WASHINGTON, D.C. — When Corey Briscoe and three of his closest friends from Howard University were moving into the post-collegiate “real” world, they didn’t just vow to stay in touch. They started a business together — ABCD & Company, a national full-service marketing and events firm. And it wasn’t just notable as a business that grew out of a college friendship. It was a business that grew out of Corey and his friends’ desire to operate in thoughtful, giving ways. To create a culture of equity and compassion.
As their business grows, they've found a model, half a country away, in St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. And they haven’t just drawn inspiration from St. Jude and its unique mission, they’ve become big-hearted supporters — committing $100,000 to the cause over four years.
Here is Corey, in his own words, talking about the bond between St. Jude and his company, the power of African American philanthropy, and why there’s more to business than the traditional bottom line.
It was the red wagons. That’s what made it click.
When I walked into St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and saw red wagons as the mode of transportation for its patients, I immediately understood the level of thoughtfulness they had given to care. Seeing children pulled around in them showed me everything about this mission without a word. To me, it showed St. Jude would go to any length to remove even the smallest element of trauma from the experience of the children and families it cares for.
When I saw those red wagons, it made sense that a specialty research hospital was not only leading the way in science and healthcare, but leading the way in culture and innovation.
Yes, I was all in from the start. Not only because of the good work St. Jude was doing each day, but because of the potential that exists in this mission. The St. Jude history of inclusion and equity is powerful, and I saw an opportunity to champion St. Jude in my community and network. Historically, the African-American community is a powerhouse of giving, whether it’s church or civic organizations. This power is also reflected in the work of St. Jude. In this time of what I would call racial reckoning, challenges, and conversations, there are many institutions that are now coming out to have conversations around race and equity. St. Jude was at the forefront of that. Just look at its history and the mission Danny Thomas was creating even before St. Jude opened in 1962.
Like they say: St. Jude isn’t new to this, it’s true to this. It has a proven track record starting with being the first fully-integrated children’s hospital in the South, and extending through its long history treating and searching for cures for sickle cell disease.
And so, not only did my business partners, who are three of my best friends in the entire world, and I fully commit to supporting and volunteering at St. Jude events and radiothons, and serving on an advisory council for the DC market, but we looked to St. Jude when creating the culture of our own company. We strive to bring the level of excellence and equity into our work each day that St. Jude does for its work. I know what you might be thinking. A marketing and events firm is benchmarking its work off a children’s research hospital? That can’t be true. Can it?
It’s true. We want to match St. Jude in terms of thoughtfulness, consistency, and partnerships. We know St. Jude sees itself as a place without walls; stretching to help kids in need in communities all across the world. With a message like that, how could it not spill over to impact the thinking of business leaders, too?
As a Christian, St. Jude has always felt like an example of the Golden Rule to me. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That level of love, compassion and thought resonates deeply with me. And time and time again, St. Jude reminds me of how our kids should be cared for in their time of greatest need, regardless of race, religion, politics or financial circumstance. If we can start there, just maybe we can extend it to every person on the planet being cared for, regardless of circumstance, when they need it most.
When I look at St. Jude, I see an incredible national treasure unifying diverse groups around a greater purpose. I not only want to amplify this mission to more potential supporters, but I want to emulate it in my work as best I can. Because the more we all come together around a greater purpose, the better the world will be.