Pitching In and Giving Back

“Changing lives through business education” — it’s more than a mission statement for the W. P. Carey School of Business. It’s a mission, one that extends far beyond the classroom. So when W. P. Carey student Justin Richardson wanted to bring together business schools from across the Southwest to help local charities, he found support everywhere he turned, from fellow students to faculty, staff and the administration.

Justin and his fellow W. P. Carey MBA students wanted to increase the school’s exposure and make a positive impact within the community. With Arizona’s gorgeous spring weather, the plans quickly moved outdoors, and the students invited MBA programs from across the region to participate in a charity softball tournament.

“We wanted to motivate our peers to give back while having a great time,” Justin says. “The tournament served as a way to support nonprofit organizations, with the winning team’s charity of choice receiving 100 percent of the profits.”

The tight-knit community at the W. P. Carey School helped make the idea a reality. Justin explains, “Because it’s a smaller program, they really listen to every single student. And where that becomes important is, if you have an idea — they’ll let you run with it. They’ll help you develop your idea and if it’s a good one, they’ll get behind you and make sure it succeeds.”

The willingness of the faculty to rally around the cause was a primary reason the tournament was able to get off the ground, bringing in schools from across the region to compete on a sunny Saturday on the ASU campus. “The faculty thought it was a fantastic idea, and they gave us all the resources and know-how in order to push through and make sure that goal was accomplished.”

Justin’s team won the tournament so their charity, Parenting Arizona, received a surprise donation of $2,000. “The looks on their faces is something I’ll never forget,” Justin says. “This wasn’t just a gift that goes into a philanthropic black hole; we got to see the tangible evidence of our charitable act and it only made us want to work that much harder to have a more successful tournament next year.”