Lexington, KY - As 14-year-old Anne Frank wrote in a 1944 essay, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”
Altruism can take any number of forms, from random acts of kindness to lifelong devotions to a cause, with plenty of donations in between of time, money or professional services. Three central Kentucky small-business owners share their take on community involvement and volunteering.
President, NAI Isaac Commercial Properties
Isaac serves on the YMCA Metropolitan board and chairs the board of managers at the Beaumont Centre Family YMCA.
Financially, we support a wide variety of nonprofits in our community. In 2012, we contributed to [roughly] 30 different Lexington-based nonprofits, as well as six or seven national nonprofits.
The Y has a significant impact on the community in so many areas. Fitness is an area of which everyone is aware, but the Y also handles the backpack/school supply distribution, music lessons and martial arts instruction. The Y has classes on financial skills. The Beaumont Centre Family Y is getting involved in addressing food needs in our community and exploring how the Y can help with hunger. The Y has programs for cancer survivors and diabetes education/prevention. The Y also provides financial assistance for anyone that cannot afford membership.
A few years ago, I asked an HVAC contractor and a landscape company if they could review some issues for a Lexington-based nonprofit. Both companies were so impressed with the good work the nonprofit was doing for a vulnerable segment of our community that they provided their services free of charge — and may still be doing so. All the nonprofits need assistance and the business community’s support. It is very rewarding to be involved with them.
Doctor of Optometry, Stratton Eyes
Stratton provides pro bono eye exams for children and adults in need.
When I retire, I want to be able to look back and say I had an impact on the community. We search out organizations that help people who need eye exams.
In the last two years, we have donated more than $20,000 in services. The Nest in Nicholasville, Ky., sends us people who need help, as do the Hope Center and Room in the Inn, through Southland Christian Church.
I’ve done a lot of medical mission trips to other countries, but I feel passionate about helping people right here in the community. Sight is a very important part of getting a job and being able to function. We perform six to eight free exams per week. It impacts all of us that we are doing something good for our community. Our goal is to put people before money; if you can’t pay, we’re still going to take care of you.
It took us a long time to get in with organizations that would refer people to us. There are a lot of groups out there looking for doctors to help, but there’s a lot of turnover with the people in charge. It’s interesting when you want to give away your services to help people, but there can be red tape involved.
President, the Hockensmith Agency
Hockensmith serves as chairman of the board for United Way of the Bluegrass and president of Scott County United. He is also involved with the Georgetown/Scott County Chamber of Commerce and BCTC Foundation.
Volunteering is a very rewarding experience, and it is very important in making our community a better place for all of us to live. So many of our central Kentucky organizations require volunteers to keep their programs running. Without the leadership provided by volunteers, many of these organizations would have to curtail the services they provide to those in need.
Working with United Way has provided me with the opportunity to work with many different organizations and programs in central Kentucky and see firsthand the great services they provide. These organizations all make our community a better place to live.
I have met many people over the years whom I have eventually done business with or received business referrals from. Volunteering does take time away from one’s business, but it is my opinion that the rewards far exceed the value of the time commitment. Get involved and get to know new people you have not been in contact with before. It is very rewarding to see our community become a better place for all of us to live.