November 29, 2012
Last night, we enjoyed a bit of time in the spotlight as Fast Horse was named one of 12 Minnesota companies to receive a Jefferson Award, which is a national corporate giving honor created in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
The ceremony, sponsored by the Mpls/St. Paul Business Journal, took place at the Headquarters Restaurant at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
The Jefferson Award recognizes all we do to make the Twin Cities a better place to work and live. Frankly, we’ll go to great heights to make a difference in our community. Okay, well, Bob Ingrassia will. More on that later. The rest of us prefer our charitable endeavors to take place a little closer to the ground.
Community service is hard-wired into our culture here at Fast Horse. It has been from the very beginning. In fact, if you add up all the pro bono time this company has put into the community over the past decade, it totals over $500,000 in professional staff time. This year alone, we’ve done pro bono work for a wide variety of non-profits, including:
• National Marrow Donor Program
• The Minnesota Beatle Project
• The Wilder Foundation
• Indian Health Board
• The Arc
• Jefferson Center
• Linden Hills Farmers Market
What we do best is often what non-profits need most: Awareness among and engagement with the people who matter most to them. These non-profits do great things with very limited budgets, and our ability to help shine a light on the important work they do not only makes a meaningful difference to these organizations, but it also makes a meaningful difference to us.
There is not a person here who does not in some way contribute to the efforts listed above. But our community involvement does not end with the pro bono work we do here. Our staff is deeply committed to the community long after the workday ends. So, while we continue to celebrate the the collective difference we make in the community, I also wanted to call out some of the most recent individual contributions Fast Horse staff are making in the community:
• Board Member and Communications Chair of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Twin Cities
• Volunteer editor-in-chief for Pollen’s website BePollen.com
• Volunteer executive director for Paper Darts
• Committee volunteer for Minnesota Council of Nonprofit’s Technology & Communications Conference
• Serves on the Promotions Committee for the annual Arc Gala, benefiting The Arc Greater Twin Cities
• Volunteered with Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota to plan and execute multiple Cocktails for a Cause events, an exciting new event concept designed to attract a new generation of volunteers and donors
• Serves on promotions committee the Coffee House Press, which is a terrific non-profit literary press
• Served on Board of Directors of ACES, and after school mentoring program
• Participated in U of M Journalism School Mentoring Program
• Guest speaker at Bethel, Metro State University and University of Minnesota
• Teaches college readiness to inner-city high school students through Achieve Minneapolis. The goal is to try to get them to graduate and go on to some form of higher education as a pathway out of poverty.
• Member of Common Thread’s associate board in Chicago. Common Threads’ mission is to educate children on the importance of nutrition and physical well-being, and to foster an appreciation of cultural diversity through cooking.
• Volunteer with Open Arms of Minnesota, which prepares and delivers meals to make life easier for people with life-threatening illnesses
• Volunteers with Invisible Outfit, a local collective of artists, stylists and producers dedicated to cultivating and promoting local creative talent and The Moving Company, a society of artists creating art
• Volunteer speaker and panelist at University of Minnesota
• Board member of Franconia Sculpture Park, which encourages innovative public art through a variety of programs for competitively selected artists-in-residence — as well as an extensive array of educational and just plain fun activities geared toward children, families and the community at large
• Volunteer as a motorman and conductor for the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, more popularly known as the Linden Hills Trolley
• Judges a high school fiction writing contest sponsored by the White Bear Center for the Arts
• Serves on the board of directors for the Minnesota Land Trust, a non-profit that protects the natural and scenic heritage of our state
• Serves on the Board of Directors of Cornerstone, which seeks to prevent domestic violence using advocacy and education, since 2006
• Serves as a trustee for the Stillwater Public Library
Which brings us to Bob Ingrassia. Bob serves on the board of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which provides college scholarships and operates the Leadership St. Paul educational program. But this year he went to even greater heights to serve the community when he served on a committee that persuaded dozens of people to rappel from the top of a skyscraper in downtown St. Paul.
Bob helped organize the Double Dog Dare, a fundraising event that benefited the Northern Star Council, Boy Scouts of America. Anyone who raised $1,000 in pledges got to go off the wall of Ecolab Corporate Center. Bob helped with marketing, promotions and public relations for the event, including the production of a heart-pumping teaser video.
All that, and he actually got up the gumption to repel down the skyscraper himself.