Giving Back: Anthony Corsano on the Deeper Meaning Behind Making a Difference
BY ANTHONY CORSANO
Making a difference closer to home
Not shy about offering thoughtful opinions on serious topics ranging from giving back to what it means to be a hero, Anthony Corsano, Chairman of the Board of Decorators and President of Bolt Printing, sat down to talk philosophically about everyday efforts to do the right thing. “I think with all the madness in the world, it just feels like we have a sense of the impact of what we're attempting,” says Corsano, “It's just where we are — whatever changes we're trying to make, we're trying to make them in a small way.”
How does something as small and simple as a T-shirt make a difference? For a local initiative in need of support or an individual artist in need of merch, the contribution of a custom print run can be a meaningful gift that can keep giving. Following that gift from a printer in Connecticut down to a music organization in Nashville and back up north to a singer-songwriter in Minneapolis, the effort behind a contribution can build community at different points along the way.
The starting point of the journey begins with The Board of Decorators and a simple pledge to give back beyond the boardroom. Throughout the year, each member chooses a local community organization they want to support through the BOD for Good project. Bolt Printing paired with The Hometown Hero Initiative at Innovo Management to celebrate and honor the 2021 Initiative winner — singer-songwriter Kat Perkins, who performed almost 200 curbside concerts in her hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, during the pandemic. Perkins’ heroic efforts raised enough money to provide 6,000 meals for people in need around the Twin Cities.
It just seems like the right thing to do
When asked how Bolt came to be part of the Hometown Hero initiative, Corsano acknowledges how a chance phone call played a part, “You know, sometimes it’s just great timing. It happened to come at us. It was a customer and it sounded like a cool initiative.” Thinking about how business can give back is a big question — and sometimes it has a small answer. In this instance it was a small print run of custom T-shirts to support the winner of the Hometown Hero Initiative. Music fans all over the United States nominated their favorite artist who used their talents to create an impact in their local community.
Focus on the effort
“I’m cognizant of the little bit of difference we can make. But the real work was done by Kat,” says Corsano. “She spent the year using her music trying to bring joy to a time when people were locked down.” Kat Perkins played throughout the pandemic in the searing heat and frigid cold of Minneapolis’ weather. Pulling up her tour van to curbs all over the city, even in front of the Governor’s Mansion, Kat kept performing. “I always say I have a ‘double major’ in music and philanthropy and while giving back to my community comes naturally to me every day, it feels good to be recognized for it. My hope is that this will inspire people all over the world to do the same! Music is a gift I’m grateful to give” says Kat. Corsano agrees on the impact music can have. “Music can really move you, it can change your mental state, and move your spirit,” says Corsano, “if I hear one of my favorite songs it just puts me in a better place.”
Be part of the solution, not part of the problem
“I think being a small, family-owned business, you can get involved in different projects and commit to supporting them,” says Corsano. Speaking with the wisdom of 40+ years of extensive experience in the printwear industry, Corsano isn’t afraid to question how an individual or a company can create true meaning behind giving back. He acknowledges that a key part is that it just feels good to help out in any way, “A business is about the people, it really is, and when you are in a manufacturing business, it's about the people 10 times more.” The everyday effort behind doing the right thing adds up, whether in the office or outside the print shop floor. “We get up every day and try to be part of the solution, try to be positive and try to help wherever we can, whoever we can,” he says, “I think what we're trying to do more is connect locally. Whether that’s locally with the customer, at home, or in this community.”
Hometown Hero. Innovo. Bolt and The BOD.
Four organizations. One initiative. Countless musician nominees. One winner — Kat Perkins. 6,000 meals. It all adds up when different people stand up and show up to support each other. One short T-shirt run started a long conversation across meaningful topics and sparked inspiration, demonstrating how even a simple T-shirt is full of different kinds of potential. In response to one last question, ‘What makes a hero?” Corsano thinks for a minute. “I think hero can be defined in different ways, right? Heroes are those people that come into our lives and make a difference.”
Note: Interviews are conducted via video and edited for length and clarity.