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 The mission of the "Your Mark on the World Center" is to solve the world's biggest problems before 2045 by identifying and championing the work of experts who have created credible plans and programs to end them once and for all.
Crowdfunding for Social Good
Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

CSR

This category includes articles about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), typically including donations to or other support for nonprofit organizations.

Teaming Up Locally to Help Out Globally

This is a guest post from Angie Stocklin’s, COO and Co-Founder of One Click.

It’s nearly 2016 and time to wrap up a season of giving. Family and friends gathered together to count collective blessings and to share food, stories and gifts. We are, as New Year’s approaches, entering the handful of days when we are all focused on making and keeping promises — about how to treat ourselves better and how to treat others like we treat ourselves. So, it’s the perfect moment to reflect on the ways we can and do give back; to think about how we share the fruits of our success with those who need help the most.

Our mission statement calls on One Click, from senior leadership to our entry-level team members, to “enrich lives by helping people find the eyewear meant for them.” For those most desperately in need, “the eyewear meant for them” means the reading glasses and sunglasses we provide at no cost through our partner in giving — Timmy Global Health.

Timmy Global is a local (Indianapolis) 501(c)3 dedicated to providing, improving and expanding healthcare and health-related programs in Latin America. Their goal is to establish long-term, sustainable programs to provide a variety of assistance including clean drinking water and on-site health exams. All of this is built around long-term, individualized profiles. Medical teams who visit every 2-3 months will come equipped with the medical history of their patients in order to provide the most effective, efficient care possible.

The fit for us is a natural one. We’re able to provide Timmy with reading glasses that can be crucial to a family in need when their means of earning a living depends upon being able to see up close, such as weaving or fine beadwork. We’re also able to provide sunglasses that serve both as protection from the brightness of the sun, as well as from diseases of the eye that arise from the accumulation of fine dust and plant particles.

For so many people around the world, being able to see through a reading lens or a UV tint means being able to perform vital work. When, for some, cost and availability of that eyewear is insurmountable, access to relatively low cost eyewear can become a matter of basic survival.

In our partnership with Timmy Global Health, we’re not just giving the eyewear to individuals; we’re giving eyewear to individuals so that they can continue to provide for their families. When their families are strong, it means that they can work together to make stronger villages. When those communities are healthy and vibrant, when they become thriving social and economic centers, they are less likely to need help so that Timmy can concentrate on bringing aid to the next community in need.

Because our partner is local, we’re able to make low-cost deliveries of high volumes of product without having to cut back on the amount of help we’re able to give. Which in return means that our giving can be more efficient, wide-ranging and, ultimately, helpful. And, just as importantly, we’re able to spend time getting to know the Timmy Global Health team. Sometimes, saying “hi” and “how are you doing?” leads to conversations that develop into decisions that lead to increased efficiency, bigger ideas and, most importantly, the ability to simply help as best we can.

So, in this season of promises — of introspection and dedication to bettering ourselves and the world around us — we are proud to renew our commitment to improve the lives of people in need. We are incredibly blessed to be in a position to help the less fortunate and grateful to have a local partnership so perfectly suited to making that help as effective as possible.

AngieStocklinHeadshot

About Angie Stocklin:

Twitter: @easterday77

Angie Stocklin, COO and Co-Founder, along with her husband Randy, of One Click, oversees business operations including customer service, order fulfillment, merchandising and vendor account management for felix + iris, Readers.com and Sunglass Warehouse.

 

New Online Course Teaches You How to Add Profit by Adding Purpose

Yes, this is a shameless plug for my new online course, but don’t stop reading, yet!

 

Over the past 18 months or so, I have produced five courses for online training company Pluralsight. Today, the site published the most recent of those courses, “How to Add Profit to Your Business by Adding Purpose.”

Over the past few decades, a transition has occurred that has changed the way most people think about social causes and corporate responsibility. The old-school notion that we make money at work and do good on our own time is just that, old school.

The cool kids are all integrating their lives such that their careers, investments, and consumer behaviors all align with their core values. Fewer and fewer people today are willing to go to work all day at a job they merely tolerate so that they can put food on the tables. People want to live on purpose!

Because of that demographic shift, companies can–some would argue must–incorporate purpose into their business strategies in order to reach the right employees and the bulk of customers who are willing to make purchasing decisions based on social causes.

