Summer Construction: Rochester CPAs Ramp Up Fundraising to Build Habitat Home

By Deanna C. White

Let's face it  summer brings out the competitive side in most of us  whether we're trying to "slide" into third on the company softball team, grill the perfect T-bone, or win our own personal battle in the ever-elusive quest to be "swimsuit ready" by June.
But the CPA community in Rochester, New York, is channeling its naturally competitive spirit into a much more selfless cause this summer, as they engage in a little good-natured competition for the best of intentions. 
They're trying to see who can raise the most money to break ground on a local Flower City Habitat for Humanity (FCHH) home.
This January, the Young CPAs Committee of the Rochester Chapter of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) launched its 2013 campaign to raise the $75,000 worth of building materials needed to build the Flower City Habitat for Humanity (FCHH) home in the heart of the Rochester community.
The CPA Build campaign officially kicked off January 5 when the Young CPAs Committee hosted a sand volleyball tournament to put out the call for all Rochester-area public accountants to join their fundraising efforts.
Besides tapping into local CPA's grassroots sense of altruism, Matt Taylor, chair of the Rochester Chapter Young CPAs Committee, said the committee felt tickling the naturally competitive nature of CPAs with a little healthy rivalry could only encourage fundraising.
To fuel that healthy rivalry, awards will be given for the most funds raised by an individual fundraiser, public accounting firm (per participant), and sole proprietor.
To date, seven Rochester-area firms have signed on to assist the committee's fundraising efforts in the coming months. 
The committee has raised approximately $3,700 dollars so far, Taylor said. And that was in the midst of tax season.
"The plan all along has been to conduct the bulk of our fundraising after the busy season," Taylor said. "The participating CPAs plan to roll out several new fundraisers in the next two months."
Taylor said summer fundraising will officially launch July 10 at a Young CPAs happy hour designed to bolster even more local enthusiasm for CPA Build.
During the next few months, local firms will tap into efforts that have already been successful, such as the $5-a-pop wear-jeans-to-work days, and the widely popular competitive guest bartending stints where local CPA partners vie against each other to see who can pull the perfect draft at Rochester-area pubs. CPAs and firm members will also engage in a little good-natured competition at upcoming bowl-a-thons and, borrowing a play from the PTA playbook, at old-fashioned bake sales.
Taylor said Rochester CPAs will also tap into their extensive community connections to encourage local businesses to donate to the cause.
Since January, Rochester-based CPA firm Kasperski, Owen, & Dinan CPAs, LLC, for example, has included a link at the bottom of their e-mails to showcase their participation in the fundraiser. Through gentle notification alone, they've already generated more than $1,100 in donations from vendors and customers, said Michelle Towner, CPA, supervisor, for Kasperski Owen & Dinan CPAs.
Through their combined efforts, Taylor said he's more than confident that local CPAs and firm employees, along with matching funds from their firms and the support of local industry, will be able to raise the $75,000 needed to break ground on the home by fall to assist Rochester's FCHH program.
"I think a lot of people like the fact that all the money we're raising in Rochester will make a positive impact right here in Rochester," Towner said. "Our firm is a small firm, and we're very connected to the local community. Our biggest motivator is looking forward to the day we can get out there with that family, pick up a hammer, and help them build their home."
To learn more about the Rochester Young CPA Committee's CPA Build efforts, contact Taylor at (585) 381-7350 or visit the Flower City Habitat for Humanity website
Representing more than 29,000 CPAs, the NYSSCPA was the first state accounting organization in the nation. Incorporated in 1897, the society is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to establish and maintain high standards of integrity, honor, and character among certified public accountants.
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