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Business as Usual Means Giving Back in Big Ways

With one of the largest concentrations of philanthropic minds, the Barrington area is rich in generosity. The community spirit here is one of kindness, compassion and duty to others. The Barrington area community has been a breeding ground for powerful nonprofit organizations that set the tone for supporting important local causes and filling local needs – with groups such as the Barrington Community Trust Foundation, Barrington Area Development Council, Barrington Youth and Family Services and many more. Following suit, the business community and BACC members realize that business as usual means giving back in big ways. Here is just a sampling of stories on how BACC members invest in our hometowns.

Serving pets and people is a source of pride at Barrington Animal Hospital

Proudly serving pets and people, Barrington Animal Hospital invests in many community projects and causes.

“We chose this community to develop and grow our business and love to be involved as much as we are able,” said Dr. Barbara Stapleton. A veterinarian and owner of Barrington Animal Hospital, Stapleton bought the 80-year-old business in 1991 with a mission to provide comprehensive veterinary care in an atmosphere of healing, warmth and goodwill.

Over the years, Stapleton and her veterinarians have participated in numerous community outreach projects, educating local students on pet care, offering discounts to local veterans, sponsoring community activities and more. They have provided tours and interactive sessions for Girl Scout Troops, and next school year will offer their first scholarships to Barrington High School seniors. For 25 years, Barrington Animal Hospital has been known for taking stray dogs off the streets, tending to their medical care and placing them in forever homes or reuniting them with families.

Investing in your communities financially and emotionally builds a strong successful business, Stapleton believes. She feels good that investment also often leads to healthy, well-cared-for canine and feline members of the Barrington community.

One of her favorite memories was taking in a 14-year-old dog with bad teeth, arthritis and a heart condition; treating him and finding him a loving home with a client’s elderly father who was grieving over the loss of his own pet. The father had arthritis and a heart condition. “The match was perfect,” Stapleton said. “They lived out their last years taking short walks and their medication together.”

“When we can give back in this way, it’s infectious,” Stapleton said. “Our entire staff gets a feeling of pride.”

Gibbons Plants Her Support Here

Grow where you are planted; that’s the advice and motto for local Realtor Judy Gibbons of Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty. “By supporting our communities, we are actually supporting our families and ourselves,” Gibbons said. “I believe it is always up to us to give back and support others that need our help.”

Gibbons feels one of the most valuable ways to give back is through the gift of time and service. “Time is the most valuable gift you can give. Leading with a giving hand and a servant’s heart is so meaningful,” she said. “The old adage ‘give more than you receive,’ is never truer, and is more wonderful than you can ever imagine.”

With that in mind, Gibbons has become involved in a variety of local groups and causes throughout the years. She served on the North Barrington PTA, was the first Social Media Chair for Relay for Life/Barrington, and has volunteered in the schools as a mentor and coach for the Incubator Class at Barrington High School. Gibbons has also lent her talents and expertise to benefit Barrington’s White House, serving on the committee for the first Oscar Party at the White House. She donates sponsorship resources to the Barrington Children’s Charities and the LaCompte Polo event.

In her spare time when she is not selling real estate, she serves her industry and other women in real estate as a past president of the Northshore-Barrington Board of Realtors, an investor in the Realtor Political Action Committee; as the treasurer for the Chicago Women’s Council of Realtor’s for the City of Chicago; and as the National Focus Chairperson for the State of Illinois Women’s Council.

Gibbons feels this involvement has enriched her life. “When we all work together for a common goal, it’s amazing what can be accomplished,” she said. So choose one thing and get excited about it, she recommends to others. “It makes such a difference in your life.”

That approach has guided her professional approach. “I help people with their largest and most personal possession, and I care deeply,” she said. “My clients are not transactions. They become family.”

Posh Services Gets Personally Involved in the Community

Since opening her business in 2012, Sue Foley has felt a strong obligation to get personal, be involved and invest in the community around her. Her company, Posh Services, is a personal concierge business offering services such as personal shopping, home staging and design, organization, household management and more.

