By Omar Sofradzija
Business isn’t simply about dollars and cents. The whole point of it is to build a better tomorrow.
So when Broad College MBA students heard of immigrant children being separated from their parents at the U.S./Mexico border, those MBAs knew they needed to do something to help.
As a result, the Broad College MBA Association (MBAA) is currently seeking cash donations through Friday, July 9, to benefit Samaritas, a Detroit-based non-profit organization that is expecting to take in as many as 60 separated children for foster home placements in Michigan.
“MBA students are people who are going to be business leaders, and I think we all have a responsibility to help out in any way we can,” said the fundraiser’s creator, Brandon Snider, a second-year MBA student who is currently interning at Eaton Corp.’s Jackson, Mich., offices. “This was something that was very timely and a way we could make an impact in our community.”
Nearly $500 in donations had been collected as of midday Friday, June 29. Donations from MBAA to Samaritas are being specifically earmarked for supplies for displaced children. “It’s not something that’s going to be going towards anything else,” Snider said.
While the fundraiser was student-driven, it has the support of Broad College leadership.
“Hearing about this separation of parent and child is probably one of the most heart-wrenching human stories that one can come across. Being a parent myself, I cannot even imagine what that can feel like,” said Broad College Dean Sanjay Gupta. “It’s a strong testament to the values that our MBA students have in understanding that business is not the end of it all, but that humanitarian concerns are just as important to keep in mind as one might think about profits and losses.”
“Absent a better world, the main goal of business is not going to get fulfilled,” Gupta said. “I’m really glad that they appreciate and understand what that means and are actually taking action to contribute in their own small way towards this kind of a tragedy.”
Efforts began after Snider said he heard news reports of agencies in Michigan that expected to arrange for foster care for some of the separated children, some in the Lansing area.
“Helping people, helping kids is always something that I’ve been pretty passionate about, so I jumped on it,” Snider said.
With MBAs spread across the country for summer internships and other outside-of-class activities, Snider worked with the MBA Association to collect donations through its Venmo remote pay account.
The effort is not an outlier; Broad College MBAs regularly organize community outreach and charitable support activities all year long.
“The MBA Association definitely tries to get people in the mindset of giving back to the community and helping out any way that we can,” Snider said. “We really try to do everything we can to give back and to get involved with different organizations.”
“We have lots of annual events that we do with the (Greater) Lansing Food Bank. Last year we had a fundraiser for hurricane relief for Texas and Puerto Rico. One of our classmates is actually from Puerto Rico, so we had a local connection to get the money down there to someone we knew could make a big impact with it,” among other charitable activities, he said.
In addition to donations, the MBAA is working with Samaritas to find mentors for separated children. “They have a major shortage, especially for men,” Snider said. “Their role is more helping some of the older kids who are going to be placed long-term … acclimate to life here.”
Mentors are “going to help them learn more conversational English; they’re going to help them develop study skills; appropriate hobbies; things that help them get used to living here since they’ve been basically torn away from everything they know.”
To donate, go to Venmo and make a payment to @BroadMBAA, designating Samaritas in the “what it’s for” section. To learn how to make a donation via Venmo, click here.
Donations in cash or check form can also be dropped off to MBA Office Assistant Beth Thomas at 215 Eppley Center, 645 N. Shaw Lane, East Lansing, Mich. In her absence, donations can be left with Full-Time MBA Admissions Director Paul North at the same location, Snider said.
For people who wish to become mentors, Snider said to contact Samaritas directly. Samaritas can be reached at email@example.com or 313-823-7700.