In this crazy world of political scandal, lagging economies and seemingly decreased moral character, one can begin to wonder about the noticeably lack of focus around us on that which is good. In years where charitable organizations are suffering due a poor economic climate and decreasing contributions is an inevitable outcome, I begin to think about the words of the Paula Cole song “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?”
Well, I can tell you they still exist. And sometimes they are not boys, they are girls. I want to share with you a brief story about a woman who took something that affected her family, and by wanting to help others who have this same experience, she took time out of her busy schedule to figure out a way to make a difference. This woman isn’t a philanthropist with deep pockets. She is merely a young woman with a heart of gold.
Amy Reese is an employee of ours. A few months back she told me that she was going to be walking in the Alzheimer’s association’s Dallas “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” which is occurring on November 12, 2011. Amy’s grandmother was diagnosed with and eventually passed away from this disease. Amy knew of the turmoil this process caused her family, and her mother especially. She decided that in recognition of her grandmother and her mother, she wanted to set up a donation page as many others participating in the walk do in order to help raise some money to support this organization. Her beginning goal was to raise one-thousand dollars. She started by contacting everyone she knew and sending them the link to her donation page, asking for whatever they could do to help her support this cause that not only affected her family, but thousands of others.
But, she didn’t stop there. She and a friend of hers decided to organize a small event at a local Dallas hangout, and maybe get this bar and restaurant to contribute a portion of the proceeds from sales that night to the Alzheimer’s Association. But, she didn’t stop there either. She decided that if she and her friend were going to do this, why not ask for donations from friends and colleagues in the form of raffle ticket items, silent auction items and other clever little giveaways to help raise even more money. In the end, after cleverly thinking of ways to gather more support and contributions to help a cause that deeply affected her and her mother, Amy and her friend’s efforts have amounted to over $6,000 of total contributions from donations that were made directly to the donation page, and checks she is still collecting before tomorrow’s walk. I don’t know where all the cowboys have gone, but I have the pleasure of working with a real life cowgirl who has proven that anyone can make a difference.
When Amy first told us of her efforts, I was reminded of my time as VP of Philanthropy for the Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce, and how much I enjoyed every event that I helped organize throughout that time in my life. We decided at that time to make sure that no matter how small, we would always take the time to give back. We implemented a program internally called “Assurance Gives Back” and committed to finding an organization or event quarterly that we can take part of in order to give back, if even a little. So far we have participated in and volunteered in the “Race for the Cure” benefitting the Susan G. Komen Foundation. And currently we are facilitating a food drive benefitting the North Texas Food Bank which we are proud to say we have 9 of our clients participating in with us.
The belief that anyone can make a difference no matter what goes on in the world around us is something that as humans we can forget. Hopefully this story about Amy’s efforts inspires you to remember. I know I won’t forget.
This one’s for you Amy.