Firms give, receive just as much | nnbusinessview.com

Firms give, receive just as much

John Seelmeyer
jseelmeyer@nnbw.biz
Santa watches as staff members of NAI Alliance, their children and grandchildren wrap gifts for the Holiday Help program of Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows.
Photo courtesy of NAI Alliance |

All around the Truckee Meadows, workers and their families gathered in the past 10 days to wrap Christmas gifts for distribution to the families in need through the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows.

From the offices of Great Basin Federal Credit Union and Employers to The Abbi Agency, NAI Alliance and the Old Navy Outlet store, folks with generous hearts made sure that the holidays won’t leave sad memories in homes around the region.

But Mike Wurm, the chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Club, has a secret:

While all those gift-buying, gift-wrapping professionals think they’re helping some of their neighbors, they’re helping themselves, too.

The Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows relies heavily on the support of businesses and business owners to generate the $6.6 million annual budget that serves about 11,000 young members participating in activities at 20 sites.

Wurm says it’s difficult to nail down the exact contribution of business — business owners give as individuals, while their companies’ donations are counted as corporate gifts — but the nonprofit estimates that somewhere between 15 and 20 percent of its budget is generated by business donations.

Companies such as Computerland, McDonald Carano Wilson Q&D Construction Lepori Construction, Loose Pools & Spas and Microsoft Licensing, meanwhile, provide just about any kind of support the club needs throughout the year.

The nonprofit doesn’t raise money by pleas of poverty. What thinking businessperson, Wurm asks, is going to support a program that claims it’s on the verge of collapse?

Instead, the Boys & Girls Club builds business support by positioning itself as a subtle partner to individual business people as well as a player in the development of a better economic future.

“We have a strong board, and we use their business savvy,” says Wurm.

The 32-member board headed by Caesar Ibarra of Muckel Anderson CPAs is dominated by business leaders, but they leave business at the door of the boardroom.

“You don’t come into the boardroom and hand out business cards,” says Wurm. “Our mission is above all else in the board room.”

On the other hand, board members and executives know that Boys & Girls Club fundraisers such as its wildly popular annual cippino feed and auction provide valuable networking opportunities for business people and community leaders.

“I’ve heard it called the No. 1 networking event in town,” says Wurm.

And adult leaders of Boy & Girls Club know that events such as Holiday Help create excellent team-building opportunities for participating companies.

Then there is the matter of good values.

Key to the mission of Boys & Girls Club, Wurm says, is development of a good work ethic and goal-setting among its young members.

“We try to teach those old values,” Wurm says. “What employer wouldn’t like that?”

And the club teaches another set of old values as well — the values of community spirit that inspired old-line businessmen such as Tom and Jack Reviglio of Western Nevada Supply.

Says Wurm: “This community in Reno has a high expectation that if you are going to do business in the community, you need to give back to the community.