Picture the scene: 15 accountants dig the foundation for a school in the Nepalese village of Shaktinagar. After lunch, they split up to perform more manual labor, meet the village chief, or fish barefoot in knee-deep swamp water.
For this privilege, each Moss Adams employee raised $5,000, primarily to pay for construction materials, as well as some travel and logistics expenses. They also spent a week of personal vacation time and an average of $1,000 on immunizations and personal supplies. The October 2012 experience was so popular that this coming fall, the firm will send two teams of 15 on a second expedition organized by the nonprofit buildOn.
"It was an exceptional time," says Luc Arsenault, the partner at Moss Adams who spearheaded the trip. "To expand our horizons and travel abroad and be exposed to a new culture, there was a tremendous amount of benefit."
Residents of the village -- notable for dirt streets, no plumbing, and no Internet access -- include former indentured servants freed in 2000. "They were given a parcel of land and $150 to start their life," Arsenault says. Villagers committed their own resources and labor in a buildOn partnership to build the school for the children in the community.
Moss Adams employees returned home with a broader perspective on the world, a renewed appreciation for hard physical work, and even stronger connections to others at the firm.
Apple's iTunes Store is nearing 50 billion ? billion! ? downloads. Here are the most-downloaded tablet apps ever.