On Halloween night, while out trick-or-treating with a friend and her kids, future Pace Customer Service Representative, Shanna Burchett, impulsively texted her husband, Adam, about becoming foster parents. He didn’t hesitate, texting her back with an emphatic YES.
“Infertility was our issue,” Shanna said. “Adam and I joked around about not having kids so we could live a life of traveling and adventure.”
Call it karma, call it fate, but both Shanna and Adam had endured similar painful experiences with their families growing up, and upon that fateful text on Halloween night, Adam shared Shanna’s same overwhelming urge to dive in. Both had strained relationships with their fathers. Fortunately for Shanna, her mother remarried, and her new stepfather quickly assumed the role of dad.
“When he met my mom, he became the biggest cheerleader for my siblings and me. He taught me everything. That’s when those seeds were planted for me,” Shanna recounted. “Adam and I both realized that our infertility was circumstantial because there were so many children we could share our home with. We want to be the old couple who’ve fostered many kids.”
So began their journey of fostering children who needed someone to love them. That Halloween night text became a catalyst for a future of service together to the benefit of many, many children.
For many of the world’s most successful companies, their culture includes a mindset of service towards the common good, or social good.
Whether it be one of the world’s largest multibillion dollar corporations or a small, local business, the world has no shortage of stories about the lasting impact company culture can make. The tenets of a company’s culture work internally to provide a platform for energized, motivated, and inspired work serving customers, teammates, vendors, and shareholders.
Company culture also shines through on its broader community. Culture shapes, molds, and directs our actions and forms who we are. Within the culture of most modern businesses, there is a sense of responsibility toward the common good beyond everyday business objectives. There’s a widely held belief that, “If we care about doing the right thing, then when there is a need, we act.” Whether in big ways or small, it’s the acting that counts.
The Coca-Cola Company’s world headquarters is in Atlanta, GA – one of the markets where Pace serves. Founded in Atlanta in 1892, the company’s original product is the iconic Coca-Cola. The Coca-Cola Foundation was founded almost a century later in 1984 by then Chairman and CEO, Roberto Goizueta. Since then, the Coca-Cola Foundation has grown from a local foundation into its current mission as a worldwide philanthropic presence.
Coke commits one percent of its prior year’s operating income annually to the Foundation. In 2017, this equated to over $138 million going directly to benefit 300 organizations and charities across over seventy countries. The Foundation supports diverse endeavors, such as learning, nutrition, fitness, recycling, water stewardship, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, the arts, and empowering women in economics and entrepreneurship. The scope of the Cola-Cola Foundation’s resources allow it to make a multidimensional and impressive impact on social good.
Even in small ways, it’s still the action that counts. According to Shopkeep.com, small businesses that are locally-focused play an important role in their communities by recognizing local needs and pitching in to help. It could be in support of a homeless shelter, little league sports, food pantries, or the many other needs that communities possess. Small acts of service can make a big impact, especially when they are targeted towards specific, local needs.
The Pace Foundation was founded in 2017 as a means to fulfill our mission to serve relentlessly, and to give back to the communities where we do business. Funding for the Pace Foundation is provided by annual contributions from company profits. The Pace Foundation then donates to nonprofit organizations whose missions are aligned with Pace’s Core Values, Mission, and Pillars of Focus – rehabilitation, community improvement and revitalization, and education.
Last year our Foundation provided financial gifts to First Light Shelter, an emergency shelter for homeless women and their children in the Birmingham, Alabama area ; to the Brother Bryan Mission, a shelter for economically, emotionally, and spiritually impoverished men in the central Alabama area; and Special Equestrians, which provides high quality therapeutic horseback riding and equine-assisted activities to individuals with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities.
The Pace Team also gave of our time during the year. While participating in National Volunteer Week, more than fifty team members donated over 120 hours of their time supporting special organizations in their communities, including the American Red Cross in Knoxville, TN; the Prodisee Pantry in Mobile, AL; and the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Team members were also engaged in various activities with the First LIght Shelter, Brother Bryan Mission, and Special Equestrians throughout the year, learning and helping through community service.
At Pace, our culture is about people, and it’s our team who makes the difference, whether serving fellow teammates, customers, or our communities.
Shanna Burchett eventually joined the Pace Team in 2019 as a member of our Customer Service Team. She was hired because of the experience and skillset she brings to Pace, but also because of who she is. When you talk to Shanna, it’s impossible not to see her servant spirit at work.
Shanna and Adam have fostered thirteen children from the community over the last five years. “We felt like God was asking us to meet the needs in our community and defend those who are in vulnerable situations,” Shanna explained.
Shanna and Adam’s journey as foster parents recently took a pleasing and life-changing turn. They recently announced the adoption of their daughter, Josie. As far as Josie’s adoption is concerned, they are all over the moon. “We can’t imagine our lives without her. We are so blessed by her,” Shanna exclaimed. “Josie is such a bright ray of joy!”
Keeping Pace asked Shanna how others who might be interested in being foster parents could start down the path she and Adam chose. “My suggestion would be to contact a local state Department of Human Resources and inquire about opening your home. Obtaining a license can take a long time, but there are plenty of ways to serve and offer support while you wait,” she answered. “I would also suggest checking out Heart Gallery’s website to view children who are available for adoption.”
As we journey into a new decade, let’s keep our commitment to serve relentlessly. Please email the Pace Foundation with suggestions for service or a need for donations in your community.