Carter Ryley Thomas prides itself on its community involvement; in fact, one of our company goals is to donate 10 percent of our after-tax profits to charitable organizations in the community in service and cash contributions. Our long-term goal is to create a charitable foundation for worthy organizations in communities where we have a presence.
BACKGROUND: WHERE DID THE IDEA STEM FROM?
In March 1996, employees bought the Richmond-based Earle Palmer Brown, named it Carter Ryley Thomas after the children of three of the agency’s principals, and have since created a workplace culture that evolves around our commitment to our employees, our clients and our community.
Three years ago, CRT employees created a vivid description for our vision of the future:
We will create a company with character and integrity like no other…We will be known for advising leading corporations who place great value in our counsel…An internal culture known for caring, openness, professional growth and personal fulfillment will be the most admired in our field…Fairness and spirituality will guide our decisions…We will say thanks by generously giving our time and money to the community…We will do all of this with confidence from what we’ve achieved so far, and the knowledge it is little compared with what we can accomplish together in the future.
This vision has been made a reality through a set of shared values that guide every decision (attached). These values reflect a way of living for CRT employees and are a true representation of how CRT exercises high standards of behavior towards everyone impacted by the company – employees, clients, suppliers and the community. One of the values - give without expecting anything in return – speaks to the reason that we donate so generously to our community – in Richmond as well as across the country.
DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAMS:
One of the most unique things about CRT is the way we give. Rather than simply donating dollars, CRT employees often donate a significant amount of time to various causes.
COMMUNITY SERVICE DAY ACROSS THE COUNTRY
One of our most cherished days of the year is Community Service Day. This is a community outreach program where CRT expects 100 percent participation from all employees. For one full working day each December, CRT closes its offices – from Los Angeles to Norfolk, Va., to Charleston, S.C. - and the employees spend the day volunteering at various organizations in each community.
This year, employee volunteer activities in Richmond, Va. included:
- ringing bells at various locations for the Salvation Army;
- making snowmen figures out of socks with the children at St. Joseph’s Villa, an organization that provides transitional living for women and families in need;
- caroling, writing Christmas cards, wrapping gifts and making crafts with residents at the Virginia Home, a facility for people with brain and spinal cord injuries;
- bringing Santa to visit children and helping children decorate Christmas cards for their parents at Southside Child Development Center, a daycare provider for low-income families;
- baking cookies, playing games and writing Christmas cards with senior adults at Stuart Circle Senior Daycare Center; and,
- helping pets find a new home by volunteering at Save Our Shelter’s mobile animal vehicle.
The Norfolk, Va., office spent the day helping Tidewater’s Salvation Army prepare its Toy Shop, which supports thousands of needy kids in the area.
The regional office in Roanoke, Va. spent the first half of the day at the City Rescue Mission and helped in their thrift store by sorting through donated clothes, getting them ready for the floor and then hanging them on the floor. In the afternoon, they visited with patients in the local hospitals.
Employees in Charleston delivered Meals on Wheels for the majority of the day and then organized Christmas presents for the Meals on Wheels recipients who no longer have families.
Employees in the Los Angeles office spent the day at Westside Children's Center wrapping gifts for kids, addressing Christmas cards to supporters, and playing with the children. They also donated $4,000 worth of furniture to be used in a new building that the center is constructing to accommodate parenting classes and more daycare center space.
ADOPTING LESS-FORTUNATE FAMILIES
In addition to Community Service Day this year, CRT also adopted two Christmas families. Each member of the adopted families created a “Christmas Wish List,” and CRT employees worked together to make sure the children and parents got everything on the list. Employees spent an afternoon wrapping all of the presents, and then delivered them to the homes a few days before Christmas.
In addition to Christmas community activities, CRT supports other charitable organizations throughout the year through corporate contributions (most often in the form of significant pro-bono work). A sample of the organizations we support through cash contributions and time include:
- Alzheimer’s Association
- Better Business Bureau
- Coalition for a Greater Richmond
- Commonwealth Parenting Center
- Communities in Schools
- Metropolitan Richmond Sports Backers
- Massey Cancer Center
- Noah’s Children
- Richmond AIDS Ministry
- Salvation Army
- Southside Day Nursery
- The Historic Jackson Ward Association
- United Way
GETTING EMPLOYEES INVOLVED
Another way CRT supports the community is by encouraging employees to be involved with community or non-profit organizations. Many of the projects employees do for their non-profit clients stem from employees’ being members of the organizations. CRT also gives time off (paid) from work, allowing many employees to be active members in the organizations.
In 2000, we donated 12 percent of our after-tax profits in time and dollars to organizations in the community.