Business owners throughout the western suburbs generously support North Central College with donations of everything from restaurant meals to technology wiring and consulting, printing and photography. The bottom line: In-kind donations of goods and services surpass $360,000 annually. But beyond dollars, the College’s suppliers share a commitment to preparing young people for the future and gladly respond to tight deadlines, requests for visionary consulting—even the need to work on a holiday.
Give all the credit to the Boy Scouts
A business relationship that spans 15 years between North Central College and Shane Beard, owner of Fastsigns in Naperville, dates back to a simple request of Beard for a banner to promote Boy Scout popcorn sales.
“A Scout mom asked for a generous and deep discount and since I had boys in Scouts at the time, I was soft-hearted,” he says. “The next thing I know, there’s a line of orders out the door from people she had talked to. I didn’t do it for a profit but it was the right thing to do.”
That philosophy underlies Beard’s generous in-kind work for the College, which adds up to thousands of dollars in donations annually. He has become the go-to business owner for projects that include building signage, banners of all sizes and posters. Beard provided all the interior signs for the Res/Rec Center, and among his favorite projects are the displays he printed and installed on the first- and second-floor lobbies about the College’s athletic history. The 13-foot by 34-foot banners that adorn the outside of Res/Rec during Homecoming are also his creation. In April, Beard was working on ways to decorate the inside of Res/Rec for Commencement. “It’s going to be stunning,” he says.
“I like to help solve problems,” Beard says. “I’ll suggest something inexpensive if I can. If you don’t get a return on that project, you will on the next one.”
Beard serves on the College’s Board of Trustee Associates and he’s spoken to North Central business students on campus about franchise ownership and entrepreneurship. He first worked on signage for the Old Main renovation in 1998 and realized that he and the College share a similar philosophy. “I feel that I’m giving back to the next generation,” he explains. “If my work helps with fundraising or other activities, all the better.”
Cooking for 100 on Thanksgiving
Tim and Tom Belgio, co-owners of Belgio’s Catering in Naperville, served up quite a Thanksgiving feast last November. They used their holiday to take on the job of feeding the Cardinal football team when the playoff schedule required the players to stay on campus. “We figure 12 ounces of turkey per person instead of the usual four to six,” says Tim Belgio. “With sides and bread and butter, that’s a pound of food per person.”
A few years after establishing their business in 2000, the brothers started to look for ways they could serve the needs of the College. In 2004, Belgio’s started operating the concession stands in Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium for all events, whether sponsored by the College or an outside organization. Belgio’s is also on hand for the annual International Festival and in the alumni tent behind the end zone at home football games. “We get involved when it’s appropriate, when there’s a void we can fill,” Belgio says.
The owners will often become sponsors of events through generous donations of food, services and/or equipment, and they prefer to build goodwill and gain visibility in this way rather than buying advertising. They’ll offer in-kind donations of beverages and food to North Central events that result in fundraising for the senior class gift, for example, or Relay For Life. “Students graduate and go into the workforce and if they need catering in the future, we hope they had a good experience with us,” says Belgio.
North Central Now Spring 2011