at Christmas, but throughout the year.

The act of sharing has carried over onto my personal family and my Shamrock family. Every employee at Shamrock works hard to give back to the community that's been so good to us. This year we raised money for Cystic Fibrosis, Our Lady of the Wayside, and countless organizations through activities devised by Shamrock's  fundraising committee. Each year this committee comes up with ideas that are sometimes wacky but always wonderfully creative ways to raise money for various charities.

This year we'll donate money raised by events that include Jeans Friday. I'm not a big advocate of dress down days in the workplace, but I was made an offer by the fundraising committee that I couldn't refuse. Shamrock employees would pay good money to dress in jeans on Friday, and that money is donated to a Shamrock charity.

Because I like to see our sales team dressed for business, another favorite fundraiser of mine is that salesmen at Shamrock are required to wear a tie at work every day. If I see one without a tie, or if I hear of a man on the sales team who hasn't worn a tie, he's obligated to donate $100 to a charity.

Speaking of ties, during the holiday season I will sell my Christmas ties and the money raised goes to charity. It's become a tradition at Shamrock that the men on the sales team wear holiday ties (often bought from Bob) from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

The fundraising committee likes to make the spirit of giving at Shamrock fun and competitive. By the time the holiday season arrives we're generally in high gear, looking forward to donating a nice sum of money or other gifts to Shamrock's favorite charities.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

IS IT REALLY BETTER TO GIVE THAN RECEIVE? As we approach the holidays, Bob examines whether it truly is better to give.

A few weeks ago Shamrock represented the 8th Annual Our Lady of the Wayside 2012 Starlight Guardian Humanitarian Award Luncheon, which celebrates Those Who Embrace The Spirit of Giving. I was honored to be the host of the event which included 700 guests. We raised $100,000 in ten minutes at the luncheon.

Our Lady of the Wayside is a non-profit residential service provider for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Shamrock became involved with this wonderful home years ago when my brother-in-law, Dale Masino, told us about his brother, who was among the first residents to live at Our Lady of the Wayside.

Since that time, Shamrock has become deeply involved with raising funds for this, and other worthwhile organization. It is also among the community charities we endeavor to help with our hearts, our hands and our checkbooks.

Greater Cleveland has always been known to open its heart to people in need in our communities. But now, more than ever, I see an increased spirit of giving. I see people who are more conscious of the haves vs. the have nots, and I see a genuine willingness to share and enhance the quality of life with our friends and neighbors who have times of need.

One of the wonderful benefits of working with Our Lady of the Wayside is that we actually have a chance to see improvement in the lives of people we help. Less than 50 years ago families had little help with special needs children. Today, thankfully, there are so many organizations that provide financial and emotional assistance, along with education advantages and outreach programs to enrich the lives of people with developmental disabilities.

It's not just individuals in Greater Cleveland who benefit from the joy of giving. More and more today businesses reap rewards beyond the satisfaction of helping neighbors in need. Now it's considered a measure of success for companies to be socially responsible. So, as we give, we also receive. We receive high marks as good corporate citizens from the community, which, in turn, makes us a more valuable partner with other businesses who wish to work with us. This holiday season, as we give, we will get so much in return.