Share the Milk & Cookies

At my last Growth Club meeting, we discussed a book called The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus.  In the book, Eric Harvey, talks about sharing the milk and cookies.  Meaning, you need to reward your team for the hard work they do.  Even though you, the business owner, are in the spotlight, it’s important to recognize the people working behind the scenes.

Agreed—when your team meets goals, it’s imperative to celebrate and recognize everyone’s contribution.  But, then I started thinking…what about sharing the milk and cookies with local charities?  How important is charitable contribution to developing the culture of your business?

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, about 75% of small business owners donate some portion of their profits to charitable organizations.  I think that’s incredible—that’s hundreds of thousands of people giving back.

Through my two Pure Barre studios, I support two local charities that are important to me, The Forsyth County Backpack Program and the Wake Forest Deacon Club.  Are these donations important to developing the culture at my studios?  I think so.  Here’s why:

The Forsyth County Backpack Program

This is an incredible organization working to combat the problem of food insecurity in children in Forsyth County, North Carolina, which includes Winston-Salem.  Unfortunately, Winston-Salem is ranked one of the worst cities in the nation for families with children reporting food insecurity and 50% of Winston-Salem Forsyth County school children receive free or reduced-price lunch.  What is even more disturbing is that despite all the wealth and opportunity in Winston-Salem, about 25% of all children are food insecure—meaning they don’t know when or where their next meal is coming from.  Many of these children only eat at school.  So, when they go home for the weekend, they aren’t eating until they get back to school on Monday morning.  The Backpack Program creates “backpacks” or bags of food for these children in need of food that they can eat and prepare for themselves on weekends.

I don’t have children, so you might wonder why I’m so passionate about giving money to the Backpack Program.  I am a huge believer in the American Dream—that anyone can be anything they want as long as they work at it and have a plan.  I also have a problem with the idea of wasted talent.  It is extremely bothersome to me that a child could not be reaching their potential in school or in sports because they aren’t eating proper meals.  So, through Pure Barre Winston-Salem and Pure Barre Clemmons, we’ve donated $3,000 this year to feed children in Winston-Salem.  The Backpack Program is extremely efficient and $20 feeds one child for a month, so we’ve helped about 12 children for the year.  I’m really proud of this and hope we can contribute even more next year.

Wake Forest Deacon Club

It’s really hard to be a student athlete.  On top of attending classes, you also have hours of practice sometimes several times a day.  When I swam in college, I had 2-a-days and weight lifting as well as a full course load to manage.  Sports breads the same mental toughness that is required of entrepreneurs.

A college education, especially at Wake Forest University, is expensive.  I was extremely fortunate to have grandparents who paid for my undergraduate education, which meant that I didn’t have any student loans when I graduated.  Being debt-free gave me a lot of flexibility in choosing my career path and accepting my first job.  The Deacon Club provides scholarships to Wake Forest’s student athletes and if my money can help them leave school with less debt or no debt, they will be able to make better career decisions—and maybe even start their own business.  Go Deacs!

While my business Culture Statement doesn’t explicitly include charitable giving as a value, giving back allows us to build connections through fitness, strength and a supportive Pure Barre community.

I’ve made it a priority to support these two organizations because they are important to my business culture.  The work they do is also an inspiration to me.  I look forward to sharing the milk and cookies!  I hope you and your business are fortunate to do the same this holiday season.

Tomorrow, I’ll have another bonus post about how I’m enjoying my new Nespresso milk frother.  And next week, I’ll let you know what happened when I wrote out a list called “20 Things I’m Not Doing but Should Be.”  I’ll also leave you to celebrate the New Year with some quotes on goal setting from one of my favorite books.

Until then, stay on your toes!

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