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Residential Department: Helping Hands: BestAssets: December 2012


Helping Hands: BestAssets

Professionals making a difference

Name: Earl Cummings, CEO, BestAssetsHelping Hands RES1212

Project: Breakfast banquet and golf tournament to benefit Yellowstone Academy, a private school serving children living in extreme poverty

Site: Houston

How: This past September, BestAssets served as a sponsor for the Yellowstone golf tournament, and this past October, the company also sponsored the annual breakfast banquet. In addition to these two events, BestAssets CEO Earl Cummings serves on the school’s board of directors, and company employees volunteer at the school. In fact, with their manager’s approval, employees can volunteer at the school during working hours and receive compensation.

Cummings also champions Career Day at the school. “We bring in professionals from around the city of Houston to meet with the kids to give them an idea of the kind of professional opportunities that exist out there for them to pursue,” Cummings says. The school also works with Atlanta-based DreamMaker Kids so that students can dress up as the professional of their choice. It helps students see themselves as doctors, astronauts and more, Cummings says.

Why: Cummings has been working with the school for the past eight years and believes in its premise of providing education to children living in extreme poverty. "As a general rule, society has the responsibility of caring for its elderly and its young people," Cummings says.  "For every child that is excluded from living and enjoying the American dream, we may miss some brilliant new technology, a brilliant mind. I’m always in support of organizations that go into our least represented communities and seek to be an agent of change."

Based in Houston's Third Ward, Yellowstone currently has 373 students from pre-school to eighth grade. The median household income for Yellowstone students is $10,410, according to the school. "In order to change the direction a child takes in life, you have to give them a foundation that is bigger than their experience," Cummings says. "It's giving these young people an opportunity for an education. That's invaluable."

Impact: This year's "Be a Light" breakfast had nearly 1,000 guests and raised nearly $1.2 million for the school. The golf tournament raised $347,000. Cummings attributes the success of these fundraisers to several factors. "First and foremost, the city of Houston has a really big heart for giving," he says. "The school has an excellent development program. The team we have at the school really works to build relationships with our donors, and we have a really committed board that works around the city — the relationships that they bring to the table are enormous. They see the work that we’re doing at the school, and they pitch in with time and in many cases, with money."

Try it:

Do you or your company give back to the community? To share your story, e-mail


Jennifer Garrett was an editor at Scotsman Guide. For questions on this article, call (800) 297-6061 or e-mail

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