When we set out to plan a service project for our second annual Day of Service, we didn’t have to look very far. As the hub for philanthropy in the financial advice industry, our rolodex is full of individuals that give back. One of our long-time supporters, Stephen Dedyo of Foresters Financial in New York City, knew the perfect project for our enthusiastic, community-minded group.
Grand St. Settlement (GSS), a non-profit that provides social services to low-income residents in Manhattan’s Lower East Side and parts of Brooklyn, spent the summer months renovating its community center at 80 Pitt Street with low-cost, high-impact improvements. One project that remained was the overwhelming task of painting its 6,000 square foot gym.
Stephen, who has been involved with GSS for the past 16 years as a volunteer and now a Board member, knew that Invest in Others was up for the challenge. “IIO brings large groups of motivated, determined people together and channels that energy into making a difference,” he said.
Held the day after the Community Leadership Awards, members of the Invest in Others community, including current and past award winners and finalists, sponsors, Board members, and friends and family, are invited to participate.
“This is an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other and learn more about other causes while also giving back to a local non-profit,” explained Megan McAuley, Executive Director and President of Invest in Others. “This industry can be incredibly competitive, but when it comes to giving back, people put those differences aside and work together.”
The response has been overwhelming. In 2015, for our first Day of Service, a group of 40 volunteered at the New York Common Pantry in East Harlem. This year, our number grew to more than 50.
For Roy Jordan, winner of this year’s Community Service Award for his work with the Green Hills YMCA/YMCA of Middle Tennessee, participating in the service project was a no-brainer. “My livelihood is based on the strength of my community and I am always thankful for the opportunity to give back. It was especially satisfying that my wife, Marty, and I were able to do so in New York City with people of like mind that were strangers before and friends after,” he said.
It took just six hours for the Invest in Others volunteers to paint all 6,000 square feet of the gym. “The fresh coat of paint has reinvigorated the space. The gym is used by the entire spectrum of our participants from our two-year olds for their active time when the playground is too hot or cold, to our seniors who practice their Zumba and Tai Chi moves, to the young people who come after school to hang out with their friends, do their homework, and play basketball,” said Elsa Pereira, Director of Capital Projects for Grand St. Settlement. “Thank you, Invest in Others, for generously donating your time!”