‘Community partners’

Megan Hanson, a volunteer from Goldman Sachs’ Parsippany, NJ, office, shares a laugh with Matheny student India Jones.

Investment banking firm Goldman Sachs has a global volunteer initiative called Community TeamWorks, which enables its employees to take a day out of the office and spend it volunteering with local nonprofit organizations. Last year, 50 Goldman Sachs offices linked up with more than 900 nonprofit “community partners” worldwide.

On Friday, June 6, several volunteers from Goldman Sachs offices in the New Jersey-New York area visited Matheny to spruce up the grounds and help out Matheny School students who were planting vegetable gardens as part of a science project. Last year, the students planted corn; this spring they are expanding the project to include several other vegetables.

Musical connection

From left, Anna Spencer, Bryan Zhu, Trisha Kaundiya and Rahil Shah.

When Trisha Kaundinya and three of her friends at Bridgewater-Raritan, NJ, High School formed a string quartet, the idea was to get together every week or so to socialize and practice playing music. But Kaundinya’s father is part of a group from the investment banking firm Goldman Sachs that regularly volunteers at Matheny, helping to spruce up the grounds. “He acquainted me with the special needs of the children,” said Trisha, “and informed me that many, if not most, of them are quite capable of learning and appreciating the fine arts.”

So Kaundinya and her friends recently performed for the students and patients at Matheny and “had a wonderful experience playing,” she said. “We could sense the acknowledgement from several children. Clearly they were engaged, and we felt that they connected with us through music. We walked away with a sense of satisfaction and developed an inner urge to do more. We would love to play again in a spring concert.”

Community gardening

Goldman Sachs volunteers hard at work.

As part of the company’s Community Works Day program, a group of volunteers from Goldman Sachs recently spent a day at Matheny sprucing up the grounds—adding topsoil in the garden in front of the main building, planting shrubs, putting mulch in flowerbeds and shrub areas and pruning plants and shrubs. All supplies, including tools, bushes, mulch and topsoil, were made possible by a Goldman Sachs grant of $2,830 to The Friends of Matheny, Matheny’s auxiliary group.

The day was coordinated by Goldman Sachs executive John Cembrook, a resident of Bernardsville, NJ. In addition to their work, the GS volunteers also enjoyed a tour of Matheny.