Giving Back

Giving Back

Jim Lamb is president of Commonwealth Consultants Inc., a company cited as one of the most socially responsible in the area.

<bt>Number of Years in the Community:

I have lived in the D.C. area my entire life. 42 years.

Family : Divorced.


B.A. from the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Va.

Current job/primary occupation:

Founder and President of Commonwealth Consultants Inc. Listed as one of the Top 25 PR Firms in the Washington area by the Washington Business Journal; Chairman, Commonwealth Consultants Foundation. Recognized as one of the 40 most socially responsible corporate foundations in the Washington area by DC Cares and the 2005 Greater Washington Philanthropy Summit.


Personal achievements aren't really important to me at this point of my life.

I'm happy that our company was recognized earlier this year as one of the Top 25 PR Firms in the Washington area. That speaks to me that our company performs our work well for our clients and that our employees are enjoying their work and achieving their personal goals. I really like being in a positive atmosphere with hip people who are compassionate, yet make things happen.

What I'm most proud of is the success of our award-winning foundation, the Commonwealth Consultants Foundation.

Commonwealth Consultants Inc. donates 25 percent of all our net income each year to the Commonwealth Consultants Foundation so we may support worthy charities, individuals in need, and cutting-edge community organizations.

We are in your community assisting your homeless neighbors, supporting and mentoring deserving children who require assistance, and helping others in need of a hand at a critical time in their life. We also mentor and train non-profit organizations to become more effective and grow through our Community Action Growth Seminars (CAGSEMs).

Commonwealth Consultants Foundation firmly believes that the private sector should play the leading role in assisting those in need. Our hope is to participate in a dialogue that will serve as a catalyst for additional community involvement from other leading corporations. Together we can all increase our efforts and truly make a difference for the future of our community.


I really dig working one on one with people in need and also raising money from some of my friends and acquaintances. In 2003, I personally raised over $200,000 for three charities in our community and two in Virginia and one in D.C. Since 1997, I have directly raised over $500,000 for community organizations as a volunteer.

I either serve on the board or work with several community organizations including the Carpenter's Shelter, the INOVA Kellar Center for Children, the Fairfax Court Appointed Special Advocates for Abused Children, and St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington.

My chief hobby is building the success of our foundation. I donate at least 10 of my 45 work hours each week to charity. It is very rewarding. In June of 2003, we launched a cutting-edge scholarship program here that enables economically-disadvantaged youth to attend a four-year university program at George Mason University in Fairfax. Commonwealth Consultants has awarded two $10,000 scholarships to two full-time students that began college in the fall of 2003. The two girls who received our scholarships are an inspiration to me, and the thought of them gets me up early in the morning, so I hopefully can do more to help others.

I also have a number of personal interests.

A former drummer that never made it, I still play in a local band and love attending concerts and listening to all types of music including Classical, Jazz and traditional Rock & Roll.

I've played and coached a number of sports including basketball, squash, and street hockey. I enjoy canoeing and hiking the Appalachian Trail.

I also enjoy creative writing, reading, laughing and drinking coffee with friends at coffee shops with character. My favorite coffee shop is the Uncommon Grounds on Church Street in Burlington, Vermont.

Favorite local restaurant or place in Vienna:

Whole Foods Market in Vienna

What are your community concerns? What are some ideas you have on way to improve the community?

We live in one of the wealthiest regions on Earth yet statistics have shown our level of giving in the Washington area is barely at the national average. I believe that the private sector can do a lot more in playing the leading role in promoting social opportunity and equality.

I'd like to see a more caring region where businesses, government, non-profits, churches and spiritual centers, and caring individuals participate in unique ways to generously give of their time and money to help our neighbors build a stronger community and more beautiful world. Imagine what would be possible for our community, if instead of the 3 percent per capita each person in Washington gives, we doubled that and each gave 6 percent. We'd make a huge difference. Let's think about it.

What brought you to Vienna?

There is a real energy in Tysons Corner for those who want to start a business. We wanted to be based here so we could learn from other entrepreneurs and share in the creativity and excitement of the community. I have been fortunate to have learned from some of the most generous leaders in the region, Til Hazel and Mark Fried, to know how to give back.

What community "hidden treasure" do you think more people should know about?

Definitely the Appalachian Trail! Only 50 miles from Tysons you can park your car off Route 725 and Route 55 and hike 3.5 miles up and over Linden Mountain into the western sunset. In Virginia, the AT travels 587 miles. Hiking along the Trail gives me a great opportunity to exercise, enjoy the beautiful mountains of the Valley, and reflect on the things that are important to me.

Personal goals:

Just two. Enjoy the simplicity of life and always do the best that I can.