With these successes, when you look closer at the socioeconomic factors, we are experiencing an achievement gap. It is easy to look at these broad trends and conclude that these problems are too big for a small business or individual to offer much in the way of a solution.
In actuality, the circumstances right here in Boulder County imply a different truth: the best way to influence the trends of Boulder County in a positive way is for small business to take action.
Human nature often leads us to believe that “someone” should take action. However, that “someone” is typically someone other than ourselves. So who is left to take action? Let’s start right here at home, and let’s start right here with small business.
If you are a leader in a small company, you have limited time and limited discretionary funds. Because of this, it stands to reason that we should look to where we are already making a difference. Then we can look for ways to do more of a good thing, rather than try to start from scratch.
If you are looking for a jumping off point, look no further than your Community Foundation and the Boulder County Trends Report. The Community Foundation exists to help improve the quality of life in Boulder, bringing together community leaders and non-profits. The Boulder County Trends Report is an excellent resource regarding Key Performance Indicators in our Community.
For every indicator representing a challenge or an achievement gap in our community, you can likely find non-profits and key leaders making progress. As an example, consider this Key Performance Indicator from the 2014 Boulder County Trends Report: in 2011 the high school on time graduation rate for Boulder County was 90%, and for Economically Disadvantaged Students it was 74%.
The non-profit “I Have a Dream Foundation” of Boulder County provides comprehensive educational support throughout the educational life cycle for children in their program, all of whom are on free or reduced lunch. According to their website, “Ninety percent of the Dreamers in our seven Dreamer classes have graduated from high school.” This may seem like a small sample size, but on a meaningful level, they have closed the gap!
Organizations like the “I Have a Dream Foundation” have grabbed hold of a Boulder County trend, and made a difference. To grow successes like these, volunteer time as well as donor money is always needed.
It turns out that it is good business to offer social responsibility programs: ways to enable people in your company to volunteer.
Interestingly, as Fast Company pointed out, companies with effective volunteer programs lead to employees who “are more likely to recommend their employer to a friend and are more satisfied with their career progression.”
Isn’t it nice when doing the right thing for your community and good business can go together?