A Call to Arms, Legs & Other Body Parts

  • By: Bruce Batti, Fresno Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman and President of JSA

While I’d like to think that my 400 word dissertation would be read before the article to the left of me, I begrudgingly accept the fact that our CEO is a man of significant stature and therefore deserves the coveted inside cover position. Plus it’s in his contract – a somewhat sad fact, but a fact nonetheless.

Now, having read Al’s column, perhaps you get a sense that our elected officials might not be coming to a consensus any time soon regarding how to solve our current state of affairs. I know that you are taken aback by this shocking revelation. I personally am shocked and dismayed.

Point being, as government is forced to fund less and less, the burden to close the funding and services gap is going to fall on the best and brightest minds in our community. (There’s a good chance that will leave me out.)  And while the business community makes a significant community contribution now, chances are that we will need to play an even greater role in the future.

I googled the phrase “community service” (For the life of me, I can’t remember how we found out stuff before Google) and I got this definition:

Community service is a donated service or activity that is performed by someone or a group of people for the benefit of the public or its institutions. (It was sourced from Wikipedia so you know it’s a rock-solid fact.)

The truth is each of us as individuals and businesses need to evaluate how we are contributing to our community. And while it’s a popular political phrase, those of us with legitimate “real-world business experience” need to be lending our given expertise to local non-profit boards, committees, task-forces and other community organizations.

We often fear that getting involved in a non-profit activity will be costly, because it will take time away from our core business. Personally, I think the opposite is true. If we don’t advise, consult and problem-solve for our community, our businesses will also suffer. It really is up to us to make sure that we are cultivating a competitive workforce, a business-friendly environment and providing the services necessary to advance our region.

And there is personal benefit as well, because community service offers a unique sense of satisfaction, in addition to enhancing your business skill set. Let me use my years at the Chamber as an example. The relationships created, the connections made, the business associations formed, have propelled my business forward and made a huge difference to my bottom-line.

Okay, not really. But I’m relatively confident that it’s going to happen. At least that’s what they guy who writes the column to the left promised me.

So please, consider how you can add your voice to the collective intelligence of our community. The need has never been greater for a collective call to arms.

And for those of who need one more reason, consider this. The very first committee I joined was the marketing committee at the YMCA in the late 70’s. There I met a girl named Wendy Hill. Her name is now Wendy Batti and my wife of 25 years. So yeah, community service can act as a dating service.

‘Nuff said.


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