Reston The meeting room at the Reston offices of the Wise Investor Group at
Robert W. Baird & Co. usually sees employees and clients huddled around financial documents or maybe looking at investment charts on the video screens. On May 15, the long conference table was covered with a sea of brown paper lunch bags, the makings of more than 200 sandwiches, bottles of water, juice, and snacks. May 15-20 is Baird Gives Back Week, one of the nation’s largest annual corporate volunteer efforts, and the associates at The Wise Investor Group were taking their community responsibilities seriously.
“Everyone is involved. Everyone is helping out,” said Managing Director Simon Hamilton.
The gang at the Wise Investor Group at Baird has volunteered time and resources to a number of charitable organizations in the past, but this year
marks their first association with Cornerstones and the Embry Rucker Shelter.
“For one thing,” said Hamilton, “it’s a need that is right in our own backyard, where so many people assume that everything is fine. What also drew us to Cornerstones is that they work on the root causes of so many challenges facing the most vulnerable in our community, housing being one of the most important.”
The Wise Investor Group associates who chose Embry Rucker as the recipient of this year’s Baird Gives Back efforts agree that it’s hard to solve your other issues when you don’t have the stability of a safe place to live.
“Not only do they offer the physical shelter,” said Hamilton, “but the Cornerstones partners work to help secure safe and stable living accommodations outside of shelters, even working directly with landlords on behalf of their clients.”
That kind of direct care resonates with the Wise Investor Group colleagues, and according to Anastasia Hansen, the company’s marketing coordinator who spearheaded the charitable activity, “it makes sense to do more than hand out, to go beyond and really help at all levels.”
Two shifts of company employees took turns making the lunch kits, including Wise Investor Group founder Gregory Smith, Branch Manager Jim McGuire, Operations Manager Nicholas Sorden, and Client Assistant Jenelle Springer, who brought her two young sons 7-year-old Julien and 9-year-old Jayden, who did their parts for “kids who don’t have the same [as us].”
Once the kits were assembled, Hansen, McGuire and Client Assistant Aashka Desai delivered them to the shelter, just a few minutes away from their offices. “It really is eye-opening,” said Hansen. For the volunteers, it really demonstrated the notion of “so close, yet so far away.”
“I hope we keep working with this group,” said Hansen. “It’s always good to help your community, but even better to do so hands-on, person-to-person.”