by Mel Dittrich Martin

Over the years, many companies have carried the torch for community enlightenment though volunteerism and fund raising efforts with a basic understanding that true fulfillment comes in the form of service to others. Paul Newman summed it up elegantly when he said “I respect generosity in people, and I respect it in companies too. I don’t look at it as philanthropy; I see it as an investment in the community.”

My company has such a corporate culture. The same passion brought to every professional project we undertake is also equally present when we unite to help the community. I have been blessed in a career in broadcasting and AV for more than two decades and have seen all forms of generosity, but what my peers at Advanced project on a consistent basis makes me grateful to be part of a group that demonstrates such benevolence. Both divisions: Systems Integrations and Staging support the other with a shameless display of solidarity.

2011 was a year no different from any other altruistic year for the Advanced team.

  • Safe Harbor of West Chester was the beneficiary of hundreds of lunches made and delivered on a monthly basis on top of cash donations.
  • Employees who had vegetable & herb gardens would bring in bushels of produce and donate them to the Chester County Food Bank.
  • United Way of West Chester has been the recipient of large in-kind donations as well as an $800 cash donation creatively accomplished by hosting our own “Wing Bowl” [a yearly event in which employees vie for a chance to win the heavyweight “chicken wing” belt].
  • As you may sense, Systems Integrators definitely enjoy food and creatively share that within the community. One of our account managers won an iPad at a vendor event. Instead of keeping it, he generously donated it and created an internal raffle with the proceeds benefitting Sunday Suppers of Philadelphia. We raised $750 from that, but what it meant to the community was that a family of four would receive Sunday Dinners for a year [with an additional $125 to spare for other recipients].
  • In what was a definite win-win, we purchased cases of Girl Scout cookies and gave them to clients as a thank you, benefitting the local Girl Scouts and appreciated greatly by our partners.
  • As we come into what is looked upon as the season of giving, Advanced hosts a yearly, internal toy drive for the DuPont Hospital for Children. I wouldn’t be able to put a dollar value on the contents of that packed, toy-filled van we send over or the smiles on their faces.
  • Advanced Staging added Alex’s Lemonade Stand as part of their annual company barbeque. They raised over $1500 in 2011.

These are merely the highlights for 2011. We donate both in-kind services and cash to many more local non-profits, but in smaller amounts. However, Aesop got it right: No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.


And the winners are:

  • Advanced AV / Advanced Staging Productions
  • Fesnak And Associates, LLP
  • Firstrust Bank
  • Fruitflowers / Incredibly Edible Delites
  • Main Line Today Magazine
  • Malvern Federal Savings Bank
  • Northwestern Mutual – Eastern Pennsylvania
  • Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors
  • Riley Riper Hollin And Colagreco
  • Trigon Technology Group, LLC

Special Recognition Awards…

United Way Regional Impact Award

Independence Blue Cross

Chairman’s Award

Stephen J. Diorio, Clu, Chfc, State Farm

About The Awards:

The Main Line Gives Back Awards Were Created To Honor Companies’ Efforts To Enhance The Community, Through Support For Nonprofits And Other.