2021 marks a momentous occasion for Walker Sands — our 20th anniversary of business.
I’ve been lucky enough to be at the agency for the last 15 of those 20 years and have had a front row seat in experiencing the impact of our tremendous growth during that time.
From our 2001 origins in a small office located in Chicago’s West Loop, to now being a 180-person, fully-integrated marketing agency with five offices across the country, it’s exciting to celebrate the occasion knowing how much we’ve achieved over the years. Even recent months have seen several big milestones for the agency: We acquired our first company and were named a 9-time Inc. 5000 honoree, an AdWeek Fastest Growing Agency and a Chicago Tribune Top Workplace.
All of this wouldn’t have been possible without our commitment to accelerating growth, not only of ourselves, but of our employees, our clients and our industry — and through that, hopefully make an impact in ways both small and large. In my time at Walker Sands, I’ve seen many of these impactful moments firsthand, from employees making big strides in their careers, to our teams producing some truly incredible, award-winning work that has helped leading B2B brands reach new heights.
Now, to celebrate our 20th anniversary, we want to make an impact on our community by giving a series of charitable donations totaling $20,000. We asked our employees to nominate charities that are personally important to them and can help us make this impact. Final selections were made by a committee that included leaders of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and representatives from our local offices. Everyone stepped up. We received incredible nominations, and I’m blown away by our people’s passion and commitment to doing good in the world. We’re proud to be donating $1,000 to each of the following 20 charities:
- The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (Greater Illinois Chapter) is working toward a world free of MS by improving the quality of life for people affected by MS in Illinois and raising funds for critical research.
- Fair Fight Action was founded to organize collective efforts to expose, mitigate and reverse voter suppression, particularly of voters of color and young voters, in Georgia and the nation.
- Comfort Zone Camp provides free programming to children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, primary caregiver or significant person to help break the emotional isolation grief often brings.
- Alzheimer’s Association is leading the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia through global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support.
- The Trayvon Martin Foundation provides programs that give both emotional and financial support to families who have lost a child to gun violence.
- Ballard Food Bank is a Seattle-based food bank whose mission is to bring food and hope to a wide network of people in the community.
- Brave Space Alliance is the first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ+ Center located on the South Side of Chicago, dedicated to creating and providing affirming and culturally competent services for LGBTQ+ individuals on the South and West sides of the city.
- Wounded Warrior Project provides services and programs to veterans and service members who have incurred a physical or mental injury while serving in the military on or after September 11, 2001.
- /dev/color provides career support for Black software engineers, technologists and executives, including memberships, a job board, conferences, corporate partnerships and research on the state of the industry.
- Backpack Brigade packs bags of nutritious, easy-to-eat food and drops them off at Seattle area K-8 schools where they are distributed to children in need.
- The Last Mile provides business and tech training for incarcerated individuals, preparing them for reentry after release with an aim to lower recidivism rates.
- My Block My Hood My City aims to build up Chicago communities by providing unique learning experiences for the youth, financial support for businesses and care for seniors.
- The Muslim Women Resource Center assists Chicago-area immigrant and refugee Muslim women and their families in overcoming cultural and language barriers, while empowering them with skills to become self-sufficient and ready to enter the job market.
- Big City Mountaineers provides free, fully outfitted, and professionally led backcountry trips to underrepresented youths from communities that lack access to nature in Boston, Denver, Miami, Minneapolis, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle.
- PAWS Atlanta is a no-kill shelter that provides love, care and basic training to enrich the lives of orphaned dogs and cats until permanent, safe homes can be found.
- Raising a Reader Massachusetts is working to close the literacy opportunity gap by helping families develop high-impact home reading routines through community-based partnerships, empowerment of caregivers and access to high-quality books.
- Mary’s Place provides safe, inclusive shelter and services that support women, children and families in the Seattle area on their journey out of homelessness.
- Facing Forward works to break the cycle of homelessness in Chicago by providing housing and social services that empower individuals to face forward to a new future.
- Children’s Cancer Research Fund supports the research of scientists across the country fighting children’s cancer, along with funding resources and programs that help families who are fighting cancer.
- Step Up provides girls living or going to school in under-resourced communities with mentorship and programming that empowers them to become confident, college-bound, career-focused, and ready to join the next generation of professional women.
Thank you to all of our employees, clients and friends who have helped Walker Sands make an impact over the last 20 years. It’s just the start of our journey, and we can’t wait for the next 20 and beyond.