Foley said the Barrington area has a small-town feel, with big-town offerings. “People know each other on a personal level as well as a business level,” she said. “Everyone here is so supportive of one another.”

A local resident, Foley has been heavily involved in the local PTOs as her children have grown up through the District 220 system. She has been an active member of the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce Women’s Biz Net Council, an organization dedicated to gathering professional women to inspire, enrich and empower women in the community. She has volunteered at the annual Hands of Hope Barrington Garden Faire, a fundraising event that brings valuable resources to women and children in Africa. Foley has also been known to support many local causes, offering raffle prizes and free services to better the community.

Building a strong business requires getting to know people on a personal level and getting involved, she believes. Foley is getting involved with the Barrington Area Council on Aging (BACOA), using her life experiences to educate and help others.

When her late father was diagnosed with dementia in early 2010, Foley needed the guidance and support BACOA offers. Now she plans to share her story. “I would like to help others as they walk down this path of the unknown with their loved ones,” Foley said.

Being involved at this personal level is natural for Foley. “You have your reputation, which is everything in business,” she said. “Be reliable, do a good job and always go that extra mile for your clients and the community.”

Stamos Believes a Sustainable Business Embraces Giving Back

Lisa Stamos, publisher of Quintessential Media Group, believes that to run a sustainable small business, you have to participate in the economic health of your community. That starts, she said, with being part of the Chamber and participating and contributing in the community you serve.

That philosophy has guided her since launching Quintessential Barrington magazine in 2005, a publication that has become the mirror of our community. Through the years she has supported many local organizations including the Barrington Junior Women’s Club, the Harper College Educational Foundation, Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce activities, and many more. It’s not uncommon for local organizations to reach out to her as a consultant, troubleshooter, and mentor.

In fact, mentoring is where Stamos feels she has the greatest opportunity to make an impact, and where she receives the greatest reward. During her first year of publication, she started an internship program that has since nurtured 75 students from the Barrington community. The program provides a comprehensive curriculum dedicated to journalistic skills, small business operations, ethics, communications, and life skills.

“We want them to find their voice,” Stamos said. “They learn how to be assertive and competent communicators and walk away with the knowledge of how a small business runs.” As a result, she has helped launch many careers. Her interns have gone on to succeed in college, become lawyers, professional photographers and even a digital editor for Rolling Stone magazine.

Investing in the community in this way came from a personal perspective. As a student, Stamos was accepted into the Kemper Scholar Program with Kemper Insurance. “I was paid every summer and was assigned a different job each year,” she said. She worked in personnel in Atlanta; then, went to San Francisco to work in personal lines underwriting; and worked locally in Long Grove in corporate communications and video. The experience was life-changing, Stamos noted.

“My first intern at our magazine helped me see the real gap that existed between what was taught in college journalism, and what could be learned through our program,” Stamos said. From that point, her goal was to offer a transparent experience with a local publishing company. “We want them to have an honest, humanitarian look at how to run a small business and reinforce good sustainable values – and that leads back to enriching and giving in your community.”

Marquardt Drives for a Cause

As one of the founding families of the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce, Marquardt of Barrington Buick-GMC, Dan and Kurt Marquardt said investing in the communities they serve has been part of their business model.

“At one time our late father, Larry Marquardt, served on the boards of 30 organizations,” Kurt said. Their father was a devout Christian with a tremendous heart for those hurting and less fortunate. When he passed away 15 years ago, the Marquardt siblings, and others, decided to continue his work by creating a nonprofit called The Love of God Foundation, Since its inception they have donated $250,000 to a variety of causes throughout the world and locally to the Barrington Rotary Charities, the Feed My Starving Children campaign, and the Home of the Sparrow.

