Chris Kittrell and 15 colleagues at Rather & Kittrell Inc. in Knoxville, Tenn., received the Volunteer Team Award for providing needy families in Huntsville, Tenn., with food, clothing and other supplies through their work with Mission of Hope.
The firm, which began working with Mission of Hope in 2000, collects goods twice a year and trucks them 90 miles north to Huntsville, a town in the Appalachian Mountains that has been hit hard by the coal industry's demise. Around Christmas and back-to-school time, the team delivers supplies to 27 different schools in the area.
“I went to school in one of the kindergartens we go to,” said Mr. Kittrell, co-founder of the firm. “I really didn't realize the poverty we grew up around until we got involved with Mission of Hope, so this is something that's really close to my heart.”
The Rather & Kittrell team raises funds from clients and others throughout the year.
Mr. Kittrell regularly asks clients what they want to do with their wealth to have a charitable impact. Clients often ask about what he does to give back. That sparks a discussion of the firm's Mission of Hope activities and often ends with another person or family getting involved with the cause.
Clients seem especially interested in charitable giving of both funds and services since 2008-09, when the economic crisis made them look at what was important to them about their money and their ability to make it, Mr. Kittrell said. He has found that working together for a charitable cause deepens the client-adviser relationship.
“It's now more of a friend relationship when you're doing something together and doing something that means something,” Mr. Kittrell said.
The $20,000 from the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation will provide four college scholarships to children who grew up in these schools. Mission of Hope serves about 11,000 children.
In addition to being thankful for the award, he said he appreciates his place in the world and the biblical sentiment passed to him from his grandfather: “To whom much is given, much is required.”