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- Be Fearless
Today, on International Corporate Philanthropy Day, the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy is challenging its membership of over 150 leading corporate CEOs to take the uncomfortable step of thinking about what the world—and environment for business—will look like in the year 2020 if we don’t adapt to a new solutions-oriented mindset on the social issues we face locally and globally.
Frankly, most organizations refuse to look so far into the future because the pace of change is too rapid. Thinking even 18 months ahead can feel like a lifetime. And yet, there are some risks and opportunities that it is best to prepare for now while we have a full range of options available to us. The longer we wait, the narrower our choices become.
This is true not only for today’s multi-national corporations, but for every individual and organization that shares a passion for social change and justice. As the complexity of issues affecting local and global communities continues to escalate, it has become increasingly clear that no single actor in the philanthropic realm can hope to match the impact of organizations working in concert. There is simply too much work to be done and too much ground to cover.
In that light, the most important and inspiring trend that I see across our corporate membership is the commitment to proactively engage in problem-solving on tough issues. The walls and silos that separate funders, grantees, governments, multilaterals, activists and others are falling away as each change agent instead focuses on bringing its unique skills and resources to bear on today’s most difficult social challenges.
Nonprofits and other independent sector players have the on-the-ground knowledge, theories of change, and the local manpower to ensure that the right services are delivered with integrity. Private foundations bring subject matter expertise and funding. Community members add a nuanced understanding of the cultural strengths that can be harnessed to turn challenges into opportunities. For their part, in addition to funding, corporations bring expertise in marketing, logistics, research and development, and project management. Multilateral organizations and academic institutions have, among other skills, the ability to unite and coordinate those seeking to make a difference. By fitting these pieces together, the result is much more than the sum of the individual parts.
This fact is at the heart of President Obama’s message to those celebrating International Corporate Philanthropy Day. To further celebrate this potential, CECP is:
- Bringing together over 500 representatives from all sectors at the United Nations to focus on Millennium Development Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
- Releasing a groundbreaking new research report available as a free download: “Measuring the Value of Corporate Philanthropy: Social impact, business benefits, and investor returns,” that assesses current practices and measurement trends in corporate philanthropy
- Ringing the Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange
- Highlighting initiatives from member companies
- Lighting the Empire State Building in New York and the clock tower of the Wrigley Building in Chicago in the colors of ICPD, blue and green
- Working with the media to educate the public on the good work happening across sectors to take a proactive and collaborative approach
We invite those who share this conviction to join us in stepping forward to share their initiatives, milestones, and hopes for the future on Twitter: #ICPD2010 (International Corporate Philanthropy Day 2010). Those seeking to engage in the process of making a difference are strongly encouraged to lend their voice to this conversation.
The world is changing under our feet, but we must recognize that we have the capacity to take action and steer our course to the future. This is what CECP is encouraging our members to do. We hope you’ll join us in fostering the skill sets and mindsets needed to make it work.
Charles Moore is the Executive Director of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), the only international forum of business CEOs and chairpersons focused exclusively on corporate philanthropy.
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