As a company deeply invested in not just our industry but also in making a meaningful difference in our communities and the world, we at GTN believe our commitment to social and environmental causes goes hand in hand with the values we share with our clients, partners, and employees. Every year, we dedicate ourselves to supporting and championing causes around the world through financial contributions, employee volunteer time off, and company-wide service events. In this article, we reflect on some of the causes that resonated with us in 2023.
In March, the Biden administration approved the Willow Project despite massive public opposition. Taking place in Alaska, this project is the largest oil and gas undertaking on US public lands and is projected to accelerate the climate crisis by emitting more than 260 million metric tons of greenhouse gases over the next 30 years. Earthjustice, an environmental law organization based in California, filed a lawsuit to stop the Willow Project on behalf of conservation groups across the country. In support of GTN’s stance on strong environmental protections, we contributed to Earthjustice to aid in their legal efforts against this development. Looking ahead, GTN remains dedicated to supporting environmental protections that ensure the well-being of both people and our planet.
From March through May, we hosted our annual Beards and Braids for Busy Season (BBFBS) campaign to support the International Rescue Committee (IRC). This initiative encourages GTN employees and their family members to show off their best beard, braid, or mustache to support a cause. Submissions from employees are open to public voting, with the coveted prize being the esteemed "bragging rights.” In 2023, we were able to raise over $5,000 for the IRC to serve families and communities around the world whose lives have been upended by war, conflict, and natural disasters. To date, the BBFBS campaign has raised over $40,000 for various global organizations while bringing some spirited, healthy competition to GTN during the tax busy season.
In August, during our annual GTN conference in Breckenridge, CO, the GTN team assembled 15 mountain bikes which were donated to The Cycle Effect. Based in Denver, CO, The Cycle Effect is dedicated to offering young women equal opportunity and access to the sport of mountain biking. They aim to serve 70% of participants who identify as Latina and/or Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and work to remove financial barriers while supporting the social-emotional well-being of the participants.
In November, GTN contributed to the Children's Emergency Fund through Save the Children in response to the ongoing catastrophe in Gaza. With a decimated healthcare system, medical teams in Gaza have been working tirelessly to address the unprecedented influx of casualties. The crisis has left tens of thousands of innocent civilians injured, displaced, grieving, and facing grave danger, emphasizing the urgent need for life-saving support.
From November to December, leading up to the holiday season, GTN participated in the Toys for Tots program. Facilitated by the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, this program brings the goodwill of the season to millions of children across the US. Communities throughout the country continue to face financial challenges, and during the holiday season, families may feel the weight of this burden even more. To help our neighbors, we were able to collect 170 toys for families in the US, thanks to the generous contributions from our employees, their families, and the public.
For every new corporate client GTN acquires, a donation is made to the Malala Fund to support women’s education around the world. The Malala Fund invests in education activists and advocates who are driving solutions for girls’ education within their communities. Recognizing that over 120 million girls do not have access to education today, GTN’s social mission is rooted in ensuring continued learning for girls and women. Our commitment is unwavering—to provide every girl with the opportunity to achieve the future she chooses.
Throughout the year, the GTN team is encouraged to utilize their paid volunteer time to give back to their communities. In 2023, our employees volunteered at food banks, organized a blood drive, served on school boards, and assisted with school fundraising and philanthropy events. Other GTNers volunteered with non-profits and shelters to teach financial literacy courses, and supported organizations such as Feed My Starving Children, the Red Cross, and the Salvation Army. Employees also gave back at the Minnesota State Fair with organizations such as Math on a Stick, an interactive area where kids and adults can explore fun math concepts, and Kemps Little Farm Hands, an agricultural education exhibit where kids can step into the role of a farm hand and experience the agricultural process.
GTN is committed to supporting social and environmental causes around the globe, viewing it not as a choice but as an integral aspect of our firm's values. As we reflect on the impactful moments of our philanthropy and advocacy from 2023, we eagerly anticipate the opportunities and challenges that 2024 will bring. The journey toward a brighter and more sustainable future remains our focus, and we’re enthusiastic about continuing to make a positive difference in the coming year.