The Spirit of Change

  • Written by Kathryn White

This will be my first CreateAthon.

I couldn’t be more excited. In fact, before I started working for Riggs Partners, CreateAthon was one of my top reasons for wanting the job. I was both impressed that they were committed to giving back and inspired by the collaborative creative genius. And the fact that this drew me to the job isn’t surprising.

According to research, I come from the most civic-minded generation since the 1930s—the Millennials (those born between 1982-2000). Levels of young people volunteering for community or government service projects have risen dramatically in the last few years.  My peers feel a sense of shared responsibility to better the world around us while we’re in it. We believe that doing good should be part of doing life, and we’re willing to work together to make big ideas happen. Researchers attribute this noticeable shift to a number of things—world events that occurred during my generation’s formative years, a troubled economy and subsequent lack of jobs, the growth of social networks.

Here’s what’s cool. Although my generation might be leading the way, we’re not the only ones with a passion for working together to make the world better. There’s been a cultural shift. As more and more businesses realize that doing good and making money are not mutually exclusive, corporate social responsibility policies are being adopted everywhere. The design world is beginning to understand that collaborating rather than competing can effect great change.

I can’t think of a better demonstration of this new attitude than CreateAthon. What’s magical about CreateAthon (aside from the amazing marketing strategy and materials that are developed totally free for nonprofits), is how it unites and connects a community. At our CreateAthon in Columbia, the team from Riggs Partners will be there, working late into the night. But that’s not the entire team. There will be volunteers from all across town. Creatives from other advertising agencies. Freelancers. Industry veterans. First year copywriters (like me). Varying levels of experience, talent, and speed. People who can pull allnighters without batting an eye. People sneaking ten minute naps in order to power through.

And that’s what it takes—every year—for the magic to happen. When we come together for something bigger than ourselves, we’re able to accomplish so much more change than we could have alone.

-Kathryn White