One Child

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Many people want to volunteer, but so often people simply can’t seem to find the time. Between juggling demands at the office and at home, it can feel nearly impossible to make giving back to your community a priority.

 

Marvin and Gloria Anderson, and Suzann Brown

 

It’s that exact conundrum that originally attracted Marvin Anderson to “Everybody Wins!” back in 1996. As the Minnesota State Law Librarian at the time, the national children’s literacy and mentoring nonprofit’s mission resonated with Marvin. The goal: building the skills and love of reading among low-income elementary students—“One child. One Mentor. One book at a time.”

A long-time client of The Private Client Reserve, Marvin’s involvement with “Everybody Wins!” started organically. With the “Everybody Wins!” Power Lunch Reading Program as a guide, Marvin proposed that volunteers from the Judicial Branch go to a local elementary school during the lunch hour and be paired with a low-income student as a reading partner. “Unfortunately for a lot of these kids, their first encounter with the law is a negative one,” says Marvin. “I wanted to help change that model and introduce them to that environment as a positive, encouraging one where they are mentored and cared for.”

 

The response was overwhelming. The kids loved it. The employees participating as readers and mentors loved it. And “Everybody Wins!” became Marvin’s philanthropic passion. He began seeking out additional community partners and schools to participate. His wife Gloria got involved as a school coordinator. And momentum continued to build.

 

“Our goal is to ignite a love of reading in young people,” says Marvin. “It means so much to me to see the volunteers encourage the kids not only to read but to dream. As mentors, we’re helping these kids see that they can go beyond their circumstances and be anything they want to be.”

 

“My favorite part of Power Lunch is seeing the students wide-eyed and smiling when they see their partners after a few weeks of reading,” says Gloria.

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When Marvin retired in 2003, he worked with his Wealth Management Advisor Suzann Brown to formally establish the Minnesota affiliate of “Everybody Wins!” Suzann was so inspired by the concept that she committed to getting U.S. Bank involved. “It is a volunteer experience of the highest quality, yet it’s simple and fun,” says Suzann, who is a work site coordinator and serves as Board Chair for “Everybody Wins! Minnesota.” “We draw on people who truly want to give back but have very full lives. “Everybody Wins!” gives them the opportunity to volunteer in a meaningful way and one that fits well into their lives.”

 

“When U.S. Bank got involved we really started making an impact,” says Marvin, who points to the more than 350 employees across U.S. Bank who volunteer with the program.

 

Each volunteer is paired with a first, second, or third grade student in one of the 11 Twin Cities elementary schools the organization partners with. The volunteers are transported by bus from their companies to their assigned school and child each week over the lunch hour, from October to March.

 

“The one-on-one connections and relationships transcend race, income, and age,”

says Marvin. “Friendships and mentorship bonds are formed and those kids really know that their mentor is there for them.”

 

Today, “Everybody Wins! Minnesota” has more than 1,000 volunteers from 17 community partners across the Twin Cities. “Our employees get so much out of the experience,” says Suzann. “When you get back on that bus after reading with your student, you can’t help but feel great and reenergized. It’s truly a win, win.”

 

After serving as president of “Everybody Wins! Minnesota” for seven years, Marvin is officially retiring from that role this year, but he will continue to work as a volunteer and consultant for the organization. “One of my greatest mentors, Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, always said to me that you have to do what you can in your community to make it better than when you found it,” Marvin says, referring to the namesake for Benjamin E. Mays International School in St. Paul where the program was originally piloted. “If you give an honest effort, even if it’s small, then you’ve enriched your community. That’s how I try to live my life and with 'Everybody Wins! Minnesota' I believe we’re leaving the community better than we found it.”

 

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