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Last Update: Saturday August 15, 2020

Key Idea: Give Cold Hard Cash to the Community

The tenets of stewardship, sharing our time, talent and treasure with others, is a fundamental responsibility of all business owners. Each of us has an obligation to give back to the community from which we draw our livelihood.

Key Question:


Give, give and give again to your community.

Q: How does a business owner decide which charities to support and at what level?

Like all business expenses, charitable contributions should be planned and budgeted. Cindy had a unique approach here, donating 50% of a day’s receipts in celebration of Mo’s 50th anniversary, and permitting the customers to select the charities. Planning your charitable contributions with public relations objectives is good business. Sometimes we feel that this in some way taints the contribution or diminishes the charity. We need to accept the fact that meeting our obligation to our community and promoting our business are not mutually exclusive!

As part of your annual budgeting process, determine a total amount of charitable giving. This amount should include your planned personal commitment as well since the tax deductibility of a contribution made by your business is not as limited as personal contributions. Once you have the total amount, budget the detail. Start by listing any standing commitments, such as contributions you are committed to annually. In deciding how to distribute the rest, consider what opportunities you have to obtain recognition for your business. Buying a table at a gala which is well-attended by your customer base brings more benefit than simply mailing a check.

Charitable giving can also be coupled with employee relations. Consider matching employee gifts to their favorite charities. Sponsoring athletic teams in leagues where your employees’ children participate is another way to maximize the benefit of your contribution. Your employees will take pride in the name of your company on the backs of the players’ shirts.

Think about it

Are you budgeting your charitable contributions annually and maximizing the benefit to your business as you make them?

Clip from: Mos Chowder

Newport, Oregon: Cindy McEntee came to our attention because she was the state of Oregon's Small Business Person of the Year. Then, when we looked further, we found many more awards and citations. To be selected as the study for a show, a business must come up on everyone's list as being " ... loved by their community and respected within their industry."

In this episode of the show, we continue our walk down the Main Streets of America to see how one person with a vision has transformed the town where she was born and where she has chosen to stay. Life here is so rich with the intangibles that even her children have returned to this little seaport town and are helping to build the business and family legacy.

From a little joint on a narrow little street to the big White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, we discover how a fisherman's hangout becomes a national treasure.

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Mo's Chowder

Mo's Chowder, A family

622 SW Bay Blvd.
Newport, OR 97365

Visit our web site:

Office: 541-265-2979

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1951

Give Cold Hard Cash to the Community

HATTIE: When Cindy is not working on her business, she works on the business of making Newport a destination. Tourism has quadrupled in the last 10 years and business leaders are working to continue the trend. Cindy has been instrumental in attracting artists to create more than a dozen murals including this Wyland.

CINDY: It is exciting when you can do something, when you can impact a neighborhood. When we had our 50th anniversary, which we did this year, we decided to thank the community. We had decided that 50% of every ticket, for every table of people, 50% of their ticket cost would go to whatever community charity they wanted. And we did that one whole day in all six of our restaurants. So each community had their own specific fundraiser.

HATTIE: Did you add up at the end of the day how much money you guys gave away?

CINDY: Yeah, it was about $18,000. It worked really well. I think that most of the people couldn't believe it. Because it was like, "You mean 50% or your profits." NO – if you eat $10 worth of food here, $5 is going wherever you want it, okay. I don't think people really believed that was happening until the checks started going out. And so, we are going to do it again next year.

HATTIE: So what does it take – what does it take inside?

CINDY: I think it takes tenacity -- and drive. You really got to have a lot of drive. If you don't have the drive or the passion to make it work right, I don't think it's going to work. People know when you like and care about your business, people know – your customers know.

HATTIE: What about the future?

CINDY: The future is working upstairs and across the street right now. My children have joined this company and they are determined to make lots of changes. I mean, I took my grandmother to the calculator and they are taken me to the web. We are doing it right.

We're trying.

In the Studio

HATTIE: Of course you need excellent accounting and efficient processes, but just like Cindy, you can tell your stories. Do this and 30 years from now, you will be the caretaker of a legacy.

The Company of One

HATTIE: For the 15 million of you out there who run a one-person company, you can use one of Cindy's marketing ideas. She is everywhere. She shows up at the Chamber of Commerce, the Race for the Cure, the pancake breakfast fundraiser for the local elementary school. As a volunteer, you can network and even better, when the list of volunteers is published, nobody knows if your company has one person or a 100.

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