Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Help others, but pick your passion.

I have written before about my opinions on the importance of picking charities that align with your business and making contributions to these charities regularly.

Buena Vista Custom Homes has developed the “Buena Vista Profit Partners” program, where we make a monthly donation to each charity based on each closed sale we record during the month.

Today, I would like to touch on passion. There are so many worthwhile organizations that need our help, but I feel that it is very important to pick groups in need that fit a pre-determined criteria you set. The criteria? That’s easy, it should fit what you are passionate about. My criteria and passion has been children and organizations that help those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. Although I am passionate about these groups, recently I took my passion to a new level.

Last year we added a new “profit partner”, The Option Institute. An organization that helps parents with autistic children. Although this did meet my previous criteria of an organization that helped children, my passion was taken to a whole new level when we found out that our youngest son was diagnosed with Autism.

This organization has provided so much hope to our family, I have made it a personal mission to help spread the word. This summer I decided to also sponsor a series of four lectures in Eugene, Portland and Seattle featuring Raun Kaufman, the CEO of the Option Institute. In addition, I decided to sponsor 200 families to attend the autism program in Massachusetts. Kaufman’s story is amazing. He was diagnosed as a child with severe autism. His parents founded the program and fast forwarding to today he is a Harvard grad and CEO of the Option Institute and a truly inspiring speaker. Over 2,000 people attended the four seminars and I have been amazed at what has taken place following the lectures.

The autism scholarship families have formed a blog of their own and have been sharing information. Several of the families have done fundraisers of their own to help raise funds for expenses for the trips and to host additional families. Families have shared techniques that they learned and used with their children. Many have arranged ride sharing to and from the airport to the Option Institute as well. Above all, families dealing with autism have made a stronger bond.

And the thank you letters….I can’t begin to tell you how good it feels to read the special messages sent by the attendees and scholarship families.

Passion…we all have it. Find yours and do something positive with it.