By Mary Jane Grinstead
For at least a couple of years, there’s been a debate going on at lofty levels between academicians and corporate leaders about whether a corporation can actually deliver on some level of social responsibility and still appropriately serve the interests of its investors and shareholders.
This may be a complicated issue if you are a publicly traded corporation, but if you are a small business—like more than 95 percent of the businesses in the US—and you have heart-felt connections to the community you serve, the decision to act socially responsibly comes a little easier.
Last weekend, Brian Collie, co-founder of State Street Barbers, which is nowhere near State Street in Chicago, opened his heart, his purse, and his Wrigleyville barber shop location, to the Ryan and Jenny Dempster Family Foundation (a Chicago Cubs Pitcher).
A few words on the Foundation. Ryan and Jenny Dempster are a delightful couple with two children, Brady, a hard-charging three year old, and Riley, an adorable, happy, friendly baby, who will be a year old in April. Ryan, who also happens to be a starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, and Brady get regular haircuts at State Street Barbers.
Little Riley Dempster was born with DiGeorge Syndrome, a disorder caused by deletions within the 22q11.2 chromosome. Although there are many different variations of this disorder, the doctors treating Riley have focused most on her ability to feed and swallow. Fortunately, the Dempsters have the love and resources to provide Riley with everything she needs.
Ryan and Jenny Dempster, like Brian Collie and the team at State Street Barbers, are people who walk the talk about giving back personally and financially. This fine young family is directing their resources and celebrity through the recently announced Foundation to shine a light on 22q11.2 deletion.
As Ryan says, they want to raise both research dollars and awareness of 22q11.2 deletion for all the families who are affected by the variety of clinical syndromes that this condition can cause. Implications of 22q11.2 deletion can be mild to severe. Early identification and recognition can make a profound difference in a child’s life.
“Ryan is a longstanding and loyal customer of ours. When we learned of his daughter’s condition and the foundation, we wanted to find some way to help,” said Shawna Carter, State Street Barbers general manager.
So the people at State Street Barbers set up GROOMING FOR A CAUSE, donating last weekend’s revenue to the Dempster Family Foundation.
People were lined up out the door as Ryan signed autographs and posed for pictures. The barber chairs were full. There was a raffle, and in the spirit of full disclosure, I have to report that my husband Phil won a gift certificate to the barber shop.
Did State Street Barbers support the Dempster Foundation to attract more business? Nope. To them, Ryan and Brady are a guy and his son from the neighborhood, and they wanted to honor Riley Dempster in a way that would be meaningful.
Do I think the barber shop will do well as a result of doing good? Absolutely.
Take my husband as an example. Even though he’s been going to the same barber for about forty years and isn’t likely to change, he has already referred State Street Barbers to his son and two of our friends. He plans to find a way to do some business with the shop in the future.
I just hope that doesn’t mean he’s going to grow a beard!
Has your business found ways to do well by doing good?