Every year I give my team something small at holiday time as a token of my personal appreciation for great work done all year long – a gift card or something like that. This year, keeping with the same idea, I loaded up excel and after hours of formulae, realized the team’s total gift would be about $1,000 – nothing to sneeze at.
$1,000 split among everyone was little. $1,000 by itself was large. So I decided this year we would do something different. I called one of our investors, Julie Constantin, and asked her for a recommendation of where to donate the money. Julie and her husband are very involved with charities – helping the V foundation and many others. She immediately suggested The Grace Family Vineyard Foundation, and gave me Dick Grace’s phone number. What happened next was unbelievable.
Dick Grace and I talked and he happily agreed to chat with the entire global sales team live – to tell his stories and explain what they do. The Grace Family runs a vineyard in Napa Valley that’s known for their incredible wines – cult rarities that often fetch tens of thousands of dollars at auction. And all of the proceeds go directly to the foundation. Dick explained that he himself (a man of seventy plus years) and family and friends travel the world helping children and the underprivileged DIRECTLY, using each dime of the foundation’s money to directly impact those in need. Bottles of their wine will sell for $500 in a restaurant, and Dick told us that the same amount of money will feed, clothe, house, and educate 3 people FOR A YEAR. Dick’s stories about helping children attacked by wild dogs, building hospitals and schools, and building libraries for those in need touched everyone in the room.
Dick’s philosophy is simple: don’t JUST donate with your money, donate with your time, your vision, your guidance, and your experience. He offered everyone to join him in a future trip, and I know that multiple people in the room will take him up on that offer. It was a reminder that the divide between those who have and those that need is getting bigger and more severe every day. Dick told us of girls he had helped when they were young just to eat and learn who are now graduating from top universities with careers in medicine and other fields that can give back. It was a reminder that this gesture by a few people in Austin, or anywhere, can change lives. It was a reminder that we have to do a lot more.
The words from Dick (mind you, he’ll immediately state that he doesn’t inspire, merely helps people tap into the good that is already there) encouraged others to add their own donations. My personal donation of $1,000 started an avalanche of giving – by the time we sent them the FedEx the sales team’s additional donations, Brett Hurt’s donations, other executives’ donations, and Bazaarvoice’s totaled over $5,250, a sum that the Grace Family Foundation will use to do far more good than what we’d think it can.
Check out the Foundation’s website and tap into what you’ve got to give. As Dick said, it isn’t just money – time, guidance, vision – all help. It matters.
Happy Holidays from Bazaarvoice Sales.