Carolina's Association Management Group Celebrates International Democracy Day

Community association management company, Association Management Group (AMG), finds tolerance is good for the world, communities, and business.

AMG, Association Management Group, one of the Carolinas' largest professional homeowners association managers, celebrated International Democracy Day on September 15 by reminding staff that understanding and acceptance were not only corporate core values but also a cornerstone of their services to clients. In its work with homeowner associations across NC and SC, AMG works hard to promote the concept of democracy-from training association boards in successful group decision-making to setting up procedures and systems to ensure residents are truly heard-because associations achieve the best results when, like democracies around the world, they are inclusive of varying ideas and cultures and respect others' ideas and rights. "This year's Democracy Day theme of Space for Civil Society is a reminder to both nations and business that to thrive, all voices should be heard and respected. This is especially vital in our business, which is all about teaching good governance," said AMG Founder and President Paul Mengert.

The news can seem bleak: A 2014 Pew Research Center study found that the number of countries with a high level of social and religious hostilities hit a six-year peak in 2012 at 33%, up from 29% in 2011 and 20% in mid-2007. Yet there's hope as well: the same instant access thanks to the Internet and social media that shows the dramas of everyday intolerance playing out in often tragic ways also, happily, connects us to a new phenomenon called The Values Revolution. Documented by Global Tolerance, a social business that combines profit and purpose to make the world a more peaceful, equal and happy place, The Values Revolution is a movement by consumers, especially Millennials, those born after 1980 and between the ages of 18 and 35 (and one of the largest generations in history), to want business to do good work-corporately and in the world.

The numbers are compelling: Nielson's third annual 2014 global online survey on corporate social responsibility discovered that 67% of 30,000 surveyed consumers in 60 countries prefer to work for socially responsible companies, 55% will pay extra to do business with those companies, 49% donate or volunteer at organizations doing social/environmental work and 49% were interested in racial, ethnic and cultural tolerance, which includes religion. AMG personifies those values in its five offices across North Carolina and South Carolina with a healthy do-gooding culture. Nearly 100% of employees volunteer for a variety of causes-from 5K runs benefitting a local food bank to disaster relief in Haiti.

It's an inclusive culture created by AMG founders Paul and May Gayle Mengert and, at its center, is tolerance. Paul Mengert, HOA thought leader, CAI (Community Associations Institute) industry educator and author of the book Understanding and Improving Group Decision-Making notes "When one takes the time to really understand differing perspectives, cultures, religions and backgrounds, great results are often achieved." Case in point, he successfully worked as an international housing consultant in Kazakhstan in the 1990s after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Over the course of 5 years working in a country with ethnic challenges, he and his colleagues privatized most of the nation's housing-and made deep, life-changing connections. "The work in Kazakhstan was about teaching people who had never before experienced democracy how to elect peers to govern communities and work together to brainstorm ideas and find solutions," Mengert explained. "USAID was very pleased with our work because not only did we achieve our stated objective and privatize housing, but we also taught about democracy on a small scale to people who had never experienced it before. People would ask, you mean this is how you do it in the US, you work together and everybody has the right to have an opinion on it? It was great to say, yes, and it works."

Paul also served on the US Board of Directors of Givat Haviva Educational Foundation, one of the oldest and largest Middle East peace education institutions. Givat Haviva is a non-profit that aims to build an inclusive, socially-cohesive society by engaging factions in collective action to advance a sustainable, thriving community based on mutual responsibility, civic equality and a shared vision of the future. He was a part of the board that won a UNESCO Prize for Peace Education to honor exceptional effort in the areas of peace education, the promotion of peace and non-violence, and for work done for the resolution of conflicts through dialogue. For two decades, the Mengerts have also supported The National Conference for Community and Justice of the Piedmont Triad, Inc. (NCCJ), a human relations organization that promotes understanding and respect among all cultures, races and religions through advocacy, education and dialogue.
And, this past spring, Paul and his son Matthew, traveled to Alabama to be a part of the anniversary celebration of the Selma Civil Rights March. Fifty years ago, civil rights activists organized a march from Selma to Montgomery to demand the right to vote in Alabama, a state that was profoundly segregated.

AMG is a standard-bearer in the HOA national community, respected for its use of the latest technology and business best practices to help clients build effective community associations. With a mission to help protect associations' interests and enhance the lives of community members while improving property values, it makes sense that they would be on the leading edge of religious tolerance. The Mengerts get it: they understand that building effective communities extends beyond their business. According to May Gayle, AMG Vice President and member of the Guilford College Board of Visitors, leadership on the issue of tolerance by the business community is important. "In the business of helping people manage their communities, we have learned everyone's opinion really does matter," she concludes. "We've seen that the valuing of people's ideas and mutual respect lead to the solution of many problems."

About AMG: AMG is a professional community association management company dedicated to building effective community associations. AMG guides and assists executive boards to help protect the association's interests, enhance the lives of community members and improve the property values in the community. With offices throughout the Carolinas in Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Charlotte and Raleigh NC, and Greenville and Aiken, SC, AMG is a knowledgeable partner in enforcing community governing documents with a proven set of processes and techniques, and supporting communities with a broad range of services which can be tailored to individual community needs. Association Management Group, Inc. is a locally Accredited Business by the BBB and is a nationally Accredited Association Management Company (AAMC) by the Community Associations Institute. For more about AMG, visit

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