The new course makes the case that companies can clearly add profits by strategically adding purpose to their business and goes on to explain exactly how to go about incorporating a cause into the business model to do so.

The course wraps up with a case study on Estee Lauder’s MAC Cosmetics brand, which thrives because of its decades long role in fighting the AIDS epidemic. Over the years, I’ve covered this story a few times for Forbes.

Now, I’ve compiled all of the corporate social responsibility wisdom I’ve gathered from my 25 year business career and five years of writing about social causes and corporate social responsibility into this new course on Pluralsight. You can take the entire course for free using a trial membership or for no additional charge if you’re already a subscriber.

Pluralsight is recognized as a tech “unicorn,” raising $135 million in their last venture round. It is also a notable example of a purpose-oriented business itself, working to enable learning at radically affordable rates.

New Collaboration Brings More CSR Coverage

One of my role models is a young social entrepreneur, Nidhi Singh, in India who has created a platform not unlike the Your Mark on the World Center to cover corporate social responsibility (CSR), social entrepreneurship, impact investing and philanthropy in India.

Nidhi reached out to me about six months ago to explore a collaboration between the Your Mark on the World Center and her platform, CSRlive.in. We are excited to be doing so, cross sharing content to give her audience direct access to our stories and our audience direct access to hers.

India recently passed a law requiring all corporations to do some CSR. Nidhi explains, “The new mandatory CSR law has opened up a world of possibilities for Corporate India to do good and contribute strategically to equitable, sustainable growth in India. So I would not say this is a problem, rather a tremendous opportunity that has materialized for all CSR & Sustainability professionals to work, collaborate and create real, on-ground impact with some real funds (INR 25,000 Cr/ $4.5 Billion annually) that are now available specifically for this purpose. There are many companies that have been voluntarily executing CSR projects but many more new companies (approximately 16,500) have now come under the ambit of the new CSR law. CSRlive aims to facilitate the process of optimum utilization of this CSR spend.”

Nidhi has ambitious plans for CSRlive. She says, “As an online platform dedicated to briging news, updates, policy changes, and expert opinions in the CSR & Sustianability sector; we promote best practises, thereby inspiring and encouraging more of the best to take a foothold, grow and expand. We facilitate connections between relevant stakeholders – for example – a genuine NGO looking to survive/scale up can present it’s case and funding requirements to a Corporate company looking for an authentic project that is aligned with their CSR policy. If there is a noteworthy activity in the CSR & Sustainability domain, CSRlive will be its voice. Going forward, we also aim to acknowledge best practises through CSRlive Change-Makers Awards.”

Nidhi has an inspiring vision for the future. “We believe in the power of a good story that is well told to engage and inspire people towards greater good! Getting transferred to the CSR division is still considered ‘Corporate suicide’ (though unadmittedly)- and CSRlive is committed to turning this around with its reportage and passion to connect and bring the right people to the right jobs and the right funds to the right organizations and individuals. The success of CSRlive will be in facilitating a change in mindset – which in itself is half the battle won,” she says.

On Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at 11:00 Eastern, Nidhi will join me here for a live discussion about CSRlive and the promise of the new CSR law in India. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.


You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about CSRlive.in:

Twitter: @CSRlive_In

CSRlive is positioned as India’s credible, livewire news platform dedicated to the social sector and CSR practices presenting content that is delivered using innovative social media engagement, cutting edge technology and a sterling team of subject matter Journalists. We intend to create new benchmarks with frontline reportage on CSR, Sustainability, Philanthropy and Corporate Citizenship. We aim to not only inform, but to establish long-term partnerships with different stakeholders, creating a synergy between available resources and needs of communities. Through CSRlive.in, we intend to give voice and strength to every noteworthy activity in this sector, whether undertaken by a small gram Panchayat or a large multinational Company. As a part of our long-term strategy, we will identify, analyze and acknowledge the best practices and the real change-makers in the social sector, through our proprietary Award modules.

