Today is Giving Tuesday – a day devoted to helping others, created several years ago in response to the consumer excesses of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The thought and message are spot on, but, instead of devoting a single day in the calendar year to it, every day should be about giving.
We follow this mindset here at Telos, as we understand the need for, and impact of, community and philanthropy. We offer year-round support to organizations and programs that we see putting in the effort day-to-day to make a difference.
No one person, family, or organization can support every cause worthy of attention. At Telos, we’ve chosen to focus our efforts in two areas – service members and their families and STEM education. (Actually, we like to take that one step further to support STREAM learning, but that’s a topic for another day.)
For service members and their families, we partner with two nonprofits: the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), and Trout Unlimited’s (TU) Veterans Service Partnership (VSP). TAPS provides support to the families of fallen service members through a national peer support network and connection to grief resources, all at no cost. TU’s VSP teaches vets and active duty service members and their families the therapeutic art of fly fishing, and engages them in the conservation mission of TU.
There’s no better way to engage young people in learning than through friendly competition. Two programs that make this a reality for STEM education are FIRST Tech Challenge and the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot. We enthusiastically support several student teams from the Academies of Loudoun in both competitions, including the Gearbox Gators and the Salty Keychains.
Of course, giving is not just about money. Many Telos employees are actively involved in personal and professional philanthropy as well. For example, a number of Telos employees are actively building cybersecurity curriculum in higher-education institutions, including Northern Virginia Community College, George Mason University, and Georgetown University. Working directly with educators and administration about the learning process is vital as we try to close the skill gap graduates experience as they enter the workforce.
An organization that I, my family, and Telos support on a personal level is Project Rebirth – after losing 13 friends in the 9/11 attacks, I felt a strong need to get involved in our nation’s effort to recover. The film, “Rebirth,” documented a 10-year time-lapse of the rebuild of ground zero and told the stories of five individuals involved in the attacks. Project Rebirth’s current mission is to create curriculum and programs that help individuals and communities recover from grief and trauma and build resilience in the face of challenges.
I can’t overstate this; it’s so important to get involved and help others. You can make a difference. But think about it: the organizations that you believe in, causes you want to fight for, and charities you want to help don’t exist for just one day of the year. So go ahead and give your time and resources today, but also tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that…
Telos CEO John Wood blogs about business, education, and the values that guide us.