At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I wrote to you that our core beliefs, as outlined in The Bartlett Way, give us a firm foundation upon which to build and a map for navigating uncharted waters. Recent events surrounding the horrific death of George Floyd have caused us all to reflect on the state of things in our country – and in our communities. It causes me once again to rely on what we value to help us forge ahead.
We are a strong company, committed to making a difference in peoples’ lives, and we generally abide by John F. Kennedy’s popular biblical reference, “For of those to whom much is given much is required.” While those words hold considerable power, it is our actions that exemplify our commitment to serve.
We believe Bartlett’s culture and our history demonstrate an active approach. We value our role as a corporate citizen, providing support to social services, civic endeavors, the arts, and education, and we earnestly encourage our staff to pursue and participate in causes close to their hearts. Bartlett employees help shape the community with their volunteer spirit – supporting social services that improve racial equity, reduce homelessness, prevent violence and addiction, support job training, elevate education, and much more.
Among Bartlett’s many volunteer, sponsorship, and philanthropic efforts, in the current landscape, a few stand out. We have committed again this year to the Ohio Innocence Project, a venture we have participated in from its start. Our employee representatives on CRBC, REDI, Cincinnati Chamber, Greater Cincinnati Foundation, United Way, CET and Restart committees invest time and effort in initiatives dedicated to addressing social equity and inclusive capitalism toward the goal of eliminating racial inequity and discrimination wherever it exists. And with optimism and pride, we watch Bartlett’s emerging leaders seek opportunities to bridge divides that exist here in Cincinnati and beyond and to carry on our tradition of committed engagement – an attitude that has been nurtured by succeeding generations of leadership at our firm.
Yet, we find ourselves asking: is it enough? As the events of the recent weeks have shown us, there will always be opportunities for us to grow and learn. So I turn once again to The Bartlett Way. Listen generously. Check your ego at the door. Be inclusive. Find a way. And, so importantly, do what’s right, always. May we always let our values be our guide.