Ashley Dean: Doing the Most Good

At The Child Center of NY, we simply wouldn’t be able to provide the same level of service were it not for the generous support of donors at all giving levels.  Part of the challenge we — and all non-profit organizations — face is how to engage and maintain engagement with millennials, who often feel removed from the tangible results their philanthropic efforts might yield.  Younger people may give less money, perhaps because the amount they can spare is a proportionately greater share of their assets and income.  But they give thoughtfully and strategically, and their gifts make a big difference.

Ashley Dean, an audit associate with KPMG’s Asset Management division, is only 25 years old. But having grown up in a poor, “socially oriented” family, she already knows the intrinsic value of giving back.

“Immigrant parents tend to push education as a means to break the cycle of systemic poverty. But they also push the ideal of not forgetting from where you came, which often manifests itself in the form of community involvement. I believe we should do the most good with whatever it is we have,” said Ashley. “When I finished college, I immediately starting asking what I could do to help.” That’s when her brother, Jaime Angarita, introduced her to The Child Center of NY.

Last fall, Ashley found a niche in her company’s existing divisional structure and was able to get her entire alternative investments practice on board with a toy drive for the holidays. KPMG became The Child Center’s #1 toy drive sponsor, donating funds or toys for nearly 250 children. She noted that younger people in her division hadn’t previously been as involved at this level, in most cases, because “poverty, and what each of us can do to help, is simply not a common workplace conversation in Finance/Accounting.” However, as Ashley became the go-to contact for KPMG’s employees’ individual (and encouraged) philanthropic efforts, she learned to “work it” at happy hours and other events, approaching colleagues on a social level before asking them to participate in fundraising.

“There were a few years where the only Christmas presents we received in my home were from toy drives like the one organized by The Child Center of NY,” Ashley explained further.  “I can’t tell you how rewarding it was for me to help other kids find some joy at the holidays.” Her goal is to have the drive expanded this year to other divisions in the New York office.

And Ashley’s next project was even more successful. Piggybacking off the KPMG “Families for Literacy” effort, she helped direct nearly $13,000 worth of books – 5,006 volumes and counting – to The Child Center’s Youth Development and Early Childhood Education programs.

“We are beyond grateful to KPMG for their VERY generous donation of thousands of books to our youth and families!” said Nicholas Ferreira, Child Center’s Vice President of Youth Development.  “And the timing couldn’t be better. During summer when school is out for months, so many of our youth drop off academically due to ‘summer learning loss.’ This gift is an important step in combatting that loss by promoting literacy and helping our youth return to school ready to learn.”

On the horizon for this fall:  Ashley would like KPMG to become one of The Child Center’s annual backpack drive sponsors, providing bookbags and/or books to go inside them for students of all ages attending our partner New York City public schools.

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