Corporate Social Responsibility: It Takes a Village

Aaron Blank / January 17, 2015

This past holiday I sent a letter to The Fearey Group’s corporate clients and partners announcing our decision to forego giving gifts in lieu of donating to programs helping communities in need.

Ermias Blank, the son of Fearey Group CEO/President Aaron Blank. In this photo he was a model for Burt's Bee.
Ermias Blank, the son of Fearey Group CEO/President Aaron Blank. In this photo he was a model for Burt’s Bee.

As many of you know, my son Ermias was born in Ethiopia in the small village of Woliso. Like many places in the world, the people of Woliso have limited access to clean water; most of the people live in a state of constant crisis without reliable hygiene or hydration. Through a non-profit organization out of Denver, Colorado, my family and I coordinated efforts with several other families to set up a CarePoint site in their village to help create a long-term solution. The goal is to stabilize that community by providing foundational items and global philosophies to help bring them out of poverty.

We also contributed to Global to Local, a Seattle-based initiative providing innovative, holistic and community-driven health care and economic development strategies to one of the poorest zip codes in the U.S., right in our own backyard.

As an organization, The Fearey Group is working to empower its employees with the tools to make an impact as individuals as well as within the company. We encourage each team member to sit on two boards, one that is specific to themselves and one corporate, which could be supported by Fearey. The personal position helps strengthen individual communities and the corporate joins our energies to make the strongest impact possible.

I personally sit on the Jermaine Kearse Foundation (soon to launch!) and the Lenny Wilkens Foundation boards—both individuals involved with sports or the community and causes close to my heart—as well as the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. These organizations allow me to assist my community and make an impact close to home.

As you can see, corporate social responsibility is something we take seriously here at The Fearey Group. It was ingrained into the DNA of the company by our founder and we expand upon it continually.

In the New Year, we encourage our partners and our friends to consider developing their own Corporate Social Responsibility program.

Here are some tips on how your organization can implement a program.

  1. Let your team take ownership. By giving your employees the reigns, they can use their own passion and energy to make changes to both better the world and strengthen your organization. Create a focus, but let them decide what they want to do.
  2. Connect the dots locally and globally. We share this world, and it’s shrinking every day. The power of one person is truly extraordinary when we focus our intentions, and now we have the means to extend our influence from our neighbors next door to our friends around the globe.
  3. Spread the word. Show your peers and partners how it’s done. The best leaders lead by example, and a good example should be seen by all. I’m writing these words not to promote myself, but to encourage others to join with me to help make some big changes. The more of us on board, the greater the impact we can make!
  4. Define your program. Make sure you know what you are doing and why you are doing it. Like with anything, create a program plan.

CSR is not just a PR tool to make us feel good about ourselves. It’s our job as global citizens to improve our world and focus our resources toward positive change for all. Let’s open the discussion to explore the ways in which we can all make a difference. I look forward to learning about your CSR program.

If you are interested in donating to our CarePoint site, we’re still raising money for our clean water project. Our final goal is to raise close to $30,000 so that Ermias’s friends no longer have to drink water from the brown river. Here is a link to our crowd funding site.

The children of our CarePoint site in Woliso, Ethiopia. We have 200 children who visit the site each day for food, shelter, clothing and emotional support. In 2014, we used social media to get our community to sponsor each of these kids until they are 18.
The children of our CarePoint site in Woliso, Ethiopia. We have 200 children who visit the site each day for food, shelter, clothing and emotional support. In 2014, we used social media to get our community to sponsor each of these kids until they are 18.
The people of Ethiopia bathe here, get their drinking water here, clean their cars here, etc. We are working hard to raise money for a clean water site at our CarePoint site in Ethiopia.
The people of Ethiopia bathe here, get their drinking water here, clean their cars here, etc. We are working hard to raise money for a clean water site at our CarePoint site in Ethiopia.
Aaron Blank, president/CEO of The Fearey Group, with his family and the leaders of our CarePoint site in Woliso, Ethiopia.
Aaron Blank, president/CEO of The Fearey Group, with his family and the leaders of our CarePoint site in Woliso, Ethiopia.
Aaron Blank, Puget Sound Business Journal's 40 under 40 recipient - 2015

Aaron Blank

President and CEO

Aaron has been engaged in the conversation since the late 1990s, where he discovered his love of media while working at local radio stations. After five years as a radio reporter, anchor, producer and promoter in New York and Connecticut, he and his wife, Lacey, ventured west to begin his career in PR. Soon he caught the attention of industry legend Pat Fearey and the rest is history. Two decades later, as President and CEO of The Fearey Group, Aaron leads with tireless enthusiasm and contagious drive. He takes his breakfast at 4:30 AM and never eats lunch alone. You can find him working to connect the next business with tomorrow’s leader.

Personal philosophy: do something amazing every day!