Close-up view of a back of a young man and friends supporting him

How far we’ll go to help

An unconventional approach to boost wellness for veterans. Comprehensive services for people in need. It’s what our team members do, and it’s why they won a $10,000 Baker Tilly Wishes grant. 

Baker Tilly Wishes brings the resources of our firm and our people together to tackle big issues. Learn how three team members invest their time to help their neighbors.     

Read about the full impact of 2022 Baker Tilly Wishes grants in the Baker Tilly Foundation Annual Report.  

23rd Veteran 

23rd Veteran

Senior Tax Associate Brandon Engels has not served in the military, but he has always had an interest in helping those who have made that sacrifice. So, when Brandon saw a flyer at his gym looking for volunteers for 23rd Veteran, he was inspired to get involved as a fitness instructor.  

Creating positive triggers  

23rd Veteran offers 14-week mental health programs for veterans who have left the military and struggle to transition to civilian life, with the goal of helping veterans live a life free from isolation, anxiety, panic and depression.  

The program includes wellness, fitness and recovery. During the 14 weeks, veterans hike and dine out together, exercise, discuss mental health and visit a gun range. Each activity is designed for each veteran to experience potential triggers, with the goal of converting negative triggers from military experiences to new positive memories.   

The program features group fitness activities followed by discussions to encourage mindfulness. 

For the fitness portion, Brandon leads exercises three days a week before work. After each workout, Brandon leads a discussion group. He also regularly joins in the other group activities and stays in touch with members after they graduate from the program.   

“Through volunteering, I have seen firsthand the impact that this program has on veterans,” said Brandon. “Before the program, many of them were afraid to leave the house, but after, not only were they eager to try new things, but they also felt a new sense of purpose.”  

The cost of sending one veteran is nearly $5,000, and thanks to the Baker Tilly Wishes grant, more veterans will have the chance to go through this potentially life-saving program.  

A family effort to help the homeless

A family effort to help the homeless

When Bay Area Shared Services Director Bob Daoro first volunteered with Compass Family Services nearly 30 years ago, the organization was struggling. A lack of funding and no accounting infrastructure meant Bob had his work cut out for him.   

“When I first joined, I realized they were in dire straits,” he said. “Since then, the organization has evolved to be the primary access point for families in need in the San Francisco area.”   

Bob, who volunteers on the board of directors, is often joined in his efforts by his wife Joanie, and his two children, Emily and Ned.   

The organization helps families stabilize through comprehensive services that include temporary housing, childcare, healthcare and mental health services, as well as teaching and coaching for parents and job seekers.   

During the holidays, the organization sets up donation drives for families in need, and each year the Baker Tilly San Francisco office “adopts” a family, giving team members an opportunity to shop for clothing and gifts for the parents and their children.   

Bob said the Baker Tilly Wishes grant has enhanced their mental health services for families in temporary housing.   

“Compass needs our support because of the increase demand in mental health, eviction protection and temporary housing services,” Bob said.  

Who do you call?

Who do you call?

On paper, Help at Your Door fills an important role in Minneapolis - St. Paul metro area by providing seniors and people with disabilities with groceries and services to maintain their independence. But to Lou Oldenburg, Senior Technology Manager, it's so much more than that. 

“I started volunteering with them around 15 years ago, and since then I’ve met some wonderful people,” Lou said. “For some clients, we're a lifeline to them, not just for goods and services, but also as a social connection — we may be the only person they’ve spoken to all week.”

Lou, who calls her clients each week to take their grocery orders, said she’s built friendships with her clients and their families. 

Not just a delivery service

In addition to grocery delivery, Help at Your Door also provides transportation and handyman services, which all contribute to helping people live independently in their current homes. The grocery assistance goes a step further than other delivery services, in that volunteers will help unload the groceries, put them away and open any stubborn jars or packaging. 

Clients pay a fee for the services provided by the not-for-profit, but services are subsidized for those with lower incomes, and the organization accepts SNAP benefits.