Nidhi Singh, courtesy of CSRlive.in

Nidhi Singh, courtesy of CSRlive.in

Nidhi’s bio:

Twitter: @nidstertalk

Nidhi is a prominent Social Entrepreneur and a well known name in the field of Advisory and Communication in the sustainability space. She is a former Television Journalist and has worked with leading National Channels like Star News and TV Today Network in various capacities widely reporting on lifestyle, fashion and trends. As a successful entrepreneur Nidhi is co-founder of thecsrjournal.in, Indigreen – a fair trade, organic clothing label & The Green People of India (TGPI) – a collective of sustainable enterprises across India. Nidhi is very passionate about Yoga and is a long time practitioner of Kriya Yoga Meditation as taught by Paramahansa Yogananda (Autobiography of a Yogi).

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to our content here.

Devin D. Thorpe

HSNi CEO’s Seeing Children’s Plight First Hand ‘Emboldened’ Effort

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

HSNi’s efforts to support needy children around the world through its partnership with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF provide lessons for social entrepreneurs seeking to have impact at scale.

HSNi CEO Mindy Grossman provides some background for its partnership, saying, “HSNi Cares was established in 2010 with a mission to empower women and support children and families in need locally, nationally and globally. All children, regardless of their income, ethnicity or geography have the right to be protected and be given the opportunity to reach their full potential which is why our global HSNi Cares partner is the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. UNICEF does whatever it takes to save and protect the world’s most vulnerable children. Through our partnership we raise both critical funds and awareness.”

For Grossman, the cause is personal. She says, “I joined the national board for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF in 2012 and over the past three years have had the opportunity to see UNICEF’s work firsthand both in Senegal in 2012 and Guatemala in 2015. Exposure to the challenges children face around the world has emboldened me to do more to support the organization and have even greater impact. “

She now serves as the Vice Chair of the National board of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “Through HSNi Cares, we have recently concluded our third annual awareness and fundraising campaign for the U.S. Fund,” she adds. “I’m so proud to be able to use my platform as CEO to make such a meaningful impact.”

She notes that in 2015, all eight HSNi brands supported the campaign, bringing the total raised since 2013 to over $2 million.

She goes on to say, “Recently we held our 3rd annual HSN Cares Primetime Special for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and joined forces with Star Wars to bring customers fun, relevant product while raising awareness for the organization. Their generosity during this campaign will help provide medicine, nutrition, clean water, education and more to children around the world. In addition to financial contributions, we leveraged our platform to purposefully shine a spotlight on a global crisis. Generating both understanding and awareness is a critical element in creating meaningful long term impact.”

Grossman will receive the “Spirit of Compassion Award” at UNICEF’s Snowflake Ball on December 1, 2015.

Social entrepreneurs will note the importance of personal passion and commitment to a cause as a key take away from the HSNi social impact efforts.

On Tuesday, November 24, 2015 at 5:00 Eastern, Grossman will join me for a live discussion about the partnership with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and its impact. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about HSNi:

Twitter: @HSN

HSN, Inc. (Nasdaq:HSNI) is a $4 billion interactive multichannel retailer with strong direct-to-consumer expertise among its two operating segments, HSN and Cornerstone. HSNi offers innovative, differentiated retail experiences on TV, online, via mobile devices, in catalogs, and in brick and mortar stores. HSN, a leading interactive multichannel retailer which offers a curated assortment of exclusive products combined with top brand names, now reaches 95 million homes (24 hours a day, seven days a week, live 364 days a year). HSN.com offers a differentiated digital experience by leveraging content, community and commerce. In addition to its existing media platforms, HSN is the industry leader in transactional innovation, including services such as HSN Shop by Remote®, the only service of its kind in the U.S., the HSN Shopping App for mobile handheld devices and HSN on Demand®. Cornerstone comprises leading home and apparel lifestyle brands including Ballard Designs®, Chasing Fireflies®, Frontgate®, Garnet Hill®, Grandin Road®, Improvements® and TravelSmith®. Cornerstone distributes approximately 325 million catalogs annually, operates seven separate digital sales sites and operates 11 retail and outlet stores.

