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Volunteering on Long Island…Benefits Abound

Oct 2, 2013

Since 2009, EisnerAmper’s community service organization, EisnerAmper Cares, has sponsored dozens of projects from hospice care to feeding the homeless to home re-building after natural disasters.  The firm makes these opportunities available to its employees during working hours, and hundreds of us have enthusiastically taken part bringing truly needed assistance to many community service organizations and those in need. 

We’re not unique in working in our communities – many companies sponsor similar efforts. However, we want to discuss this here in Eye on LI because of the immediate, tangible benefits that result, as well as the added intangible benefits that accrue to the volunteers themselves. The program works for us and perhaps our story can inspire others to get involved.

In September, two EisnerAmper Cares Volunteer Week Days took place on Long Island and reflect the varied nature of the program. Here’s a brief recap.

Fourteen EisnerAmper employees chose to help out at an organization called Splashes of Hope, based in Huntington, Long Island. Splashes of Hope is dedicated to transforming the environments of hospitals, health care institutions, and social service facilities with hand-painted murals. The artwork is used as a therapeutic distraction technique in pain management. 
Our volunteer day included tasks such as priming and moving panels for the murals, along with moving furniture and supplies.  But there was much more. The organization also asked for our help in doing some office work, including researching possible grants they may be eligible to receive.  In addition, we helped set up mailing list spreadsheets and composed general donor and sponsor letters. We helped stuff envelopes and prepare printed material for distribution to potential donors.
Next up: eleven EisnerAmper employees headed out to the Atlantic Beach area on the South Shore to help with the All Hands Volunteers organization in its effort to help rebuild Long Island from the destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy. All Hands Volunteers is a U.S.-based not-for-profit organization that provides hands-on assistance to communities around the world, with maximum impact and minimum bureaucracy. Their mission is to provide immediate, effective, and sustainable support to communities in need by harnessing the energy and commitment of dedicated volunteers. Even as we approach the one-year anniversary of Sandy, there is still so much rebuilding that needs to be done. 

Our volunteer efforts included helping to rebuild two homes that were destroyed by the storm. The group of employees was split up into two project teams.  One team worked to help build a deck while the other team helped build the subfloor, install insulation and lay down flooring.  This was especially gratifying to many of our staff as they also had their homes badly damaged by this same storm.

What really matters? In both these efforts, working conditions were much different than a typical day at the EisnerAmper offices – and that is part of the value that comes to to us as a sponsoring company.  Employees arrived in work boots and swapped their calculators for hammers and power tools. Real, measurable results were achieved but something more, too. Members of our community were served but so were our employees. Each volunteer effort required hours of pre-planning, scheduling, staffing, project and time management – skills that carry over to the requirements at work that our employees are expected to accomplish every day. Community service is deeply appreciated by those we serve but its value is felt in many ways and has become an integral part of the EisnerAmper culture.

We’d be happy to provide further details to Long Island companies interested in starting up their own programs. Find out more about the EisnerAmper Cares program.

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Christine Gagnon

Christine Gagnon is an Audit Partner and a leader of the Florida Life Sciences and Technology Group.

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