Paying it Forward with Oakmont Capital Services in 2022

Charity (Noun)

– an organization set up to provide help and raise money for those in need

– the voluntary giving of help to those in need

– kindness and tolerance in judging others

Charity can take many forms – just look at the different definitions listed above. It’s often a non-profit that advocates for a specific cause; it can be a group of people or an individual who takes time to volunteer and donate, or it can be the daily choice to treat people with respect and kindness without expecting anything in return. Charity is unique. With that said, the chairs of OCS’ philanthropy committees, Daryn Lecy, CLFP and OCS COO (MN), and Keara M. Piekanski, MBA and Director of Marketing (PA), took some time to explain why OCS’ philanthropic initiatives are special and the overall impact the Oakmont family has made to different people in need.

A State of Kindness: Minnesota

Q: Daryn, why is philanthropy important to OCS?

A: We are very fortunate to operate in communities that support local businesses, and we believe it’s very important for us to give back and share with local and national organizations. OCS places a high value on continuing education and is very dedicated to giving back to our industry through educational and philanthropic opportunities.

Q: What activities or initiatives have you started at your branch to encourage charity and volunteering amongst the team?

OCS’ Minnesota office collected and wrapped presents for 3 families (19 people!) in the St. Cloud area. Employees and their families volunteered time, made cash donations, and provided gifts to help local families in need. OCS also contributed with a matching monetary gift, and one team member and her family even made a generous donation of a new twin bed!

A: OCS’ Albany branch is fortunate to be in a small but strong community and we enjoy being able to support the local school and neighborhood groups such as the fire departments, school associations, and other non-profits. We have a fun tradition that started off as an employee suggestion that was brought to the attention of the philanthropy committee. Every holiday season, we collect donations and gifts to support several local families through Catholic Charities’ Share the Spirit. This has been a very enjoyable activity for our company with many employees and their families participating in the shopping, wrapping and dropping off of presents.

Q: What organizations is your branch currently working with?

A: We’ve been working with these organizations: Albany and Avon Fire Departments, Holy Family Schools, Albany Area Education Foundation, Mother of Mercy Foundation and Zonta.

Q: Has the Albany branch participated in a specific initiative this year that stands out to you and/or would resonate with our readers?

A: The first that comes to mind is the recent 5k we participated in. It was called Running HOME for Jacob. This annual event was started by the JWRC (Jacob Wetterling Resource Center) 7 years ago and is sponsored by the Zero Abuse Project. As a group, the Albany branch participated in the 5K portion on Saturday, October 15th. Over 40 walkers took the local Lake Wobegon Trail towards St Joseph – it was truly amazing to see! Oakmont Capital Services was able to fundraise over $5,200 for the Jacob Wetterling Foundation. Tracy Schneider, Finance Coordinator, was Oakmont Capital Services and Albany, Minnesota’s top fundraiser with over $850! We’re excited to continue to generate awareness over the coming years for this special initiative.

A little about the Jacob Wetterling Foundation for those who may not know…

On October 22nd,1989, 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling was abducted in St Joseph, MN while on his way to rent a movie with a group of friends. Finally, in 2016, the family was given answers about Jacob and were able to lay him to rest. Over those 27 years, the hope for Jacob grew and became a hope for all missing children and an energy to build a world worthy of its children. The Jacob Wetterling Resource Center was founded to educate and assist families and communities to address and prevent the exploitation of children. Jacob believed in a fair and just world, a world where all children know they are special and deserve to be safe. This is what drives the #11forJacob movement. This movement centers around 11 simple traits that Jacob valued:

  1. Be Fair
  2. Be Kind
  3. Be Understanding
  4. Be Honest
  5. Be Thankful
  6. Be a Good Sport
  7. Be a Good Friend
  8. Be Joyful
  9. Be Generous
  10. Be Gentle with Others
  11. Be Positive

Philadelphia: The City of Brotherly Love

Q: Keara, what philanthropic activities or initiatives have you started at the West Chester, PA branch?

A: The PA team is focusing on supporting veterans, volunteering/donating to reduce food insecurity, and giving back to small businesses. Our committee (Amanda Town, D.J. Jackson, Jen Foulds, Ana Suarez, and Bill Schmidt) researched various organizations and then the entire office voted on what charities we should focus on.

Jen Foulds, Keara Piekanksi, Bill Chandlee, and Aaron Dym from the Pennsylvania Branch taking time to count beans and organize donations for the West Chester Food Cupboard.

Q: What organizations is your branch currently working with?

A: OCS PA has made a $900 donation to #HicksStrong Inc., offering 12 mental health sessions to veterans. We are aligned with a local food bank – the West Chester Food Cupboard – where we have completed one volunteer day (bean counting!) and are looking forward to many more over the coming months and years. We’re currently holding a food drive to benefit this organization, too. Regarding small businesses, we are on the docket with SCORE, an advisory organization for small, locally owned businesses, offering free mentorship. We plan to participate in a training session with SCORE mentors regarding the importance of building business credit.

I’m also very proud of the St.Jude Walk/Run the West Chester branch took part in back on September 24th, 2022 in Philadelphia’s FDR Park (or Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park). Our team raised over $4,755 with our own Bill Chandlee, Assets Manager, as our top fundraiser.

Q: Why do you personally believe volunteering is important?

A: It humbles me. I’ve volunteered ever since I was young, starting with church picnics and Habitat for Humanity. As an adult, I got involved with local food banks, organized food drives, raised money for the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, participated in fundraising for various walks/runs, and volunteered at a local community theater. I don’t volunteer as much as I would like, but every time I do, it reminds me of how fortunate I am and makes me so thankful for everything I have in this world. I’m thrilled that OCS has so many people dedicated to giving back, and I’m proud to serve our community alongside my generous colleagues.

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