The recent holidays put focus on one of the greatest aspects of humanity: everyone seems to be in the spirit of giving and ready to pitch in for the less fortunate. There are numerous food drives, soup kitchens, and toy drives to donate time and money. Most organizations are looking for monetary donations and volunteers. Those of us at West Monroe Partners are no different. In fact, giving back to the greater good is a core value of our firm, and one that is celebrated each and every day of the year. One way we focus on giving back to the community in our 1+1+1 Program. This is defined by giving back one percent of our time, one percent of our talent, and one percent of our treasures.
West Monroe dares each partner to look for inventive ways to help organizations and causes in which they are passionate about. We have accepted the challenge to improve these organizations with our unique skills and talents. Associates have worked with various organizations such as the Taproot Foundation, American Indian Center and the Furniture Bank.
Joel Brock, a Senior Manager in our Bentonville office, was able to work with a group called the Taproot Foundation. They are a non-profit pro-bono consulting firm that seeks professionals who can donate their time and skills. The organization matched him with the American Indian Center of Chicago (AIC), an organization that serves the American Indian population in the city and suburbs. AIC was experiencing rising costs with shrinking revenue and needed help to define a strategy and direction for the organization. Joel utilized his engineering knowledge of work measurement to calculate the staff/volunteer workload per attendee of each program. AIC was able to use his knowledge and experience to determine which programs should remain and which programs had the potential to be reduced. He gave back to the community by using his engineering skills to provide the American Indian Center with data-driven information that can be used to make current and future decisions. This work helped determine what programs still need focus as well as how to properly support the activity.
Another great example of our commitment to social responsibility was one in which I was fortunate enough to participate. I was able to work with Jeremy Tancredi and Kate Fisher to assist a non-profit organization, the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio. The Furniture Bank provides free furniture to central Ohio families and individuals struggling with poverty and other severe life challenges. They want to improve the quality of life and help turn houses into homes. The Furniture Bank helped about 4,000 families in 2014. Their future vision is to be able to help 7,500 families per year. We worked with the Furniture Bank to help them quantify what this vision would look like, what improvements were necessary to achieve it, and what the financials of this vision look like. I was able to use engineering skills such as process flow, cost analysis, and scheduling forecasting. We helped the Furniture Bank to improve their throughput to help more families. We advised layout changes of both their facility and warehouse and helped them understand the cost impact of storing frequently used supplies off-site. We also created a tool to analyze their weekly demand and plan inventory according to the forecast.
Though the vision of 7,500 families is a couple of years away, we provided them with the tools to work towards this vision. We were also able to meet with the Board of Directors to provide knowledge for their current and future assessments so every decision is aligned with their vision. The work completed with the Furniture Bank was recognized by Consulting Magazine’s Excellence in Social and Community Investment Award. West Monroe was one of fifteen consulting firms across the country to be recognized for their work.
Giving back with our knowledge allows us to donate to things that we are passionate about with things that we are good at. Helping these organizations improve their processes and better understand their business will allow them to better use their funding.
“If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish, and he will eat for a lifetime.” ~Chinese Proverb