Heroes of the Economy Paying it Forward

Published: March 19, 2009 | 7399th good news item since 2003

CNNMoney is running a wonderful story on 8 people, heroes of a kind really, who try to help others out of the economic misery — and do so at a personal cost, making their own sacrifices.

Marilyn Mock

At a foreclosure auction she met the woman whose house was being sold. Before she fully realized what she was doing she’d bid and won the auction at $30,000

Not only did she make a deal with the woman that she could stay there while paying monthly until the debt was paid — she set up the Foreclosure Angel Foundation, funding it with her own savings and business income.

Rob Katz

Vail Resorts runs ski and snowboard slopes in Colorado. Although things are still going good, trouble is probably ahead.

To keep the company healthy seasonal employees were asked to take a 2.5% pay cut; executives a 10%; board of directors cut their cash retainer by 20%.

Rob Katz’ take-home salary as CEO of the company was $840,000 in 2008. In 2009 it’s $0.

“If I was going to ask someone making $8 an hour to take a pay cut, they needed to know I was doing something that would really affect me. No one wants to see their salary reduced, but at least in this case those at the top are making the biggest sacrifice.

I’m making changes, but you can’t compare the challenges I go through to some of our folks.
I’ve saved money because I’ve made more over my time. They need to find a way to put food on the table.

People here would rather take a pay cut than see their colleague lose their job.

Everyone at the company is a hero.”
— Rob Katz, CEO, Vail Resorts

Pam Koner, Jaime Raskulinecz and Linda Varas

Pam runs Family-to-Family: matching families in need with good Samaritans. The good Samaritans shop for a foster family once a month, getting them much needed groceries.

But as the economic crisis crept forward, Pam had to start work on her own community as well.

“I never expected it would be Hastings.

I visited a family in Pembroke, Ill., and the house was dirty and moldy, with a single light bulb. You never think it’ll be your backyard.”
— Pam Koner

Her idea has inspired her friends Jame and Linda to organize similar acts of kindness.

Families accepting help are kept anonymous so no “shame” needs to come to the community.

Rich Salon

When Circuit City went belly-up, Rich had been working there for just three year but knew a lot of folks going on three decades.

He wanted to help.

He planned a career fair.

With the company winding down, communication was nearly impossible, so he turned to the professional online networking web site LinkedIn to contact former employees.

He asked Home Depot, BJ’s Wholesale Club and others to come. 80 companies, some of them flying in from out of state, came to the fair attended by 1000 ex-Circuit City employees.

Mike Heritage

He was inspired by what he says is a common occurrence in Colorado Springs: someone in front of him had already paid for Mike’s coffee.

It made him want to do something too.

He only uses about 70% of the office space his company rents. He’s now giving away the remaining space to local small businesses: no charge, no strings attached.

“We’ve done well through our 20 years of business, and we thought this was a good way to give back to our community. Sometimes people need a break to help get them off the ground or out of debt.

We want to sit down with folks and partner with some businesses that hopefully will be successful and help the community.

Whether it’s Bush, Obama, or community leaders, those in charge have made it clear we all need to give something back in whatever way we can.

I may not have cash to hand to people, but I have vacant space. I can give that for a while.

I’d ask everyone in the country: Do something that fits you in order to help,.

If everyone does something good for someone else, we can start to turn this economy around.”
— Mike Heritage

Scott Haag

“Like others, I was looking for ways to cut back,.

But I realized: If everyone is pulling back on spending, that’s not going to help the economy. By buying a car, you generate sales tax and, hopefully, keep people employed.

It’s about changing the attitude. It’s been a hard time for people. But if we can thaw that freezing, and spark purchasing, it’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

That’s how Scott explains his way of helping. Every employee of his oil-supply company can get $2,000 in cash when buying a new car, or $1,000 in cash for buying a used car.

Published in Economics
See also: money.cnn.com
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