Thanks to Algonquin’s corporate membership, I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with the Buffalo Chapter of Social Media Club for a while now. The opportunities offered through SMCBuffalo, to network and learn more about Buffalo’s ever-evolving social media community, are always enjoyable and I’ve been able to help plan and attend events like TacoVino and beSOCIAL, which are great learning experiences and a lot of fun.
Easily my favorite connection made through SMCBuffalo, though, was getting the chance to meet Dan Gigante and to become one of the participating artists for his “buy one, give one” organization, You and Who, which sells one-of-a-kind designer t-shirts that help worthy causes in cities across the US. Every time a shirt is purchased, You and Who gives the same shirt to someone in need through their collaboration with charitable organizations in the t-shirt designers’ cities.
Back in 2010, I designed a t-shirt for Algonquin Studios employees to wear in a local charity 5k. My design wasn’t used come race day, but when I met Dan, I realized it could still be put to good use through You and Who. My “Buffalo Tree” design fit the organization’s “New Beginnings” theme perfectly and became one of the first shirts made available through You and Who. Now, for every Buffalo Tree shirt sold through You and Who, a shirt donation is also made to one of five charitable organizations in the City of Buffalo. In addition, my “artist earnings” of $1 per shirt sold benefits Buffalo Soccer Club (the pilot program of Algonquin Sports for Kids, a 501(c)(3) organization founded by Algonquin Studios) with donations around $75/month.
Buffalo Soccer Club offers low and no-cost soccer programs for urban children in the City of Buffalo, encouraging participants to develop good physical health, positive levels of self-esteem, and core ethical principals in a safe, fun environment. And, while I’m really no good at playing soccer (trust me I’ve tried), the connection I made with Dan through SMCBuffalo gives me the opportunity to contribute to Buffalo Soccer Club, local charities, and my community at large in a much bigger way than I could personally afford to.
I feel lucky to be a member of an organization like SMCBuffalo, where I can connect with so many smart, fun, and creative people in my city. And I appreciate the opportunities at Algonquin Studios, where I can use my own creativity on projects that benefit so many different people in my community.