Mindy Grossman, courtesy of HSNi

Mindy Grossman, courtesy of HSNi

Grossman’s bio:

Twitter: @mindygrossman

Mindy Grossman is the CEO of HSNi a $4 billion direct-to-consumer retail portfolio that includes live content retailer HSN and the Cornerstone portfolio of home and family lifestyle brands. Mindy joined IAC, HSNi’s former parent company, in 2006 as CEO of IAC Retail. In 2008 she took the company public. During her tenure she has positioned HSNi as a leader in boundaryless retail, offering customers a seamless shopping experience across – television, catalogue, online and mobile. Today nearly half of the company’s revenue is generated through digital commerce. With nearly four decades of experience at some of the world’s most iconic brands including; Tommy Hilfiger, Polo Ralph Lauren RL +2.38% Company and Nike NKE +0.00%, Mindy is known as a transformational leader. She has been named one of Fortune magazine’s “Top Persons in Business,” Forbes’ “Top 100 Most Powerful Women,” and Fast Company’s “Top 100 Most Creative People in Business.” Mindy serves on the boards of the National Retail Federation, Bloomin’ Brands and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

Overstock’s Byrne Offers Advice To Social Entrepreneurs

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Overstock’s founder and CEO, Patrick Byrne, is himself an accomplished social entrepreneur. Overstock’s lesser known affiliate Worldstock was an early entrant in the social enterprise space.

Worldstock sources artisinal products from around the world, largely from underprivileged women, and makes them available to people in the U.S. and elsewhere in the developed world at prices that provides fair earnings to the artisans. All Worldstock orders ship “carbon neutral” to the customer.

Byrne offers three key observations to help social entrepreneurs.

  1. Entrepreneurship is key: “The key to elevating the standard of living in developing countries is not through foreign aid, but through encouraging entrepreneurship. Part of that calls for engaging in fair trade with the actual producers in these nations. Overstock’s fair trade division, called Worldstock, began doing this before fair trade was even a popular concept.”
  2. Free enterprise must be defended: “Our nation’s future growth depends on fair and robust capital markets, without which, free enterprise is condemned to stagnate and wither. To that end, we must strive for an economic meritocracy, where the best ideas are rewarded and regulators act to protect all market participants, not just the biggest players.”
  3. School choice is key: “Our nation’s future growth also depends on access to intellectual capital, which in turn requires a strong education system. When schools are failing their students, it’s our moral obligation to give those students options, including the ability to attend better performing schools. School choice is of paramount importance.”

On Tuesday, November 24, 2015 at 6:00 PM Eastern, Byrne will join me for a live discussion about his insights for social entrepreneurs and change agents. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about Overstock:

Twitter: @overstock

We are an online retailer. Founded in 1999, gone public in 2002. First year revenues of just under $2-million, today revenues approach $2-billion. Over 1,500 employees. We were initially created as a liquidation channel for the first waves of failed dotcoms. Today we’ve evolved into a first run retailer selling everything from toasters to patio furniture.

Patrick Byrne, courtesy of Overstock

Patrick Byrne, courtesy of Overstock

Byrne’s bio:

Twitter: @OverstockCEO

Patrick M. Byrne, CEO, launched Overstock.com in 1999 with revenues of $1.8 million. In 2014 Overstock.com had revenues of $1.5 billion and net income of $8.8 million. Forbes magazine named Overstock.com the No. 9 Best Company to Work for in the Country for 2010, and Byrne the CEO with the highest employee approval rating (92%). Byrne received the 2011 Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

In 2001, Byrne began Worldstock Fair Trade, an Overstock.com division selling handcrafted products from artisans in developing nations. The department distinguishes itself by returning 60-70% of the sale price to artisans (over $100 million has been paid to Worldstock’s artisan suppliers). In addition, Worldstock net profits have been donated to fund philanthropic projects in several countries. Worldstock and Byrne have funded the building of 26 self-sustaining schools internationally that currently educate thousands of students.

A “classical liberal,” Byrne believes that our nation’s success depends on a sound educational system and healthy capital markets. Since Milton Friedman’s passing in 2006, Byrne has served as chairman of The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, an organization leading the national debate for school vouchers.

Towards the goal of clean capital markets, in 2004 Byrne (as a citizen-journalist) began a vigorous campaign against abusive Wall Street practices, focusing on regulatory capture, hedge fund “expert network” (insider trading) schemes, settlement system failures, systemic risk, and the possibility of economic warfare against the US by organized crime and foreign governments. His stance quickly caught the attention of Wall Street analysts and reporters, becoming a point of high controversy and ridicule until the economic crash of 2008, occasioned by the very things Byrne had warned of. Byrne’s website DeepCapture.com has received much recognition, such as Weblogs Award “Best Business Blog” (2008), Business Pundit’s “Best Business Investigative Journalism” (2009), and Xmark’s “Top Site on Corruption in the USA” (2010).

