Choosing your cause

Later this year, SBN Magazine and Medical Mutual of Ohio will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Pillar Award for Community Service. We developed the program to, among other things, underscore the importance of giving back to the community.

As business leaders, it’s imperative to recognize the impact your company can have upon the neighborhood, the environment, the residents and even your industry.

This commitment stretches beyond writing checks, organizing volunteer days and other corporate philanthropic missions. It includes personal involvement, either self-generated or through activities such as COSE’s Serve-A-Day on May 11, when business leaders and their families are invited to pitch in and help improve Cleveland’s neighborhoods.

As the annual reports of regional nonprofit organizations reflect, many of you sit as trustees on nonprofit boards, lending your business expertise and acumen to the efforts of those groups. But the number of young executives taking leadership roles is small compared with the efforts of the traditional, more established guard.

It’s time that changed.

A few months ago, I decided to put my money where my mouth was and find a way to increase my involvement in the community — beyond my monthly columns, SBN‘s coverage of corporate philanthropy and our annual Pillar Awards.

I met with Alice Korngold and Shawn Nemeth at Business Volunteers Unlimited, an organization that matches executives from its member companies with nonprofit boards. After learning more about BVU, I began the process of placement on a nonprofit board of trustees.

My goal is twofold: To use my background and expertise to make an impact upon an organization whose mission I believe in, and to share my experience with SBN readers, whom I hope will decide to step up their personal involvement.

Beginning in June, I will chronicle my experiences in the pages of SBN. My diary will appear every few months in the features section of this magazine to provide you with a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what it’s like to get involved with a nonprofit organization. More important, I hope to offer concrete examples of how you, as business executives, can do more to help the Cleveland area community.