December 5th, 2019 By Steve Mooney
“Everyone should do a few things for which they expect no reward.” Jack Morton
It’s been 80 years since our company’s founding. A place where I’ve spent almost half my life. While today started like any other — at the office, building brand experiences for some of the biggest companies in the world — this afternoon is different. Twenty-five of us sit with our designated corps members at City Year’s headquarters in Boston, alongside colleagues, painting canvas murals and assembling MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment system) kits for Brighton High and Mozart Elementary School in Boston.
As an agency, we’re committed to making a positive difference in the world – both where we live and work. This attribute is core to our brand, stemming from our founder, Jack Morton, who believed that helping others should be more satisfying than helping yourself. So in commemoration of our 80th year, employees across the globe are volunteering their time during an international day of service.
Making good on our brand purpose
Jack has given me more than a career. This company is family. And days like today remind me of the larger reason of why I’ve spent 27 years here — taking time for something important, and making good on our purpose.
As Managing Director of the Boston office, and Employee Engagement leader, I can’t think of a better way to practice our mission of doing extraordinary things than by taking time to impact kids from underperforming schools.
“I wasn’t so much surprised as I was fulfilled and grateful to have been given the opportunity to be part of making inspirational quotes,” my painting partner Erin Winker said after we finished painting a silhouette of Missy Copeland. “As a lover of words, I believe in the power behind them. I truly hope the murals we painted will make a difference in the lives of the students that walk by them in their schools.”
In the early days, Jack Morton signed celebrity talent as evening entertainment, all the while penning so many of his own inspirational quotes as to become our industry’s Yogi Berra. First and foremost, he worked to make his clients successful. Today, we’re applying those very same values to benefit school children in underserved communities in Boston.
Our CEO Josh McCall is one of the few people who’s been at the agency longer than I have. He kicks off the afternoon’s activities by demonstrating our values of passion, agility and respect with his commitment to City Year, an organization he’s been a part of for the last 30 years.
And as Erin and I paint the inspirational words of Misty Copeland, alongside fellow colleagues painting those of John Wooden and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Doug, our corps coach reminds us all: “It’s not a competition.”
We learn that Doug graduated from Vassar College almost ten years ago, and after seven in the classroom, he’s finishing his second year at City Year before returning to graduate school. “I’m thinking about school administration and policy.” He’s already seen a ton, and has ideas for how to improve the system.
Giving back – around the globe
Jack Morton employees around the world are giving their time to different organizations in celebration of our 80th anniversary.
Box of Hope has run every year since 2008 in Hong Kong
Amidst the confusion that are the protests in Hong Kong, my colleagues there take time to fill packages for Box of Hope, a group dedicated to providing useful and educational gifts to children in need all over Asia including Hong Kong, Macau, Philippines, Cambodia, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam.
In Sydney, a team dedicates a day to explore sustainability in different and engaging ways, working to clear litter from a Sydney Harbor park, enjoying a zero-waste lunch, and building bikes from scratch to give to children.
In London, where Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn debate a fractious exit from the EU amidst another round of terrorist threats, Jack employees take a moment to give back by spending a day with City Harvest collecting and distributing food. And they will support a local women’s refuge this Christmas.
Individually, employees are also dedicating time to personal passion projects. Chris MacDonald and his partner run a non- profit organization (Chop Vietnam) that raises funds for three centers in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Two centers support people living with HIV/AIDS (Orphanage, Hospice & Outpatients Clinic) and another center supports children with mental and physical disabilities.
As part of their fundraising activities, they held a fundraising event in Sydney on Sept 29th that raised over AU $26,160 / US $17,650!
Thank you, Jack
“A good reputation is built on deeds, not promises,” said our founder Jack Morton.
Companies need a shared purpose beyond the work – beyond making money for the sake of making a profit. Organizations like ours benefit from feeling connected to a mission larger than our own worlds.
Around this country and the world, we’re getting a glimpse of that feeling. We’re painting, sweeping, and building – taking part in creating a better future. We’re spending quality time with colleagues and friends, meeting new people and fostering new relationships.
And while many of us are physically separated, we’re all bonded by the knowledge that 80 years is a thing to be celebrated.
I’m a part of the fabric that makes Jack Morton extraordinary. For that, I am grateful.
Jack Morton [left] with his son, Bill Morton [right]
Jack Morton, and his son Bill, would be proud. The company was built on the values of hard work and entrepreneurial spirit – both of which are still vibrant today.
Thank you, Jack — for your spirit and gumption. And thank you Josh, for the opportunity to serve.