By Deanna C. White
Most people have fantasized and asked themselves, "If I had all the money in the world, what would I do with it?" Some might buy a yacht and travel the world. Others might acquire their favorite sports franchise. Most would probably buy a huge house, a fleet of fancy cars, and kick back for life.
But when Adam Boatsman and his brother-in-law, Dale Gillmore, owners of the Charlotte-based financial advisory firm, Boatsman Gillmore PLLC, played the "what-if" game, they came up with a very different answer. They wanted to help underprivileged children.
"Dale and I didn't have all the money in the world, but we had a marketing budget and we were trying to figure out what to do with it," Boatsman said of the genesis of the foundation. "A year-and-a-half ago, we decided to donate that money to a local charity that helps children."
But Boatsman and Gillmore didn't stop there. "We thought, we really like doing this, so we decided to create a self-sustaining foundation that can help smaller local children's charities that need money but might slip under the radar," Boatsman said.
And so, Make an Impact Foundation was born.
Make an Impact Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, is dedicated to promoting the education and well-being of children in Charlotte and the surrounding area and to making an impact on their lives through both actions and donations.
Boatsman said he wasn't sure what type of response the call for entries would generate when the firm announced the campaign in the local paper and in an e-mail to its clients, but he was pleasantly surprised by the results. "I was amazed at the number and diversity of the nominations and the geographic diversity they represented across the Charlotte area," he said.
Ultimately, however, the foundation had to choose just three finalists: Refugee Children's Relief, Little Smiles, and a local child with Down syndrome.
At its inaugural "Nominate a Project" campaign kick-off event on September 24, Make an Impact Foundation donated $10,000 to Refugee Children's Relief and $10,000 to Little Smiles.
In addition, $6,300 in client and local business donations raised at the event was given to the family of the child with Down syndrome so they could transform their house into an ADA-compliant, wheelchair-accessible home.
According to Boatsman, Refugee Children's Relief, located in Davidson, North Carolina, is a local church organization that offers an outreach program to Vietnamese children and their families who have relocated to the United States. Their special project was to secure a bus to transport children to activities.
Margi Kyle, founder of Little Smiles, says that Little Smiles is a smaller, local version of Make-A-Wish Foundation. The goal of Little Smiles is to provide "anything and everything it takes to put a smile on a child's face, whether that child is in a hospital, shelter, or hospice," Kyle said.
Kyle said she was "absolutely blown away" when she learned the Charlotte-based chapter would receive a $10,000 grant, especially given the fact the charity has only been in existence for two years. Little Smiles is unique in that it works with nurses to meet the needs of children in a hospital, hospice, or shelter to make their stay "less scary" and more enjoyable.
Little Smiles hopes to use much of the grant to buy laptop computers for children in hospitals and shelters – critical to helping them stay in school. "This will give us the freedom to buy those computers without worrying about how much money we have in the bank," Kyle said.
She added that the grant is a particular godsend in this difficult economy when many people and organizations are unable to donate to charity. "This $10,000 will potentially put us on the road map," she said. "It gives us the chance to do pretty big things for the kids that we couldn't do before."
"We're very excited about this opportunity to give something back to the community, in addition to the participation we received from our clients and our friends," Boatsman said. "The entire firm is really looking forward to continuing to make a difference in the lives of some very deserving people in our local community."
Boatsman Gillmore PLLC
provides business advisory and certified public accounting services to support the growth of closely held businesses and individuals. The firm serves clients in a variety of industries, including construction, sports/entertainment, manufacturing, technology, hospitality, and professional services. Boatsman Gillmore has two offices, one in Charlotte Center City and one in Huntersville. The firm's principals and associates share a mission to pay for themselves through services that make a difference in the cash flow, profitability, and long-term value of the businesses and clients they serve.