By Jolene Risch
As a society, we battle prejudice and discrimination based on race, sexual orientation, age, and religion on a daily basis. We are reminded of our humanity through social causes, the arts, museums, historical points of interest, and each other. To thrive as a business community, it is incumbent upon us to recognize there is much work to be done in the mission to empower all people.
One way that businesses can foster acceptance, moral and ethical responsibility, and goodwill is to support causes that have, at their foundation, the goal of equality and acceptance of all people. One such organization that demonstrates these qualities is the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance. If you consider the fact that there are 939 active hate groups in the United States, and also state-sponsored genocide in Syria, Iraq, North Korea, and South Central Africa, you can see the extreme need for education to combat intolerance. As such, I strongly encourage businesses to join the Holocaust Museum as a demonstration of their company’s advocacy for inclusion, tolerance, and diversity.
I have the distinct honor of being involved with the Dallas Holocaust Museum and recently participated in Hope for Humanity Dinner, a fundraiser designed to raise capital for general operating funds to help with our day-to-day operations. The Mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings, was honored this year at the dinner and he spoke about the importance for the City of Dallas to support the construction of a new building to house the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance. The additional space will be dedicated to exhibits showcasing how we can leverage the knowledge and lessons from the atrocities of the Holocaust to impact civil rights, bullying, bigotry, and discrimination. I believe this connection between understanding history and applying it to modern day issues is key to making our business community thrive.
Support Showcases Values
The Dallas Holocaust Museum was founded in 1984 in the basement of the Jewish Community Center of Dallas. It moved to the West End in 2005, however, with 72,500 visitors each year, the demand has outgrown the limited space, and it can’t accommodate larger, more compelling exhibits or adequately store archives. The new museum will be able to accommodate 200,000 visitors annually, and will include, among other things, a special exhibit space for traveling exhibits, library and archives, and a state-of-the-art 250-person theater.
Because I believe in the mission of the museum, I want my company to be actively involved in its evolution. How does your company support the causes you believe in? As an executive recruiter, I can tell you that your answer to this question is critical to hiring and retention. In the article, “The Importance of Core Company Values in Hiring and Retention,” the author explains that defining company values and hiring people who demonstrate similar beliefs will not only lead to increased engagement, but it will also improve your company culture and morale.
Starting with the executive team, be sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to company values. Define those values and share them with every employee. Use those values when making hiring choices. The values should be embedded in the company culture, and demonstrated through activities, donations, and other means of support. Participate in causes that are close to the heart, and in the process, you’ll help to strengthen the company—and the community at large.
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