That giving and investing fits their company culture, the Marquardts noted. “We are customer centric, everything we do revolves around our customer,” Dan said. Not only do they strive to exceed customer expectations, but they also get involved locally and have supported hundreds of causes through the years. “If it is happening in and around Barrington, we have made it a priority to support and contribute,” Dan said.

Their most recent effort is a fundraising program they call Drive4$50. They created the program specifically for ministries, charities, and local nonprofit organizations to earn up to $12,500 in one month with no money out of pocket. For every test drive conducted on behalf of the charity, the group receives $50 for their cause. It’s been widely successful. In fact, the local Booster Clubs have used it to raise over $30,000 for Barrington High School athletics.

“As a business we are mindful of the joy and privilege it is to serve others and to be good corporate citizens, not out of obligation, but rather compassion,” Dan said.

“It’s not about ROI,” Kurt said. “It’s about doing what’s right, caring for those in need, and strengthening our communities.”

Pinot’s Palette Owner Puts Heart and Soul into Painting

Cathie Cook puts her heart and soul into the fundraisers she hosts through her new business at The Arboretum of South Barrington called Pinot’s Palette, an upscale paint studio where customers come to express themselves artistically on canvas, attend sip and paint classes, or just to create a masterpiece.

Cook opened the store to bring art to the masses – whether for a cause, a gathering, or art therapy. “In two or three hours you can create a festive, whimsical and colorful painting while sipping a delicious beverage,” she said.

The concept has taken hold, particularly with local nonprofits looking to support their efforts in the community. “I have always tried to give back to the community as an individual,” Cook said. She formerly worked for a family-owned insurance company that was particularly dedicated to supporting local causes. While there she headed a committee assigned with selecting important nonprofits to fund in the community, those that were meaningful to the employees.

Knowing the importance of that community investment, Cook started hosting a fundraiser a month at Pinot’s Palette, giving a portion of the proceeds back to the community group. Now she schedules five or six fundraisers a month, supporting a variety of causes such as the Children’s Advocacy Center, Rescue Warriors animal rescue, the March of Dimes, Clearbrook, the Leukemia Foundation, and more. She goes beyond just giving up profits to share the proceeds of an event with each organization, she donates raffle prizes, sells raffle tickets, and attends each event herself.

“I love to help other people,” Cook said. “It’s something everyone should do and if you can’t afford to donate resources, then donate your time.” Cook herself volunteers for the Children’s Advocacy Center which advocates for children of abuse and is involved in the Women’s Heart for Healing organization.

One of the most rewarding fundraisers she hosted was an event for a local woman who lost both her husband and son to suicide. The day of the event was her actual wedding anniversary.

“Our fundraisers can be so touching,” Cook said. Another event she hosted raised money for a local girl who needed a kidney transplant, when the girl showed up that night, it inspired everyone.

“I usually end up crying at some point at each of these fundraisers,” Cook said.

Village Tavern Hosts Annual Veterans Pig Roast

One of the longest operating businesses in Long Grove, The Village Tavern, which opened in 1962, has a history of investing in the community in a variety of ways. Its most cherished community giving event is an annual pig roast and concert held each July for 200 to 300 area veterans. They treat the service men and women to a free meal and music to let them know how much their service has meant to the community.

“This is the one charity event that is closest to our hearts,” said owner Mary Ann Ullrich. Her husband, Chip, served as a Marine in Viet Nam. In 2010, he went to the VA hospital to sign up for medical benefits and cancer treatment. When the interview process was complete, the young officer on the other side of the desk said to Chip, “Thank you for serving your country.”

“Chip was overwhelmed and moved to hear those words so long overdue,” Mary Ann said. “On our way home we talked about how much that ‘thank you’ meant, and that he was probably not alone.”

That year they initiated the Village Tavern Annual Pig Roast & Concert as their way to say “Thank you for serving your country.” The event includes all-day music, a kid’s area with games, and great food like roast pig, brats and hot dogs.

