Illustration by Randall Nelson
2013 Volunteer Hall of Fame: Lynn Casey
Day job: Chair and CEO of PadillaCRT public relations and marketing firm
Volunteerism: The Minneapolis Foundation, Meet Minneapolis, Greater Twin Cities United Way, University of Minnesota Foundation, Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable, Itasca Project
When people think about volunteerism, the image that comes to mind is of someone slipping on a hair net and grabbing a ladle at a soup kitchen. But what if no one knew about the soup kitchen? Enter public relations exec Lynn Casey.
“People in my business are trained to help organizations build relationships with people who are important to their success,” she says. “We have a tremendous opportunity to volunteer because every nonprofit organization needs people on their committees to help build relationships.”
Casey devotes time to local boards and committees for organizations, such as the Minneapolis Foundation and Greater Twin Cities United Way, that support all kinds of nonprofits. She encourages her employees at PadillaCRT to do the same. “To be a well-rounded citizen of the community I live in, I really believe I’m obligated to give back,” she says. “I believe in the ‘give where you live’ philosophy.”
That philosophy is a driving force behind the way her company operates. “We encourage our employees to get out as much as possible into the community to use their skills for good,” she says. “Volunteers can really energize an organization, especially in the social service sectors where the issues seem intractable and there’s never enough money to do the work. The staff is in the trenches every day and can lose their heart. Volunteers take some of that burden and help the organization be the best it can be.”
Thanks to their work, those in need of help know where they can get it, and those who want to help know how they can chip in—whether that’s with a ladle or not.