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Improving Where They Live Seems to Come Naturally to Family Businesses

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The impact that many family business owners make in communities deserves our attention and gratitude this Thanksgiving. It takes courage, resources and strength to build a business, work together without killing each other, create jobs and give back.

Running a family business afforded me the time to propose (and it was unanimously passed) the first Seniors Advisory Committee for the city of Twin Falls, Idaho. Senior adults in our community can now make recommendations to our City Council to improve the quality of life for older adults. Here are other examples to motivate all of us to do more:

Bill Keith and eight of his siblings operate Perfect Bar in San Diego, Calif., and are on a mission to build healthy communities from the inside out. In tribute to their late father, the Keith family recently teamed up with the Skin Cancer Foundation to help raise awareness for skin cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Keith says, "My company’s continued effort to build meaningful, long-lasting relationships with purposeful community-driven outreach programs has helped foster a culture that empowers employees to give back." Bill encourages employees to bring fresh ideas and new causes to the leadership team.

Related: The Power of Giving Back: How Community Involvement Can Boost Your Bottom Line

Gerardo Cea is the founder of Café Prima Pasta, a family owned and operated restaurant in Miami Beach. "When Café Prima Pasta opened in 1993, no one wanted to spend time on 71st Street. It was dark, dirty and deserted, and the only appeal was a movie theater," Cea recalls. His first initiative was to petition to install street lights, so people would feel safer at night. After six months, North Miami Beach appointed Cea to its development board of directors. Cea was able to help make improvements to the community as a result.

Meghan and Anurag Khaitan, inventors of MyBuckleMate, make a difference in their community by creating jobs and opportunities for other family businesses. "Our package inserts are made by a family-owned business in the Washington, DC area, where we live. Our marketing firm and our fulfillment/warehouse partner are also based in the Washington, DC Metro area and they are also family-owned and operated businesses," says Meghan.The couple believes in supporting other like-minded businesses with the same growth objective and values they share.

Related: Be Charitable, and Your Customers May Just Give Back to You

Kelly, Adam and Matt Saxton of The Saxton Group believe it's important for the communities where they do business to know that they are there to support them. They responded within hours when a devastating tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma, where they own a restaurant. They sent employees into the community to feed  first responders. They host fundraisers every year inside their restaurants. Kelly says, "We sponsor community groups, schools, churches and local charities in every one of our locations. We rally behind the communities where we operate in times of need." 

Jimmy Au runs Jimmy Au's For Men 5'8" and Under, in Beverly Hills, with his son Alan Au. He also works with his mother and father, and on occasion, with his wife. Jimmy has not only helped to improve his local community where his family business was located, but also an international community. He shares, "In the past, we've offered our tailoring services to a high school's athletic and music programs. We now collect and donate short and extra short size suits for Working Wardrobes in Costa Mesa, an organization dedicated to helping people get back on their feet and back into the work force."

Strong family businesses are the building blocks of thriving communities. It's important to support family businesses who in turn provide value and make a difference. If you're a family business owner, celebrate your success by giving to others. You have the power to make a difference in local and international communities. We all thank you.

Related: 5 Easy Ways to Make Philanthropy Part of Your Company Culture

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