Sumo wrestling? Whack-A-Mole? To raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas? Are they serious…?! Oh, yes. Padgett Stratemann & Co. is as serious about fun as they are about giving back to the communities where they live, work and play. They are also quite serious about inspiring other companies to create innovative approaches to corporate philanthropy as well. Their out-of-the-box thinking has been a good match for BBBS. “Our partnership with BBBS is not philanthropy in the traditional sense,” said Maria Barrett, director of marketing and community involvement at Padgett Stratemann. “We believe companies should use the same creativity in giving back as they would in creating a business model.”
Every year the organization schedules a week of events to raise money amongst their employees. It is a week that features a host of crazy competitions. “We start with a kickoff breakfast,” said Maria, “then we may have the employees vote on which two senior partners they want to have a sumo wrestling competition. We’ve had Whack-A-Mole in the office, bowling, and Karaoke competitions. It gives the teams a break, gives them a chance to laugh together, and build camaraderie.”
The money raised from these events is a personal contribution from the employees. The firm then matches and goes beyond this amount. From the company’s perspective it’s a win-win for everyone. It’s a great team-building exercise for employees, the employees see and know their efforts are impacting their community, and the company knows that it is expressing its core values and making a difference in the world.
The desire to make a difference, combined with a spirit of innovation, is what led Padgett Stratemann to Big Brothers Big Sisters. When the business solution organization opened a new office in Austin, they were looking for a program they could support year-round as a ‘charity of choice.’ “We weren’t looking to partner with an organization where our involvement was 100% financial or 100% volunteer-based. We wanted to engage in both ways and more,” said Maria. “BBBS was open to these ideas. I think we are now connected to nearly every program they have and we continue to look for new ways to work together each year.”
Maria is personally involved as a Big Sister herself. “My Little wants to be an attorney. I used to work at a law office so I coordinated a meeting for her with some female attorneys,” said Maria. “She loved it! Our relationship has allowed her to experience some things she might not have had the chance to experience otherwise, and she has taught me a great deal as well.”
“This is what corporate responsibility is,” she added. “It is about giving back in ways that strengthen current and future generations of youth, because our youth will ultimately be responsible for the well-being of our world, our population and our planet. At Padgett, we want to inspire and challenge other organizations to give back as well. Because when all is said and done, we all want to bring value to the earth.”
Padgett Stratemann is bringing value in a big way as they partner with BBBS. “What we’re really doing is creating a pathway for a better future. Everyone deserves a chance,” said Maria. “BBBS provides us with ways to make a meaningful difference in the world. Partnering with BBBS allows us to provide young people with opportunities that not only change their lives and futures but, ultimately, ours as well.”
In business since 1945, Padgett Stratemann & Co. is dedicated to professional excellence, integrity, and community service. Headquartered in San Antonio, with offices in Austin and Houston, they are one of Texas’ largest, locally-owned CPA and business advisory firms. The firm has recently been named one of the best places to work in San Antonio for the 9th year.