Lesson 1 Go Deep Into Community

Lesson 1: Go Deep Into Community

NST Announces 2024 Philanthropic Partner

NST’s involvement in the community has been a critical part of our business for 50 years. When Bob Smith and Dave Nuffer first opened the doors to NST, they strategically decided to get involved in the San Diego community. At first, it was a new business approach centering on the idea that if agency leaders donated their time to the region’s top business and nonprofit organizations, NST would make a name for itself by being known by the region’s movers and shakers. It worked and business began pouring in.

But the success in those early years wasn’t rooted in simply being in the room. The initial client acquisition strategy became coupled with a deep-rooted desire to make a difference. Dave and Bob became passionate about using their talents to positively impact the community and world. They learned early on that having a purpose-driven organization – one that makes their communities and world better – provides inspiration to a variety of stakeholders and generates both personal and professional success.

Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find an organization in town that has not been positively impacted by the community service of our firm’s leaders – United Way of San Diego, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, San Diego Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego, LEAD San Diego, San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross, San Diego State University Alumni Association and San Diego Council on Literacy are but a few. And while the agency’s leaders have long been involved in the community, we know the desire to do purposeful work stems from every level of our organization, from our interns and administrative staff to the C-suite. That’s why in 2023, NST continued the firm’s legacy of service with the Make Things Better Initiative, which allows everyone at NST to serve.

As part of the program, each year the team will select a cause. The 2024 cause was easily identified and well supported by all: nutrition and food insecurity. The cause is well-aligned with our organizational purpose to better ourselves, our partners and the world around us. In fact, the team recognizes the interconnectedness between nutrition and food insecurity, and numerous other societal challenges. What’s more, our history working with food and agricultural organizations and in tracking food and health trends has taught us that the goal is not only ensuring people have food – but also ensuring they have access to nutritious food and resources to support good health and wellness. The challenge is significant. Consider:

  • The issue of nutrition insecurity revolves around addressing hunger through access to foods that are essential to optimal health and well-being. This is critical to improving public health, as poor nutrition is a leading cause of illness in the United States. Approximately, 600,000 Americans die each year due to diet-related diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease (Source: United States Department of Agriculture).
  • Nutrition insecurity disproportionately impacts people of color. In San Diego County, the Hispanic/Latino population makes up 33% of the county, yet they constitute 50% of the nutrition insecure population, which is the largest disparity by race/ethnicity in our region. In total, as of June 2023, nearly 1 in 4 (24%) San Diegans experience nutrition insecurity(Source: San Diego Hunger Coalition).
  • The economy has a big impact on nutrition insecurity. Contributing economic factors in San Diego County, according to San Diego Hunger Coalition, include higher food prices, housing, fuel and energy, household debt and low-wage jobs – all of which are currently compounding the issue of nutrition insecurity.

This year, NST’s primary philanthropic partner for its Make Things Better initiative is the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank. NST will partner with the food bank to address nutrition and food insecurity and foster positive community change through targeted initiatives supporting the food bank and its non-profit partners. NST’s efforts aim to improve access to nutritious food resources, promote community well-being and combat hunger in the region.

As we celebrate NST’s 50th year in business, we recognize that a lot has changed … but many things remain the same. Our commitment to community is one of them.

This column is part of a 2024 series that celebrates learnings from NST’s 50 years in business.