Seattle Landmark Forum graduate Brent Jones found a unique way to give back to the employees of his landscaping business: He caused the construction of a huge new park and playground in their home town of Las Animas, Mexico. Many of Jones’ employees were guest workers from Las Animas, and as he got to know them, he would pay occasional visits to their home town. In the Self-Expression and Leadership program, Jones got the idea to bring what he did for a living to make a huge contribution to Las Animas.
He raised $20,000 for the project, which included $5,000 from Jones’ customers, $2,000 from the employees, and the otehr $13,000 from the profits of the business. In addition to the paid workers, many local people pitched in with the building. Beto Gallegos, the president of Calvio, a larger town of which Las Animas is a suburb, helped make the project happen by having the Mexican government give the land to the town, gave permission and permits for the project as well as contributing supplies. The entire park and playground were built in less than two weeks. In the process, the ugliest piece of land in Las Animas became the beautiful heart of the town.
People marvelled at the change: Most townspeople had never seen an American in Las Animas, let alone one who contributed to the town on a huge scale. There had also never been TV coverage of Las Animas before–Two television stations ran features on the unusual philanthropy taking place in their town.
“We’re not used to the sounds of laughter and joy coming from children and families in the center of town,” said one local resident. “It’s amazing.”