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BlumShapiro Makes Philanthropy Part of Employee Work-Life Balance

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If you’re looking for a BlumShapiro employee, they might be in the office, where the firm’s specialists provide tax and business consulting to their varied clients. It’s just as likely, however, you will find them running a 5K to raise funds, collecting food donations, helping to build a home for someone in need, or volunteering to teach a class in a local school.

That is the work-life balance of a BlumShapiro staffer.

“We want to be good corporate citizens. It’s good for the company and it’s good for employee morale,” says BlumShapiro Office Managing Partner Carl Johnson. “Our group feels good coming home at the end of the day and knowing: we really did something.”

Founded in 1980, BlumShapiro is the largest non-national accounting, tax, and business consulting firm in New England, with offices in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. In the Nutmeg State, the company’s commitment to philanthropic culture and civic endeavors in and around Greater Hartford has been a driving force since its earliest days.

“I joined the company in 1984 as a staffer, and it was clear then that they really wanted you to get involved in the community,” says Johnson. “As we’ve grown, it’s become part of our setup. For each office we open, we push our employees to seek out nonprofits to support.”

Johnson says that of the firm’s 430 employees, 170 currently sit on boards and committees, with their efforts solidly backed by the company through a specialized fund. The structure presents a win-win scenario for all involved.

“Sponsorships and donations are great, but that type of funding is finite. To support involvement is more impactful because in leadership roles, our employees can help guide the organization, which helps both the organizations and the community,” he says. “Plus, our people gain leadership experience through their involvement. There are positive intangibles from all sides.”

Over the years, as BlumShapiro has grown, so have the company’s community efforts.

Today, partners and staff donate time to over 130 organizations, including the United Way of Central & Northeastern CT, Greater Hartford Arts Council, Boys & Girls Clubs, Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross, and the World Affairs Council.

Annual event highlights include a Thanksgiving Food Basket Campaign in which staffers from the Shelton office collect, pack and distribute holiday meals to 2,500 families and seniors in New Haven; the BlumShapiro Golf Classic, which benefits the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Fund for students pursuing business degrees; and the BlumShapiro 5K to benefit Hartford’s Camp Courant, which provides a free summer day camp experience for more than 1,000 children from the city.

“This year we had 430 runners raise $5,000 for Camp Courant,” Johnson says of the race, which took place in May. “We have a board member who went to the camp as a kid. Some of these kids come back 20 years later to say that the experience changed their lives.”

In addition to supporting causes, BlumShapiro employees are generous with their expertise. Through a partnership with Junior Achievement, dozens of volunteers from their West Hartford office spend a day teaching financial literacy to students at the Webster Hill School. This past May, 40 volunteers taught approximately 180 students.

“The teachers say the kids talk about this for days afterward. We make it fun and educational,” says Johnson. “It’s important, not only because it’s what we’re trained in, but also because everybody has to deal with personal finances, and to move ahead in your career in any organization, it helps. Anything we can do to push that out to the public makes for a stronger community.”

Looking into the future, Johnson says he’d like BlumShapiro to have twelve 100-person offices in New England and to continue to build up client specialties in areas like construction, education, automotive, and government, with an emphasis on the firm’s audit, tax, and consulting services.

“We strategize new locations to be an attractive employer and to be attractive to clients,” Johnson says, adding that each new manager at the company is asked to contribute to the community. “We talk about the overall mission, and what events and efforts are going on around the area. We say: find something you are passionate about and bring it to us.”

View article in Hartford Business Journal Online >>

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