Throughout 2018, we are celebrating 135 years of meeting every child, every family, where their need is greatest. Doing whatever it takes so children and families can thrive. On May 24, the Children’s Home & Aid community came together in celebration of possibility at our annual Champions for Children Luncheon.

This year we proudly honored Northern Trust as Corporate Partner of the Year. Accepting the award on their behalf was Connie L. Lindsey, Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Global Diversity & Inclusion. We recently sat down with Connie to talk about Northern Trust’s commitment to corporate responsibility and her advice to young professionals looking to give back.

Like Children’s Home & Aid, Northern Trust has a long history as a corporate and civic leader in Chicago. Founded in Chicago in 1889, Northern Trust has partnered with Children’s Home & Aid for more than 60 years through volunteer engagement, board leadership and financial support of our programs. Northern Trust’s commitment to corporate responsibility is not only evident through financial contributions, but by its practice of encouraging employees to become involved with causes they’re passionate about, and providing employee benefits such as paid time off for volunteer work.

We hope you enjoy our conversation with Connie and are inspired to make a difference in your community.

Tell us about someone who’s inspired you.

I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and my mother was my first role model. She was resilient in ways that I think were amazing for the time. We did not grow up with a lot of money or resources, but she was able to instill in us the kind of courage, self-esteem, and self-awareness that allowed us to be successful in our careers and as human beings. She taught us to never allow our ego to take us anywhere that our character couldn’t sustain us.

My mother is my “shero”—always has been and always will be. When we couldn’t take vacation, my mother would have magazines and show us pictures of places that existed in the world. I lived in the library and learned to read, and develop vocabulary, dreams and visions. So much of who I am is born out of my mother as my role model.

Can you tell us about the relationship between Northern Trust and Children’s Home & Aid?

Corporate responsibility at Northern Trust is part of who we are—it’s in our DNA. When we say we are doing corporate-responsible work, there is a strategy around that. Northern Trust supports children, education and social welfare, which at its core is the basis of the work done at Children’s Home & Aid.

It is important for us to invest in work that resonates with our values while allowing us to be agile in addressing pressing needs. We know of, for example, the issue of community violence in Chicago. So we partner and connect with organizations like Children’s Home & Aid to address these issues on a meaningful scale.

Northern Trust’s 62-year relationship with Children’s Home & Aid underscores our shared commitment to the communities where we live and work. Not only in the investments that we have made, but through our employees who have been Children’s Home & Aid board members since the late 1980s. Our employees bring with them not only their own intellectual capabilities but also Northern Trust resources.

We align ourselves with organizations like Children’s Home & Aid to ensure that as we are making investments in the cause and addressing the need—that we really are making positive change. It isn’t just writing checks.

Through our partnership with Children’s Home & Aid, we are making significant investments that are impactful and meeting the needs of our community.

Do you have a call to action for young people who want to get involved in their communities?

No matter where you are in life, think deeply about the causes that matter to you and how you can have the greatest impact. There are three prongs to that—time, talent and treasure.

  • First, go to the organization, volunteer and understand the mission.
  • Next, think about the vision and the strategy of the organization. Are there skills that you bring from work or experience you can contribute?
  • Then consider the financial investment. Nonprofits fundraise and donors like you allow them to continue to create innovative programs and provide the services that matter so much. Think about how you can invest financially in these organizations, it is critically important. No amount is too small.

We invest our time, we invest our talent and we invest our money. All three pieces are critically important for the sustainability of any nonprofit organization. See yourself as essential to that success. Remember change is inevitable, growth is optional. We grow as people when we give. Your time, talent and treasure are desperately needed and there is something each of us can do.