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Good News for a Change

Although it's been so easy to write about lately I'm taking a break from current events and politics this week, sorry to disappoint. I feel the need to focus on something positive, to remind myself that despite the continuing onslaught of depressing news, there is still a lot of good going on in the world and a lot to be thankful for. It seems like good timing, too, since somehow it's gotten to be November again (the months sure do fly by!) and the holiday season, the season of giving, is rapidly coming upon us.

One of the things that impresses me most, when I stop to really think about it, is the incredible generosity that is all around us. It is sometimes easy to overlook, but pretty much wherever you find need, there is someone stepping up to help. I am proud to say that this is very much the culture at Marcum. Every one of our offices is involved in their community in some fashion, and it's not just the partners, but the staff who are driving much of the effort. And it's something I'm very proud of and want to share.

The Marcum Workplace Challenge is one of the best known of our Firm's charitable endeavors. Some of you may actually have participated on your company teams at this annual run-walk at Jones Beach on Long Island, which raises funds for three Long Island charities. In addition to the 3.5-mile course itself, the event is also a massive annual summer picnic for the companies and organizations that field teams. It is really a sight to behold the virtual sea of company tents covering the grounds.

The Challenge is a highlight of the summer for Marcum in the NY area, but what truly makes it special is that it brings out our people and our community in service of those in need. This year, the Marcum Workplace Challenge officially became the largest marathon event on Long Island. Over 8,400 runners and walkers from 211 Long Island companies, organizations and government agencies participated, and $80,000 was raised for charity, bringing our cumulative total to more than $380,000. The kudos go to the entire Long Island office, which ups the ante every year and never fails to deliver.

The Workplace Challenge may be the most visible example, but by no means is it the only example of Marcum people pitching in. Our South Florida region started their own charitable foundation, which is funded by our employees and partners themselves, through voluntary payroll withholding, as well as through special events. How's that for community spirit? The Firm is proud to match all contributions dollar-for-dollar.

Just a few weeks ago, the Marcum Foundation awarded $74,000 to four South Florida charities. Total disbursements to date top $670,000. All I can say is wow.

Hunger is a recurring theme throughout Marcum's community service efforts, with Boston, Connecticut, Philadelphia and Los Angeles all staging food drives to benefit local food banks. Marcum's Boston office actually has made the largest single food donation to Catholic Charities for the past several years. This fall, our Philly office decided to close one afternoon so the entire staff could help process food contributions at Philabundance, a leading food bank in their market. (I certainly applaud the volunteering, if not the closing, LOL).

Several Marcum offices have also designated their monthly First Friday networking events as a collection point for food donations. This year, our New York City office is using their First Fridays for a Toys for Tots holiday drive. (See? That's two more reasons you should come to First Fridays at Marcum). Our New Jersey offices are also Toys for Tots supporters, as well as Susan G. Komen sponsors (among other causes).

With true New York City up-and-at-'em, not to mention an amazing show of personal endurance, several people from our Advisory Services Division recently volunteered to climb 43 stories of the 245 Park Avenue skyscraper, to help raise funds for inMotion, an organization that provides free legal services to women who are victims of domestic violence. My knees hurt just thinking about it. More impressive in my book, Marcum advisors also contribute pro bono financial investigative services and expert witness testimony to inMotion clients.

They are not alone. Many of our partners and staff across the country serve on nonprofit and community boards and advisory councils, too numerous to mention, where they make a difference by sharing their professional expertise. Some of these are a true marriage between our business and our philanthropy, such as Hedge Funds Care, which combats child abuse. Partners in our Melville, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami and Boston offices are all active with this wonderful organization. It was some job compiling a list of all the nonprofits that benefit from this strong ethic of volunteerism – far too many to name here.

Of course, all of our offices purchase tables and journal ads to support fundraisers (an industry unto itself, I have come to believe). And let's not forget the big charity races where we sponsor teams or the small charity games, such as the kickball tournament that our New Haven office spent the weekend playing to help raise funds for cancer treatment. And in true Marcum fashion, they brought home the trophy!

The point of all this is just to remind myself, and those of you who are reading, that in the midst of all the negative and frequently tragic news blaring from our smart phones, tablets, TVs and radios, there is a huge bright spot. For me, today, it is the impressive efforts of my partners and staff to make the world a better place. They make me proud and I felt like bragging.

I'm sure that each of you, your families and your colleagues are doing as much or more to contribute to your communities and to the world around us. Keep up the great work! We all need the good news.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

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The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Jeffrey M. Weiner and do not represent those of Marcum LLP, its partners or its employees.

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