- Social Media
- Active Citizenship
- Good Giving
- Corporate Responsibility
- Be Fearless
Earlier this week, corporate philanthropy and social responsibility took center stage at yet another sold-out annual Corporate Philanthropy Summit, organized by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy. While the broad theme of the conference was Shaping the Future: Pathways to 2020, it was also clear that the recent past - in the wake of corporate scandal and continued deterioration of the public's trust in corporations - certainly had a big influence on the discussion.
The conference featured thought-provoking presentations and panel discussions from leaders in corporate philanthropy and responsibility, covering topics that ranged from business' role in solving societal problems, to improving the strategic impact of service initiatives, the importance of strategies for effective measurement, to integrating the spirit of philanthropy within a corporate culture.
On Wednesday afternoon, our CEO, Jean Case participated in a panel discussion with Cheryl Dorsey, President of Echoing Green and moderated by Matthew Bishop, New York bureau chief of the Economist and co-author of the books Philanthrocapitalism and The Road from Ruin. The topic was "Finding and Funding the Next Big Idea," and all three speakers seemed to agree that we're in a transformative time, given increased public scrutiny and demand for companies to better embrace responsibility into their DNA, and the transformative effect that new technologies - in particular social media - are having on the world of philanthropy overall. The panelists also discussed the need for more transparency around mistakes and lessons learned, and the need for better tolerance of risk when it comes to corporate philanthropy. Here are a few tweets from those who attended the session:
@kbuckland: Finding and funding the next big idea... Jean Case and Cheryl Dorsey driving conversation and thought. Innovation sometimes means risk #CECP
@carolcone:#cecp philanthropy embedded in social media is part of DNA of a co; it will transform the way people relate to the world - Jean Case
@DarellHammond: @mattbish to @jeancase "do funders not collaborate because they are seeking credit and recognition?" #CECP
@powerofsocinnov: agreed RT @DarellHammond @jeancase "fear of making mistakes could prevent big changes from happening & find the really big solutions" #CECP
@msmithDC: @echoinggreen celebrates failure. Vital to embrace failure in CSR if we're going to have success. #cecp
Another highlight of the conference were the lunch keynotes. On the first day, General Colin Powell shared his thoughts on the importance of making sure that philanthropy is more than just delivering a check. He also talked about his work with the organization he founded along with his wife, the America's Promise Alliance, and urged the audience to consider the importance of focusing on youth in America as the future leaders of our country - and our corporations.
The second day's keynote featured Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter, who presented his theory on the need to take corporate social responsibility further through the concept of "creating shared value," which he defined as a company's efforts to enhance competitiveness while simultaneously advancing the economic and social conditions for the communities in which they work.
Earlier this year, Jean also served as a judge for CECP's Excellence Awards, which were presented at the conference. Congratulations to the following organizations for setting an example for others to follow:
- Intel Corporation, for its Intel Teach program, which has trained more than 6 million teachers in 50 countries on how to integrate technology into their lessons, promoting problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration skills among their students.
- General Mills, for its African Women and Children's Hunger Program, designed to tackle underlying causes of hunger and poverty by educating, empowering and financially supporting Malawian and Tanzanian women in their roles as farmers, food processors and providers for their families and communities.
- Boston Beer Company, for its Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program, which in partnership with ACCION USA, America’s leading nonprofit microlending organization, provides small-business owners in the food and beverage industry with the tools and resources they need to become financially independent.
- Partners in Health, for its multi-year partnership with Eli Lilly and Company to respond to an outbreak of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.
I think it's safe to say that the attendees of the conference took away a lot of food for thought during what is sure to be a time of major reflection and transformation when it comes to corporate philanthropy and social responsibility.
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