When I was a kid, my mom used to let me skip school on my birthday with her and we would go together and work on a house for Habitat for Humanity or help out at a soup kitchen or food bank as what we called my “birthday gift back to the world.”
I think that it was a great thing for my mom to instill in me from childhood, the importance of giving back to the community.
It’s a quality that I have strived to bring with me into every business I’ve worked for over the course of my career, and what I didn’t know all those years is that I was contributing toward a special growing sector of the business world that is now referred to as “Conscious Capitalism.”
At my first real job in college, I sold used cars and volunteered for the Kirksville Humane Society, so I brought together the two for my first PR event – Puppies, Kittens and Cars. My dealership gave a voucher for $250 off a used car for any pet adopted or 50lbs. of pet food donated to the Humane Society. Since the shelter was way out in the boonies, I got the Truman State Alpha Gamma Delta Sisters to bring puppies and kittens out to the dealership and supervise them for the day so that people could come adopt them at our lot on the town’s main street.
Now, some 13 years later, I have joined Studio Movie Grill as a member of the Outreach team and am excited to announce that they are actively practicing Conscious Capitalism, so I feel like I am continuing my birthday gift to the world in my new role. When we opened our newest theater in Duluth, Georgia, we did some amazing charitable events to mark our Grand Opening.
We had a Toys for Tots event with Gandalf and the Hobbits available to wrap holiday gifts for people who donated a toy, and we did a big jail dogs event with a James Bond screening where we invited the Duluth shelter to sell dog biscuits to raise funds for their efforts and donated an auditorium, staffing and 100% of ticket proceeds to a special advance screening. We also worked with 11Alive to do our “Cans Film Festival,” to collect canned goods for the local food bank.
But Duluth isn’t the only location where we’ve done fun things like this. We strive to do them at every location. Each theater manager is challenged to do a charitable event of their choosing every quarter. Our Wheaton location recently partnered with Relay for Life and donated 97% of the proceeds from a special screening of Lincoln to the American Cancer Society.
We can’t always do big events because we still have dinner-and-a-movie theaters to run, but we keep outreach constantly on our minds, and we strive to do something every month. Our most popular recurring outreach event is our Special Needs Screenings, when we invite parents of kids with autism and other special needs to come see a first run film at which the child and his or her siblings get in for free, which encourages families to attend together. If you’d like to learn more about our Special Needs programs, you can find the information on the Family Page of the SMG Website www.studiomoviegrill.com.
As we begin 2013, we have a new year and a new location preparing to open, so I can’t wait to participate in our next birthday gift to the world in a new city and state and practice Conscious Capitalism .