“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead
There are so many humanitarian or environmental causes and so many different projects to support them through. While this may seem overwhelming, there is a significant role small and medium business leaders can play in creating a positive impact. By making a commitment to give back through their business, they empower their team members and spread the spirit of giving to their clients too.
CEO of Keystone Financial, PJ Patterson shared with us how he was inspired to kickstart a giving program with B1G1 and transform the culture of his company.
FULL CYCLE INVESTING
Keystone Financial is a financial services firm specializing in self-managed super funds and risk management of assets. Their strategy is based firstly on capital protection and subsequently a “full cycle investing” approach which takes into account the global macro factors to identify other opportunities for their clients.
This led to their massive success in wealth management.
Feeling extremely grateful for the opportunities that have led his business to where it is today, PJ believes it is now his responsibility to give back to the world in some way. He acknowledges that throughout this life, he has been blessed with things like safety, clean water, education and economic mobility. Yet, these things that most of us often take for granted simply do not exist for a chunk of the world’s population. This compulsion to give back to those in need was reinforced by his travels where he was exposed to the harsh truth of extreme inequality around the world. PJ knew he had to do something about this disparity!
“It started mainly with ad hoc giving to different charity organisations but nothing really resonated with me”, he shares.
Without any structure or consistency, PJ felt disconnected with the contributions he was making.
ALIGNING THEIR GOALS WITH THE UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
This all changed when PJ met Paul Dunn, co-founder of B1G1 and was introduced to the global business giving movement.
He loved that all B1G1 projects were not only aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) but sorted accordingly on the B1G1 portal for ease in purposeful giving. Each project is also thoroughly vetted by the B1G1 team, granting him the assurance that he was giving to a worthy cause, wherever it was across the globe.
It was exactly what he wanted.
Since then, PJ has committed to a monthly giving to a worthy cause or two under each Global Goal. At the moment, Keystone Financial supports 30 worthy causes across all 17 UN SDGs with a primary focus on Clean Water & Sanitation (SDG 6), Education (SDG 4) and Economic Empowerment (SDGs 1, 8 and 10). He describes the monthly process of allocating funds to each project as being incredibly satisfying no matter how he is feeling when he starts the process.
“I know that while my giving is modest, it IS going to impact another human being on this planet. While I will likely never meet those people I have helped, I can only hope they would feel blessed and grateful that someone cares about them.”
The team at Keystone Financial is also a part of this impactful action. Each team member gets to choose a project that is especially significant to them and the business will support their chosen cause on their behalf.
LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS FOR REAL IMPACT
While all the projects that Keystone Financial contribute to are important, those that address Clean Water & Sanitation and work towards eradicating hunger are what PJ prioritizes. He explains his approach with the view that human beings need the security of the necessities of life first.
Once those things have been established, then we can look at education -- equipping those in need with the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic. This would provide them the foundation to participate in the economy and be self-reliant.
For example, a project that provides livestock like a chicken or a goat to a family could go such a long way. It can feed the family, breed additional livestock for the family to eat or sell and even provide fertilizer for growing crops. Being able to contribute to empowering a family and consequently a village is something PJ holds very close to his heart!
He also draws parallels to helping women in developing countries get the resources they need to start their own business. Micro-finance can empower these potential entrepreneurs and go towards generating economic growth for a village.
“By powering such ground-up initiatives, we can achieve tremendous change!”
SPREADING THE SPIRIT OF GIVING
It is understandable that small businesses are hesitant about giving. However, once the business is robust enough and the business person can support his family, PJ believes that every business should adopt a giving program. They can simply start with what they can comfortably afford and slowly gain momentum in their giving journey. There is no amount that is too small.
Giving back is not only the right thing to do, but there is so much joy in giving and changing someone’s life for the better! By empowering team members in the causes they choose to support, this effectively raises team engagement levels too.
Additionally, the giving program and all the impactful projects they support are great stories to share with clients. At Keystone Financial, the team goes to lengths to ensure clients know that by supporting the business, they are also supporting 30 different projects.
One business leader’s decision to give has its ripple effect. The team members are inspired by the positivity that results from the hard work they do and clients know that they are investing in a business that invests in the future of communities all around the world.
It all starts with you!