Municipal Government

Economies Can (and should) Work for Everyone

July 1, 2016 

Westchester County Business Leaders Play an Important Role in Youth Development


By Bill Hohlfeld

White Plains, NY –  A few decades ago all the major companies in this country changed the name of their personnel department to what has now become the norm, “human resources.” Unfortunately, in the case of many companies it was a change in name only, with no real attention paid to the meaning of the words.

More enlightened corporations however, are fully aware that their most valuable resource is their human resource. If we take that logic a baby step further, we come to realize that it is in everyone’s best interest to begin nurturing that resource
sooner rather than later.

So, with a nod to that reasoning, Westchester Children’s Association has announced the launch of its newest initiative, WC4K ( Westchester Companies for Kids) which is designed to connect local businesses with youth development. The primary goal for the group is to engage the business sector with WCA’s mission: to improve the lives of Westchester’s young people by shaping policies and programs to meet their needs, and by keeping their well-being at the top of the public agenda.  WC4K is Co-Chaired by John Tolomer, President and CEO of The
Westchester Bank, and Kevin Bovet, VP of Sales and Business Operations for the Westchester Knicks.

“The Westchester Bank uses a well-known proverb as a guiding principle. That proverb says that ‘the only time one man should be
standing over another is to help him up’,”  said John Tolomer. “When we look at the Westchester Children’s Association, which just celebrated its 100th year, we see the importance of their work in advocating for our children’s health and well-being. We know the fine work they do, and we’re pleased to play a small part in their success. If we can’t advocate for our children, who can we advocate for?”

It was to celebrate its Centennial in 2014, that WCA launched an ambitious campaign to raise $6.5 million, which it exceeded this year.  What makes this accomplishment even more impressive is that all the funds raised were from private donors, foundations and corporations.

Cora Greenberg, executive director of WCA is excited for what this means, “The success of the Centennial Campaign has not only allowed us to grow our organization and bolster our endowment, it also means more individuals, organizations and businesses are supporting our work.”  Greenberg also noted that, “WCA’s work on behalf of young people is only successful when the full community participates, and that includes the business sector. WC4K will help businesses learn about the most pressing issues facing our children, and will be a vehicle through which
they can help address those issues.” Thus far, in addition to The Westchester Bank and the Westchester Knicks, eight other companies have signed on to WC4K as founding members.  They are: Barhite & Holzinger, and Spencer-Adams, Inc, both real estate agencies; Empress Ambulance Service; New York Hospitality Group; Walison Corp., a real estate developer; and Stop & Shop.

Over the years WCA has grown in influence and impact. Its annual Advocacy Breakfast and child advocacy lecture has become an essential event for concerned residents around the county; funding for child and youth programs has been increased by millions of dollars through efforts mobilized by WCA. In the age of instant and constant information, its annual Data Bulletin and Children by the Numbers data blog have become go-to information resources for many service providers, child advocates and policy makers.

In a culture and an economy that so often appears to be both relentless and ruthless, where banks are so often called to task and where sports figures are either over idolized or given free passes for conduct unbecoming, it is a breath of fresh air to see This group come together as stakeholders and as good stewards of our economy and of our children. Kudos to all involved!

Companies interested in joining Westchester Companies for Kids, should contact Betsy Steward, Director of Development for WCA
at bsteward@wca4kids.org or call 914-946- 7676 ext. 303.
For more information about Westchester Children Association visit www.wca4kids.org.

June 30, 2016

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