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Why is civic involvement important?


By Jack L. Werner, Ph.D.
A to Z Inspections

In my opinion every business owner should be an active member of their local chamber of commerce, a civic organization, such as Rotary, and their professional association. Three reasons that you should be involved in civic organizations:

•   It makes a better stronger community. Let me ask you, does putting together and giving away thousands of bikes to poor kids at Christmas make your community a little nicer?  Do organized trash pick-up days? Does meeting with the chief of police regarding teenagers gathering in front of your store and leaving broken beer bottles help you?  Does repairing and painting the disabled veteran’s home? Does raising money for the Boy Scouts and Salvation Army help make your community a little better? These are things your local civic organizations do regularly.

•   It makes a better, stronger country. In Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy (Princeton University Press 1993), Robert Putnam and two other professors concluded from their academic research that social capital is the key to big institutional performance and the maintenance of democracy. “[G]overnment performed best , holding other factors constant, where there were strong traditions of civic engagement,” they said. Putnam went on to specify that this means involvement in organizations that today would be called the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Kiwanis, etc.  Putnam said something else that leads to my third point.

•   Active long-term participation in civic organizations builds you and builds your business. It is good for your business. As Putnam put it, “Civil society creates wealth. Wealth does not create a civic society.”

Call me. Be my guest at Rotary or the Chamber of Commerce or both. Wouldn’t you like to leave things a little better than you found them?

Jack L. Werner owns A to Z Inspections, a commercial and residential inspection company serving the southwest ( His column appears regularly in the monthly print editions of The City Sentinel. He teaches home inspections for Francis Tuttle Career Tech and is an NAHB-certified instructor, teaching Certified Aging in Place and Universal Design courses for the Oklahoma Home Builders Association. Jack serves on the board of the Daily Living Centers and was appointed by Governor Mary Fallin to the Oklahoma Board of Private Vocational Schools. He is a 40-year member of Rotary and has served as past president of SOKC Rotary and the SOKC Chamber of Commerce. He twice served as president of Oklahoma Residential and Commercial Inspection Association and is a founding board member of InterNACHI Oklahoma. Jack served with the United States Army, December 1, 1966 – December 1, 1970; Russian linguist, 4th Infantry Division, K Co., 75th Airborne Rangers, two tours in Vietnam.  He can be reached at 405/412-7861 or [email protected].

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