June 23, 2017

Giving Back

Giving Back

There was an op-ed article in the New York Times this week by the editor of Inside Philanthropy magazine, David Callahan, about how super-sized philanthropy by the 1% of the 1% is changing the shape of society. He worries that, however well-meaning, eight- and nine-figure giving to make up for government budget cuts in areas like education and medical research inevitably produces systemic change (and promotes private agendas), without the consent or participation of the public. But I guess if you’re willing to write that large a check, perhaps we should listen to or embrace your agenda, or alternatively, decline the money.

Now, I’m not going to debate the pros and cons of mega gifting, but I will say that I admire anyone who’s willing to put his or her money – or time – where their mouth is to help their community. In today’s high-pressure world, our time may actually be the more precious resource; but of course, community organizations seriously need our financial support as well.

That’s why we created the Marcum Foundation and structured it in a way that lets all Marcum associates participate, if they so choose, to help the communities where our Firm does business. It’s two years this month since the Foundation was launched as a national initiative. I’m proud to say that every Marcum partner has stepped up, and a growing pool of other team members in all Marcum offices have joined in as well.

Our next big Foundation activity is the annual Marcum Workplace Challenge on Long Island, which takes place July 25 this year. The Challenge is a run-walk for charity at Jones Beach, which has raised more than $700,000 to date for four great local nonprofits. I hope those of you reading this who are on Long Island have company teams participating and will be joining us for the fun and festivities (for registration and sponsorship information, visit (www.marcumworkplacechallenge.com). We will be adding a second version of this very popular event in Philadelphia in September.

Increasingly, charitable giving is a component of many Marcum events. At last week’s Marcum MicroCap Conference, for example, $10,000 was donated in the name of the Marcum Foundation to Help for Children to support child abuse prevention and treatment.

We also have two ongoing programs that raise charity funds year-round – a voluntary planned giving program and monthly Jeans Days. Marcum associates raised almost $286,000 for community organizations through these programs in 2016.

Not being a shy bunch, Marcum people are also among the first to raise their hands and give their time when the need arises, through collection drives of every description, charity walks, board service, and many other activities. Part of my own give-back is serving on the board of the Nassau County SPCA on Long Island, which is also a beneficiary of the Marcum Workplace Challenge.

The biggest investment of time we make as a firm, however, is the annual Marcum Day of Service on Thanksgiving eve, when we close all of our offices and spend the day volunteering. Without fail, it’s a great exercise in team-building as well as community-building. This year’s Day of Service activity will be announced soon – not to rush the summer or anything, but turkey day will be here before we know it.

Marcum may never achieve Rockefeller-level giving status, so Mr. Callahan probably doesn’t have to worry about us. But we’re proud to do what we can, and I’m proud to be part of the Marcum team.

I hope to see many of you next month at Jones Beach. Have a great weekend, everybody.