Allstate Agency Owner launches movement to encourage more acts of kindness
Rochester, New York, small business owner David Williams believes in the ‘for-purpose’ business model, one that bolsters both the bottom line and the community.
What would it look like if everyone committed to performing at least one act of kindness a day? For Allstate Agency Owner David Williams, the idea is not so much a concept but a reality. A longtime volunteer for the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester, New York, David recently launched Inspiranation, a movement that encourages people to make a difference in their communities. The Rochester native is on a mission to create “everlasting ripple effects” that change lives.
Through Inspiranation, David challenges people to perform one simple act of kindness a day, a “Deed a Day,” as he calls it. It can be as easy as helping out a neighbor in need or volunteering at a local nonprofit. We spoke with David recently about his community work and what inspired him to launch this movement.
You can see some of the community work David hosted through Inspiranation this past holiday season, when he and his wife Lauren handed out over 1,500 Christmas gifts to local families. And check out Inspiranation’s Facebook and Instagram for more stories of good deeds.
The following is an edited and condensed version of our Q&A.
Tell us about the community projects you are currently working on.
I have proudly worked with the Rochester chapter of the Boys and Girls Club for several years now. As my business has grown, so has our ability to sponsor and give back to the kids there. This past February, we recently hosted 35 kids from the Boys and Girls of Miami to attend the world’s largest sales conference. As a part of that, we are working to submit a community Grant to provide educational scholarships to each kid that attended.
Future projects include a campaign we call “30 Days of Good,” where we will encourage other agents and business owners in our community to commit to one act of good a day. These acts will be posted on social media pages as a part of our not-for-profit organization Inspiranation.
In May we will be attending another large business leadership conference, this time in Las Vegas, and plan to sponsor kids local to that area. We will also be submitting a group grant to support their education as long as funds are available as well.
Tell us how you started your community work?
In 2006, I was working at a local Circuit City as a store manager. It was there that I met a young man who made a big impression on me. I learned he was one of nine children and he and his family were struggling to make ends meet. It was Christmas time, and I felt strongly that I needed to step up and give back. Each year since then, I have continued to do that and just like the kids have grown, so has this effort. It’s pretty remarkable to think that this all started with this one young man and the impression he made.
One person alone can create a positive ripple that lasts longer than you might realize. And a large group of like-minded people can create a tidal wave of good.
This seemingly small experience opened my eyes to how many more kids and families were in need. I discovered a lot of the kids went to the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester, so it only made sense that we partnered with them. Over the last three years specifically, the partnership I have had with the Club has fostered even more opportunities to give back. My team and I donate our time to help with Club events and we sponsor a child’s school tuition for a year. In 2018, we encouraged other Allstate agents to come together as well and we raised $21,000 through a community grant that went to help 21 young people further their education.
What inspired you to do this work?
It sounds simple, but truthfully, all feels right in the world for me when I am making a positive impact in the lives of others. It’s so easy for us to get wrapped up in our own lives and our own difficulties. This is especially easy to do lately with what we see in the news and world, but the minute we direct that energy to others and giving back, we are reminded of what really matters.
My wife Lauren and I make this a focus in our own family, and we bring the same philosophy to my Allstate team. I have been blessed that we can all come together to help provide opportunities to these young kids uncertain about their future and career path. It’s been remarkable to see some of these same kids go on to start their own businesses or buy new homes—things they didn’t think they could do at one point. I am a firm believer that the more you give in life, the more the world will give to you.
What ways are you helping to make your community thrive?
I have recently started a not-for-profit, Inspiranation. This was a way for me to make what we were trying to do more tangible. It is also my way of giving back to my local community and translating it to a national platform. I keep it simple with a daily challenge we call a “Deed A Day,” where we encourage people to help others with one simple act of kindness and encourage them to pass it along. It can be something as simple as helping the homeless, cleaning or decorating the graves of veterans, or visiting a local nursing home on Mother’s Day to pass out carnations. I even kicked things up a notch and spent two days on the streets of Los Angeles living as a homeless person to help spread awareness about the homeless epidemic.
Through Inspiranation, we also try to educate business owners who feel they don’t have the time or money to make a difference. We try to share our experiences and best practices on how to be a for-purpose business, through integrating community activism into their business model, which strengthens their value proposition. This helps the business and the community, which I believe is a mutually beneficial aspect of business growth that is often overlooked.
What’s one thing you want outsiders to know about your community?
That they too can make a major difference in their local communities. While our communities may be unique in their own ways, the opportunity to inspire and make an impact is very similar. One person alone can create a positive ripple that lasts longer than you might realize. And a large group of like-minded people can create a tidal wave of good.
What leader or leaders inspire you?
Jesus Christ, as he was the first true example of how to treat our fellow man and woman. Mother Teresa is another important person to me, as she showed the world that it doesn’t take money to give back immensely and that one person can truly change the world for the better. Some other leaders who I admire and who inspire me include Daymond John, Tai Lopez, Cole Hatter, and Grant Cardone. While these individuals are all very successful business influencers, they each make it a point to give back to society in a very meaningful and impactful way. I admire them for their work ethic in the office and look to them for inspiration for their work outside of it.