by Ashley Tinstman
In the days since the tragedy in Orlando, our city has experienced immense pain, sadness and shock. But in spite of our grief, we’ve also experienced something positive—incredible strength and resiliency. As we collectively come to terms with what took place in the city we call home, the outpouring of love and support has been absolutely inspiring.
While local citizens have come together to give blood, donate money and volunteer their time, the response from dozens—if not hundreds—of companies, both large and small, has been equally as impressive. Just a quick Google search will yield countless stories highlighting various companies and how they’re supporting the community.
Take JetBlue, for example. As has been widely reported, the airline is offering free seats to and from Orlando for the immediate family members and domestic partners of the victims. The company also made a $100,000 donation to the OneOrlando fund. Similarly, Comcast NBCUniversal, parent company of Universal Orlando Resort, generously donated $1 million to the OneOrlando fund.
In the hours following the tragedy, Publix quickly mobilized to hand out free food, water and ice to first responders and others affected by the shooting. UnitedHealth Group also showed extraordinary support by opening its mental health counseling help lines to anyone in need—whether they had insurance or not.
I could go on and on with dozens more examples—and that doesn’t even include the many bars, restaurants and local businesses holding fundraisers. But my point in sharing all that is this: It’s good to see companies doing good. But giving back and supporting a community shouldn’t be a temporary thing. It should be a way of life in business.
After tragedies such as this, it’s easy to come together, donate your resources and then go back to business as usual. But “doing good” should be part of your company culture—all year long. And I’m not talking about writing a few checks to a worthy cause out of obligation. This is about creating a culture where it’s a natural part of your business on a regular basis. Not only will those you support benefit from it, but so will your employees, your reputation and, ultimately, your brand.