Engaging Your Community

Engaging Your Community
Photos courtesy of Footprints Floors

Beginning as a local, Denver-based flooring company in 2008, Footprints Floors has grown to a national brand, spanning 35 states with more than 80 franchise locations during the last five years. Recently, in response to the incredible growth that the company has experienced, CEO Bryan Park felt the time was right to start giving back in a bigger way to his local communities. The result was the creation of the Footprints First Fruits Fund, a charitable fund specifically created to support faith-based, nonprofit organizations seeking to serve families in need in the Denver area. I serve as one of the primary fund advisors, and a big part of my job is to develop relationships with local nonprofits and find ways that the company can be a blessing to them, both financially, through the First Fruits Fund, and by Footprints Floors employees generously giving their time and talents to serve as well.

Community engagement is a topic that tends to be headlining media outlets the world over, but what does it actually mean to engage your local community? While making an impact in your local community can be a joy and privilege, it also can be argued that it is more than that. Impacting your community as a force of positive change also is a social responsibility. From donating money, services, or products to local nonprofits, community groups, or churches, to offering up your time through volunteering, coaching, or mentoring opportunities, engaging your community can take many forms.

One of the major benefits of being a small business owner is that you become a leader within your community, and as a result, you have a direct impact on your local community. You, along with hundreds of other business owners in your towns or cities, make up a large portion of your community’s economy, as well as have a role in shaping the culture from one neighborhood to the next.

One of the ways Footprints Floors is trying to make a social impact is first, by trying to influence and change the flooring industry as a whole, and second, by engaging and supporting local nonprofit organizations that share the same values as we do as a company. As a service company, understanding that we serve the people in our community means we place a high value on integrity, honesty, and communication.

In addition to caring through our business and service, Footprints Floors corporate also has created the First Fruits Fund. After spending time at the executive level discussing our values, vision, and purpose as a company, we found that what Footprints Floors is truly passionate about is seeing families cared for (and, if necessary, restored), hurting people healed and thriving, and working toward a world where things like extreme poverty aren’t forcing families into dire straits.

With these goals in place, we have committed to giving back 25 percent of our profits to local faith-based nonprofit organizations caring for families, at-risk youth, and fighting the orphan crisis worldwide. Some of those organizations are Open Door Ministries, Hope’s Promise, Joyful Light, World Orphans, and others. While we are not limited strictly to faith-based organizations, we typically do choose to partner with Christian organizations that are doing this work because we believe that doing those things in conjunction with the gospel of Jesus Christ being shared is what really makes a difference in this world.

When deliberating how you as a business owner can get involved in your local communities or what causes you want your business to support, take some time to truly develop your company’s purpose and values. What legacy do you want your business to leave behind when you are gone? When you have those values figured out, stick to them no matter what, treating them as guideposts along the road of business, letting them lead in every decision you make. After that, find like-minded organizations or groups devoted to the same values you share, and reach out to them. Sit down, have a meeting, and listen to what they are doing and their needs. Sometimes just knowing that a person or business cares about what they are doing is of huge value to them, even if you don’t get involved.

Then, once you have a better understanding of the needs, figure out the best way to help. Is it writing a check? Do you or your staff have special skills or talents you can offer up to help the community? Will you mentor youth or help young entrepreneurs in their journey of discovering their business models?

Whatever it is, remember that we do not live in a vacuum, but that our lives are interwoven with all those around us. The impact you have and the legacy your company leaves behind are in your hands. Make the most of it, get dug in, and get involved. While it might require some sacrifice and time, effort, and cost, you will never regret giving back to something that you are passionate about. I am reminded of a quote by Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

Jon Jarvis is the director of franchise onboarding and training for Footprints Floors, which is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. He can be reached at jjarvis@footprintsfloors.com.

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