Kirsten Baseley is passionate about giving back. Even during the pandemic’s toll on many companies, she found a way to help others in need. Baseley says philanthropy was significant to Blu Sky Creative’s story. When she started the company 10 years ago, she wanted to ensure that “giving back would be a big part of my company’s guiding principles. I always donated some time and money to different causes, but I wanted to use our creative services to go beyond what I could give monetarily,” she says.
Inspired to give back
Her love for philanthropy started in her late twenties when she worked at an agency in the Chicago suburbs. During one of her work trips, she was inspired by a story she read in Good Housekeeping. It was about a woman in Chicago making a big difference in her community. Baseley had always made donations, but nothing would compare to what she was about to accomplish. The story went into detail about how one woman helped homeless women get back on their feet by providing them with job training through her not-for-profit. Baseley was so compelled by the article, she looked up the woman and called her directly to ask how she could help. The woman was stunned by the random call but the two discussed ways they could work together to bring more to these women in need, most of which were single mothers.
They spoke in early November, and after talking through some ideas, the two decided Baseley could help with holiday toy donations for children in need. For several weeks, Baseley worked to motivate her team at the creative agency where she worked. She gathered donations, wrote down the ages of every child, then shopped for toys. Her goal was achieved by bringing cheer to dozens of families during the holidays. She custom purchased toys for every child, loaded up her parents’ Suburban, and distributed the toys to their mothers. From that moment, she was inspired to donate her time and her talents.
Donating time to a greater cause
Twelve years later, she transitioned to another agency in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. She met the owner of an investment firm, who also worked in the same building. He spoke to Baseley about how he and his wife were starting a local charity and asked if she would be interested in helping. Without hesitation, Kirsten agreed to help and donated countless hours of her time developing a logo, creating their website, executing PR efforts and more. The cumulative efforts helped launch a new children’s charity – Barrington Children’s Charities. The co-founders were so pleased with the prospects of what Baseley could do for the charity, they asked her to be on the executive board and she graciously accepted.
Over the next 10 years, Baseley has donated thousands of pro-bono marketing and volunteer hours to help Barrington Children’s Charities fulfill their mission of helping local children in need in the northwest suburbs. And, more recently, she’s helped MGH Foundation feed over 100 families with holiday meals from the south side of Chicago in both 2019 and 2020. From fundraising videos, to sponsorship programs, to email campaigns and event marketing, she and her team continue to find ways to make a difference.
Benefits beyond expectations
Baseley didn’t realize how her charitable contributions would open new opportunities for her business. “I never thought how this would impact my business. I was doing it because I was passionate about providing for the greater good of humanity. I’ve come to realize how much I’ve learned and grown personally and professionally from these amazing opportunities.” she says.
Philanthropy connects people who want to make a difference, and that can inspire others. Regardless of where people are in their careers, everyone has something to offer. “Corporate responsibility can be on all levels – not just the CEO or COO. It can involve any employee that is willing to go the extra mile to give back. I was an account director at one agency, and I was in charge of bringing together an entire company of people to give back to over 100 kids,” she says. When owners and managers are passionate about giving back, it trickles down to the rest of the company.
To learn more about giving back or getting involved with a charity, contact us – we’re happy to share our thoughts, ideas and insights.