Giving back intersects all aspects of Manchester and Portsmouth accounting firm
Manchester, New Hampshire – In 2015-2016, employees from Howe, Riley & Howe donated more than 750 hours and $4,500 to local nonprofits and charitable organizations throughout the Granite State as part of the voluntary giving back program. With Thanksgiving approaching and the holiday season ahead, there’s no telling where the final tally will land, but according to the HRH team, the numbers only tell part of the story.
“Year after year, we’re impressed by the kindness, generosity and commitment to community from the employees at Howe, Riley & Howe,” said Donna Wageling, a principal at HRH who notes the company works with up to 10 organizations a year, not including the time and effort employees spend working on civic boards. “It’s how we thank the communities that support us and how we demonstrate our respect and dedication to our neighbors and friends.”
The firm offers flexible schedules and sponsors employees to participate in cultural and professional development initiatives, which broadens the reach of HRH’s efforts. A volunteer committee, composed of HRH staff members, was formed in 2012 to coordinate the firm’s philanthropic efforts. Since then, HRH has helped dozens of organizations through not only monetary donations, but also through volunteer time, formalizing its deeply-held value to give back. Aside from an ongoing relationship with Families in Transition, each year the firm also organizes a holiday fundraiser focused on helping less fortunate families and children with items to make their holidays special.
In past years, HRH and its employees have donated toys, clothing, grocery store gift cards to help pay for a holiday meal, and department store gift cards for the necessities needed throughout the year. For a more personal touch, employees also participate in a fundraiser that allows them to “adopt a child” or “adopt a family,” so they can truly localize their support.
The rest of the year’s charitable activities and giving are determined by employees via the committee.
“We try to vary the organizations we work with every year and raise awareness for the lesser-known groups that aren’t always able to secure the large sponsorships,” said Lynne Westaway, a partner at HRH. “On top of that, some people are involved in rotary, nonprofit boards, and serve in some capacity for professional organizations such as the NH Society of Public Accountants and its various committees, or represent HRH at events and outings.”
Just last month, HRH CPA Jason Gagnon was elected to serve as Treasurer for the Manchester Young Professionals Network , and the company delivered 23 backpacks to Child Health Services in Manchester at the beginning of the school year to help students in need. The firm’s new office in Portsmouth also introduced HRH to the Seacoast chapter of End 68 Days of Hunger, a nonprofit that sends school-aged children in need home from school on Fridays with enough food to feed their families for the weekend. The firm’s 50 employees and their families contributed food items, totaling four boxes and several bags of essentials. The committee also accepts $5 donations every Friday from employees who wish to depart from the firm’s business casual norm and wear jeans, and then collects input from all regarding which organization should benefit. Past recipients include food pantries, animal shelters, domestic abuse shelters and others.
But whatever the organization or donation, HRH’s employees agree that the emphasis on giving back benefits everyone.
“When we’re out in the community, connecting with people and understanding what is happening outside the world of our office and accounting industry, we see what really drives business, culture, and keeps our community strong,” Wageling said.