A History of Giving Back

Along with his numerous responsibilities at HP Hood, Paul Nightingale explains why his charitable efforts outside of work are not just a job, but a calling

Along with his studies and extracurricular activities, Paul Nightingale found himself riding around in ambulances as an EMT when he was just in high school. It was all part of an Explorer Post program, as Nightingale devoted countless hours as an officer in the organization throughout high school and into college.

“I was very involved in that organization,” Nightingale recalls. “It was really one of the things that initially prompted my interest in volunteer work. It was something that was very rewarding to me at the time, and ever since then I thought this is something I have to keep doing in my life.”

Throughout the years, Nightingale has excelled in his efforts to give back, from previously coaching youth sports to his many years of work on a committee of alumni at his alma mater—Georgetown University—to his current efforts with the Plummer Home for Boys in Salem, Massachusetts.

Before becoming general counsel of HP Hood, a national company that distributes dairy products throughout the United States, Nightingale recalls that HP Hood’s charitable culture and strong community focus helped draw him to the role. “We knew the family that owned the company, and we knew about their interest in charitable activity,” Nightingale says. “That was certainly a factor that helped me decide that this was a place where I wanted to work, no question.”

Nightingale’s most significant nonprofit work currently is his involvement with the Board of Trustees of the Plummer Home for Boys in Salem, Massachusetts, where he is chairman of the board. Plummer Home provides a group home, foster care program, and after school program for children in the child welfare system and other at risk youth. He finds his involvement with Plummer Home especially rewarding in light of its critical mission.

He also values his work with the Board of Directors of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Northeast Chapter. When he joined HP Hood in 2003, a colleague of Nightingale’s asked him to be active with the board and extended an invitation. Nightingale then went on to become president of the chapter from 2013 to 2015.

The chapter provides programs and opportunities for members on substantive legal topics, career development, networking, and pro bono projects.  “It’s a good group of people,” he says. “We have twenty-two high-level lawyers from companies around [New England] on the board. It’s something that really has given me a lot of professional satisfaction. I have enjoyed being a part of it very much.”

Nightingale and his wife, Kate, also serve together on the Georgetown University Alumni Admissions Committee. For years, Georgetown has had alumni volunteers interview students as part of the admissions process. Nightingale and his wife chair a committee of some forty alumni who interview students applying to Georgetown from north of Boston. In addition to interviewing, every year the Nightingales go to the university for a weekend conference on the latest trends in the college admissions process.

“It has kept us in touch and in tune with the whole college admissions scene,” Nightingale says. “We have three sons, and our last one is just now in college, so it has been helpful to have that perspective. We guided our sons through that process ourselves and now counsel a lot of our friends’ kids through it, because people know that we do this and have a lot of experience with it.”

Nightingale admits it can be challenging balancing time between his charitable efforts, work, and personal life. But he credits much of this to HP Hood’s strong focus on community service, as well as his commitment to help others in any way he can.

As he approaches retirement in the next decade or so, Nightingale says his charitable efforts will not slow down. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. “One of the things I want to do as my work winds down is do more volunteer work and serve on boards of volunteer organizations whose missions I relate to,” he says. “It’s an objective I have for the future, and it’s a great way to stay active in retirement.”