Our company tagline “Invest Wisely. Live Fully.” is centered on a healthy balance between work and life. This includes working passionately to better our clients’ investments as well as our community as a whole. For 2011, our company gave each employee 100 paid hours to do volunteer work during company time. When I heard that, I immediately realized the seriousness of this commitment. This was no token gesture; this was a real pledge to improve the community outside the walls of Merriman.
Spearheaded by our Client Experience Director, Elaine Scoggins, an ever growing group of Merriman employees has been volunteering one Friday of every month with Habitat for Humanity at the Rainier Vista location in South Seattle, a generally lower income area. Habitat works in partnership with people everywhere, from all walks of life, to develop communities with people in need by building and renovating houses using volunteer labor, donated land, and donated materials. After making a down payment and contributing 500 hours of “sweat equity” on the construction of their home, families are given the keys to their new house with a no-interest mortgage, funded by Habitat. Families are selected based on level of need, willingness to become partners with Habitat, and ability to repay their loan.
Our current work to build a group of four houses encompasses many different tasks, from shoveling gravel to moving lumber to hammering nails and everything in between. This being Washington after all also means that we have experienced a variety of conditions, including heavy rain, bitter cold, and even a few sunny days that you can see in our pictures. Naturally, this is quite a departure from our daily work in a climate controlled high rise office. Starting literally from the ground up, Merriman staff has done whatever we could and whatever was needed to turn dreams into reality for these families.
What is the end game of all of this labor? Four low income families who have never owned a home will get a chance to experience the safety, the security, the sense of place and belonging that many of us take for granted.
This has been a rewarding and positive experience for all of us, and we look forward to going there once a month until Rainier Vista’s scheduled ribbon cutting ceremony in December!