At Wray Ward, Social Good Is in Our DNA

  • Categories:

    Community, Inspiration

  • Date:

    May 20, 2021

At Wray Ward, Social Good Is in Our DNA

Community Inspiration

Updated June 7, 2021

I was lucky to have a father who believed in the power of giving back. He was a pillar in the community where I grew up, and he taught me the importance of social good at a young age. Years later, I raised my own daughters to find purpose in life beyond their own.

At Wray Ward, that deep-rooted sense of responsibility has always been part of our company DNA. That’s why I’m thrilled to share that Next Stage, a Charlotte consulting firm dedicated to fueling community change, featured our agency in a new study called The Social Good Report: Profit & Purpose. The study examines how nonprofit and private sectors can “forge meaningful partnerships that create real community impact — and how next-generation employees want to create impact through the workplace.”

But what does social good really mean, and why is it so important to Wray Ward?

What is social good?

From a young age, I understood the positive impact I — a single person — could make by getting involved and giving back whenever and however I could. Giving back, of course, can mean writing a check. But it can also mean sharing your talents and time. It can even mean sharing a powerful story with one person you know.

Social good, quite simply, means giving something of yourself to make the world a better place.

How does Wray Ward help drive community change?

Our agency is about more than the marketing solutions we provide or the talent we put to work for clients in the home and building category and beyond. Our founders, Charlie Wray and Bob Ward, infused the business with their own passion for giving back to the community when they opened its doors in 1977. In fact, this commitment was one of the things that attracted me to Wray Ward as a young art director. Since arriving, I’ve simply carried the torch and fed its fire — just as many others have done, whether at Wray Ward or volunteering on their own time.

The opening of our new office on Charlotte’s Thrift Road is a highlight of our agency’s history. While the pandemic has certainly made it more difficult to connect in person over the past 14 months, I’ve envisioned nonprofits collaborating in Wray Ward’s beautiful spaces since long before construction began.

In 2018, we fueled our indelible hunger for using our gifts for good with the launch of EmpoWWer, Wray Ward’s service-grant program created to support 501(c)(3) community initiatives. EmpoWWer is a hands-on demonstration of our company values. It formalized the responsibility Charlie and Bob established more than 40 years earlier, and I’ve loved watching our employees pour their passion into the deserving community partners we’ve served through the program.

Each year, Wray Ward selects three to five local nonprofits within the focus areas of creativity, shelter and social advancement. These organizations are served by brand teams built to tackle their unique marketing challenges and opportunities.

The benefits, of course, go both ways: Our nonprofit partners receive first-class marketing support while working with them stirs the hearts and souls of every Wray Ward employee who touches the project.

What does this commitment mean to our people?

We didn’t launch EmpoWWer with a stated goal of talent recruitment, but I’ve loved watching so many next-generation do-gooders gravitate toward this important work. As a leader, I have a responsibility to make sure young people coming into our agency and this industry understand the importance of giving back and then give them the opportunity to experience the joy of doing it.

Employees, too, want to know they work for a company that cares about the community where they work and live. They want to know that you’re not just doing well but doing good for the benefit of others. In fact, many candidates ask about our company values and how we engage with the community. When they learn about the agency’s commitment to social good, they remember it, even citing it as a major influence on their decision to accept an offer. EmpoWWer is also proving to be a differentiating factor in recruiting for our competitive FORM internship program.

It isn’t just Wray Ward job applicants: Next Stage research noted a powerful trend of values-driven hiring, where candidates are keeping a close eye on how companies talk about their values and considering this element when they decide where to work.

What’s next?

For the past year, our friends at Next Stage studied the ways that businesses and nonprofits are intersecting in the Charlotte community. Now, you can download their full report, which includes a segment entitled “Attracting Talent Through Social Good at Wray Ward.” I’m proud that Next Stage looked to Wray Ward as a model for doing it right, and I look forward to sharing more stories about how we’re living our personal passion for giving back.

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