There’s no doubt our city, state, country, and the entire world has gone through unprecedented challenges in recent months. Families right here in Indianapolis are feeling the crunch from altered school schedules, working from home, lost jobs, health crises, and so much more. None of us could have imagined a time like this.
At Compass, we’ve been fortunate to remain open the entire time and keep serving our clients. We’re grateful for our great partners and projects that remained steady despite COVID-19. And instead of seeing the pandemic as a mountain to climb, we chose to view it as an opportunity to adapt, grow, and better ourselves — and even more, to show up for those who aren’t experiencing such fortunate circumstances right now.
We thought about how we could help, and the idea of passing along some good fortune to others through our team came about. We called the new initiative the Compass Pay-It-Forward Campaign. During the week of May 15, when much of the country was completely shut down, we gave all Compass employees some extra cash significant enough to make a difference for someone in need. The rules were simple: give it away. Be generous in our community at a time when many are hurting and scared. Find a family, single parent, church, non-profit, school, or anyone else in need and give them a gift with no strings attached.
Here at Compass, we have a big-hearted staff. It’s what makes our culture strong and our business successful. And because of that, we knew for some of our team members, one donation wouldn’t be enough. So we took the Pay-It-Forward Campaign one more step, and matched additional gifts of up to $1000. Many of our employees took advantage of the match and others donated their time and expertise as well.
The response to the campaign was overwhelming and heartwarming. Stories poured in from our staff who felt so grateful to be able to donate money to a cause or people they cared about during such a stressful time. Here’s what some of our team members had to say:
We gave our money to the pastor of our church with instructions to gift it to a family or two who were in need of help. Turns out, she donated the funds to two men with families who are struggling financially. Later, our pastor sent us a thank you card. Here’s some of what she had to say: “Thank you for your heart of compassion and generosity. And thank you for letting me be the undeserving messenger to two young men yesterday — bearing gifts to them that pretty much knocked their socks off! As I came to explain how they received the gift, they couldn’t stop their tears. Each of them carries heavy burdens of providing for their families with few resources, and this was a ray of sunshine and hope.”
We felt truly grateful for the opportunity to have such a direct impact on someone’s life.
I just want to say thanks to Bill and the partners for putting together the Compass Pay-It-Forward Campaign. At first, I had no idea what to do with this money, but after asking around, I learned about the Hamilton Heights Youth Assistance Program (HHYAP) at my former high school. The program is helping families in the school district who are in need of COVID-19 relief. They were so happy to see a former student giving back. I feel like the money went to a great place! Also, as I was asking around for where to give the money, so many people thought it was really awesome Compass was giving back and looking to help others!
We are fortunate that finding a family in need wasn’t an easy task. But after asking around at my kids’ school, we learned about an amazing family going through tough times. The father works for the health department, and the mom is going to school while working part-time. But she lost her job due to COVID-19. Then their rental home became condemned due to some inspection items the landlord failed to comply on. While waiting to find a new house, they’ve been forced to jump around in short-term housing. All of this with kids on top of a pandemic. But through it all, we’re told this family has been amazingly positive with the best outlook. We really appreciated the opportunity to give back and trust this money went to the right people. So thankful to be a part of what Compass stands for.
We chose to give our $1000 to the Little Red Door Cancer Agency, random acts of kindness to strangers, and a neighbor in need. Little Red Door helps provide critical care services in the community, and will be using the money to help transport patients to cancer treatments. We also did little random acts of kindness like tipping generously and paying for cars behind us in the drive-thru. Hopefully this put a smile on their faces and inspired others to give as well. Finally, we gave a grocery gift card and note to our elderly neighbor who’s been struggling financially. She doesn’t have much family around here to help out, and was absolutely shocked when we gave her our gift. We enjoyed getting creative on how to use our gift, and loved seeing the gratitude of the recipients.
After researching and asking around, we gave to Family Promise of Hamilton County through a donation to our church. Family Promise provides transportation, internet and phone service for e-learning, household and hygiene products, rental assistance, and safe shelter for families impacted by COVID-19. Although we don’t know anyone personally who received the gift, just knowing this could impact one family with relief from bills, food, and bare necessities was a great experience.
In a time of uncertainty and stress, the Pay-It-Forward Campaign put us in a position to ease others’ burdens and lend a hand. It was such a gift to us, too, to be able to respond to the pandemic, economic, and health hardships in such a positive way. Giving back took the focus off of ourselves and our own problems, and allowed each of us to think of others during this tough time. We may have given away money, but truthfully, we received so much back in return.