These Leaders Shine Through in Response to Tragedy


For months now you've seen me scour the markets for examples of great CEOs. Each week I highlight a leader that not only makes his or her business prosper, but often goes above and beyond the expectations of its employees or community to deliver something special.

This week I plan to divert from my usual tactics of pointing out a single great CEO to instead focus on those people and businesses that have stepped up in light of one of the worst tragedies in U.S. history, the senseless killing of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary, and chosen to donate their goods, services, or cash in an effort to relieve the suffering of those in Newtown, Conn., and throughout the nation.

It would be absolutely impossible to list every single donator here, but let me do my best to point out what I feel are truly some shining examples of what's good in America.

  • Robert Kraft and the Patriots: Kraft, the owner of the National Football League's New England Patriots, donated $25,000 to Newtown because, as he put it, "The future of the school and how it moves forward is important, the town is important."

  • Target: Target donated $10,000 in gift cards for teachers and students to purchase school supplies for Sandy Hook Elementary to help replace some of the items that were damaged or lost in last week's tragedy.

  • Matthews Casket Co. of New England: Matthews, a manufacturer of caskets and other memorialization products, stepped up to supply families whose children had been killed Friday with caskets, free of charge.

  • Datto: Datto, a hardware-based onsite and offsite data backup provider, is donating $50,000 to the town of Newtown. In CEO Austin McChord's own words, "Many Datto employees are originally from Newtown ... What happened on December 14 was absolutely devastating and will remain in our minds forever."

  • Wells Fargo : Wells Fargo banks set up a donation account to help Sandy Hook survivors. Anyone wishing to make a donation within the U.S. can go to any Wells Fargo bank and deposit a donation of their choosing.

  • Various Connecticut contractors: Numerous contractors within Connecticut have donated their time, planning, and labor in order to transform recently closed Chalk Hill Middle School into an elementary school to accommodate the remaining students at Sandy Hook and at least bring them back to some semblance of normalcy.

  • OneRepublic: Regardless of whether you listen to the music of pop band OneRepublic, you have to respect the band's cash-raising efforts to help those affected in Newtown. With a goal of raising $50,000, the band has raised more than $76,000 as of this writing and is still planning on accepting donations for the next 27 days.

  • Sandy Hook Elementary School Victims Relief Fund: Started by a former student of Sandy Hook Elementary, known only as "Ryan," the Sandy Hook Elementary School Relief Fund has raised an eye-popping $120,019 as of this writing and will donate the proceeds to the school's PTSA to help families and students affected by this disaster.

  • United Way: Last, but certainly not least, is the United Way, which has led a nationwide drive to collect funds to help victims from Friday's massacre.

Sometimes you have to question the intentions of people and businesses, but there's absolutely no denying the fact that the people, business groups, and business leaders giving their cash, time, and support in any way possible to the people of Newtown have goodness in their hearts. These people and businesses are truly great leaders within our community.

If you would like to make a donation to support the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary, then I encourage you to visit this Bethel news blog, which lists (and hyperlinks) multiple different options for donating to the relief efforts.


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