Mary Ann strongly believes as business owners and residents of Long Grove, they are firmly invested in the community and have a strong desire to see it succeed. Through the years they have been involved in several other ways. Chip has been a very active member of the Long Grove Lions Club. He also participates in a variety of charity auctions, including raising money to black top the Long Grove Church parking lot.

Mary Ann has served on the Historic Downtown Long Grove Business Association for three years, the marketing organization for the downtown businesses, and organized the Long Grove Farmers Market for five years.

Their involvement has meant a lot to them, Mary Ann noted, especially the annual veterans’ event. “When we do our charity event for the veterans and see the direct effect it has on them, and Chip, it just puts a big smile on your face,” she said.

Local Banks Invest Time, Talent and Resources

Being involved in the Barrington area community is a way of life for employees at Barrington Bank & Trust Co., N.A. (BBT). As a community bank, their dedication is to plant roots here, said Brad Stetson, Chairman & CEO. The goal is to have a positive reflection in the community.

Since joining the bank in 1996 when it first opened its doors in Barrington, Stetson has led by example. Through the years he has served on boards, volunteered and supported a host of causes. He has rallied his employees to be the largest corporate donor for Barrington United Way, setting the tone for philanthropy and service.

“When I talk with our people, I tell them if you want to get involved, do it for yourself, choose a cause you have an interest in,” Stetson said. “We want our staff to be engaged, earnest contributors – not resume builders. We encourage them to do something meaningful to them.” Then, when employees commit to a cause, BBT likes to get behind it.

As a result, the list of organizations BBT and its staff have supported, volunteered for and invested in includes United Way, the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce, Barrington Area Council on Aging, Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, JourneyCare, Harper College Fund, Barrington Area Community Foundation, Wings, Barrington Youth & Family Services, Barrington Lions Club, Rotary, District 220, the Community Meal, and many more. Each year BBT donates $100,000 back into the community. The bank funds the annual Barrington July 4th fireworks display.

BBT fosters their community investment even further by employing over 100 people, most of whom live locally, so it’s in their nature to be involved. “It helps perpetuate the business structure here. You have employees who live here, shop, dine and buy here. It has the compounding effect of creating more sustainable business.”

The satisfaction for the bank, Stetson noted, is the feedback he gets from the community. “There’s nothing better than to walk into an event or even down the street and have someone come up to you to thank you for your support and the involvement of one of our staff members,” he said.

Barrington benefits from the community focus of other financial institutions as well. Northern Trust believes it’s their duty to give back, according to Tom Wischhusen, Managing Director. “We have done so in countless ways – from outright contributions, to board memberships, supplying physical space for organizations to meet, and making available the talents and expertise of our employees to assist community groups,” he said.

That philosophy is part of the bank’s core belief since opening their doors in the Barrington community more than 20 years ago.

Northern Trust has made direct contributions exceeding $500,000 to the community and beneficiaries have included Barrington’s White House, Barrington Area Conservation Trust, Barrington Area Community Foundation, Barrington Broncettes, Barrington Children’s Charities, Barrington Area Council on Aging, Elgin Symphony, Super Sibs, Women’s Club of Inverness, and more. Their staff serves as volunteer directors on a number of boards such as the Harper College Educational Foundation, the Village of Fox River Grove Police Pension Board, the Barrington Area Council on Aging, and the Elgin Symphony.

Community involvement and investment is also a priority for BMO Harris Bank. “Volunteering and community involvement is the heart of the BMO culture,” said Shaheena Khan, Barrington Market President.

“It ties to our promise – we are here to help.” BMO staff are involved in and support a variety of organizations including the Rotary, Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce, Barrington Park District Concerts in the Park, Barrington Cruise Nights, July 4th festivities, JourneyCare, Citizens for Conservation, and more. Each year they invest thousands back into the community.

According to Khan, BMO is known for its high level community investment. “In some areas,” she said, “this deep rooted commitment dates back to 1882.”

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