Volunteer Spotlight: Andrew Markey & Cradles to Crayons
Andrew Markey is an associate director in Barings’ Global Private Finance team. He’s volunteered with charity Cradles to Crayons in Chicago since 2016.
Tell us about Cradles to Crayons: what they do and what you do with them?
Cradles to Crayons (C2C) provides children the clothing and learning essentials they need to be able to thrive at school and play. Despite C2C Chicago only having a presence in the city since 2016, the organization has quickly grown and they now serve over 220K kids annually.
The organization takes in gently used clothing and school supplies. Volunteers help check, sort and pack donations tailored to a specific child profile (i.e. gender, age, etc.) and the personalized ‘kid packs’ are distributed across the Chicagoland area to community partners.
How long have you volunteered for?
I’ve been involved with the organization since I graduated university in 2016 when a C2C representative came to my prior firm and did a ‘lunch and learn’. I had just transitioned to the ‘real world’ and was looking for volunteering opportunities with an organization that addressed inequities that particularly impacted children.
Andrew Markey (pictured, left) has volunteered with Cradles to Crayons since 2016
How did you get involved?
I’ve been involved with the organization first as a volunteer and then as a founding member of the young professional council where we helped organize volunteering events and small fundraisers amongst our friends, colleagues and families. For the last year or so I’ve served on the development committee where we focus our efforts on the broader fundraising strategy, donor retention, etc.
Why is this cause close to your heart?
My mother moved to Chicago from the Philippines with practically nothing, something I admire her deeply for. While I was growing up my mom impressed upon me how fortunate I was to have an abundance of items many kids can take for granted such as clean clothes, countless toys and sufficient school supplies. C2C’s mission of providing children the supplies they need to go to school with dignity quickly resonated with me.
How does it feel to know you’re making a difference to others’ lives?
To know that I have played a really small part in helping children, who have grown up in Chicagoland communities that have experienced decades of disinvestment, go to school with proper supplies is humbling. It has been a privilege seeing the organization expand its reach and continuously increase the number of children served.
What does it mean to you that Barings actively encourages teammates to volunteer?
I think it’s unique that Barings supports causes that matter to its teammates not only from an engagement perspective but also monetarily. I’m thankful to work for a firm that promotes service and ‘extending the ladder’ and I’m forever grateful that Barings has generously supported C2C.
“I’m thankful to work for a firm that promotes service and extending the ladder”
Do you have any advice to those thinking about getting more involved in volunteering?
Utilize your professional and social circles to find an organization/cause that resonates with you. Life and work can monopolize a lot of our time but even if you only volunteer several times a year, your community will be better off.