Volunteering is as important to me as making money. A provocative statement?

Maybe, but it’s true. I think volunteering as a Girl Scout is when I first became passionate about it. I remember helping with an ocean cleanup, going to the local senior center to spend time with the residents, and sorting cans and food at a local food bank, something I’ve done numerous times since then!

I certainly don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way, though. In fact, I know I’m not. I’ve been volunteering with others all along. Whether in Girl Scouts, or later in high school and college, or now, I’ve been surrounded by others doing the same thing. My parents, who co-founded ATR, are committed philanthropists, personally supporting humanitarian and cultural organizations in the Bay Area and beyond. They always encouraged me to volunteer, often taking me along with them. My dad and I, both passionate golfers, have played at many charitable tournaments. ATR, the company they founded, has always had a strong commitment to corporate philanthropy, and has supported national and regional organizations as varied as Toys for Tots, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Bennett Clayton Foundation, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and Second Harvest Food Bank, to name just a few.

And when I say ATR, let me be clear, I mean everyone at ATR – it’s all of us working together. Sometimes giving back is writing a check, for sure, but that’s just a part of it, it takes much more than just that. It takes people volunteering too. Volunteering at events, holding bake sales and raffles in the office, walking to raise money, and much more – and ATR’s people have done it! That’s another reason why I know I’m not the only one who is passionate about volunteering – I’m so often volunteering as part of an ATR team.

Even better proof? Seeing people use ATR’s Volunteer Time Off program to go where they feel they can make the most impact. To date, they’ve donated over 300 hours and supported more than 25 different organizations! The VTO program exponentially increases the impact that we can have. I’m so grateful for their individual efforts to help make our local communities better and stronger. My teammate Patricia Schnieber and I recently used VTO to help at a holiday event put on by Klay Thompson’s Family Foundation.

So, I’m not alone in feeling strongly that volunteering is important. We all feel it’s important to give back to the community individually and as a business. And anyone who volunteers knows how rewarding it is; you absolutely get more than you give. Is it as important as making money? Yes. Not more so but just as.

Now, as CEO/President of ATR, it’s my responsibility to continue that volunteer commitment. To continue to support these organizations as a company, to continue the VTO program, and to continue my own personal commitment. Of course, I have lots of responsibilities. ATR needs to continue serving our clients and our consultants with the same care and commitment that has been our hallmark for 30 years. I need to make sure ATR remains a strong company that makes a profit while providing a valuable service at a fair price.

Our ability to volunteer and support is much harder without the time and money to do it. The simple fact is that money helps our corporate philanthropy and the VTO. Without a salary, personal giving suffers too. I’m grateful that my parents (and the Girl Scouts!) instilled a love of volunteering in me at a young age. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to keep that commitment as an adult. I’m especially mindful of the responsibilities taking over my family’s business places on me, and thankful to have that opportunity. And I want everyone to know that I am dedicated not only to ATR’s overall success but to continuing our strong commitment to our communities and the people and organizations that depend on all of us.

Making money or volunteering? It’s not a choice – they are equally important! I promise my goal will always be to do both!

If you’re interested in connecting with ATR for staffing and consulting services, or want to share a story about your commitment to philanthropy, reach out to us here.


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