Before founding Overstock.com and serving as chairman, CEO, and president, Byrne held the same three positions at Centricut, LLC, a manufacturer of consumables for industrial plasma torches, and held the same three positions at Fechheimer Brothers, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company, manufacturing police, firefighter and military uniforms.

Byrne received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and Asian studies from Dartmouth College, a master’s in philosophy from Cambridge University as a Marshall Scholar, and a doctorate in philosophy from Stanford University. He has taught at the university level and is a frequent guest lecturer discussing internet commerce, capital markets, Wall Street practices, education, leadership and ethics.

In 2014, Byrne’s political philosophy, mathematical training and concern over corruption on Wall Street combined to move him to create Medici, Overstock.com’s financial technology subsidiary building platforms for digital asset exchange on the same technology that powers bitcoin. In 2015, Byrne became the first person in history to purchase a digital bond, using Medici’s t0.com private debt equity trading platform.

Branson’s Virgin Unite Launches ‘100% Human At Work’

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Virgin Unite describes itself as the “entrepreneurial foundation” of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. It is a registered nonprofit and the part of Virgin focused on social impact. Branson, not typically labeled a social entrepreneur, sure seems to be one.

Recently, I’ve connected with Virgin Unite President Jean Oelwang to learn more about the organization and about its work.

A quick perusal of the website will tell you that Branson is concerned about a wide range of social issues from the oceans, to youth unemployment and homelessness, and from AIDS and TB to rural transportation for health workers (motorbikes).

Oelwang is championing a new initiative that addresses broad, global issues, called 100% Human at Work” led by The B Team, a global nonprofit incubated by Virgin Unite.

“We live in a world in which change is happening faster than ever: environmental pressures, population growth, massive advancements in technology, and significant shifts in the demographic of the workforce to name just a few,” Oelwang says.

“This has inevitably sparked changes in the ways in which we work and people’s aspirations and desires for their work are also shifting. This is an amazing opportunity for companies to be at the forefront of change and to start to build purpose-driven organizations that prioritize people and planet alongside profit,” she adds.

Oelwang explains, “The B Team’s vision of the future is a world in which the purpose of business is to become a driving force for social, environmental and economic benefit. Its mission is to help develop a ‘Plan B’ that puts people and planet alongside profit. Plan A – where companies have been driven by the profit motive alone – is no longer acceptable.”

“One area that the B Team is focusing on is the way in which businesses treat their employees. The B Team has developed an initiative called ’100% Human at Work’ which was driven by the belief that it is time for businesses to stop looking at people as resources and to start seeing them as human beings,” Oelwang continues.

She says, “We have also collaborated to identify the five elements that define a 100% Human company: Respect, Equality, Growth, Belonging, Purpose.”

“Through partnerships and collaborations we also want to inspire business for the next generation, so that together we can make our workplaces 100% Human. We want to turn work upside down to become a place where people can contribute to society, the planet, their company and to their own personal growth,” Oelwang concludes.

On Thursday, November 19, 2015 at Oelwang will join me for a live discussion about building a “100% Human” company. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about Virgin Unite:

Twitter: @virginunite

Virgin Unite, the entrepreneurial foundation of the Virgin Group. We unite people and entrepreneurial ideas to create opportunities for a better world. We believe disruption is at the heart of entrepreneurial thinking – to defy the status quo and turn challenges into opportunities.

How do we do it?

  1. We shine a spotlight on unacceptable issues and great entrepreneurial approaches. Using the strength of the Branson family and the brand’s convening power, we leverage our 53m customers, 20m social media followers, and 65,000 Virgin staff, to raise awareness of and take action around important issues.
  2. We create disruptive collaborations. We bring together the best people and organisations from all sectors to change business for good, protect the planet (and beyond!) and create better global governance.
  3. We empower entrepreneurs to change business for good. We help them get the skills, support and funding access they need to succeed, while showing how to put people and planet alongside profit at the heart of their business.

In all that we do, we are uniting a powerful global community of entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and inspirational leaders, who share our belief that entrepreneurial ideas, together with the right people, can create change around the world. Why not take a closer look at what we’ve done over the last 10 years!

Our overheads are covered by Richard Branson and the Virgin Group, meaning that 100% of all donations received go directly to the frontline.

Jean-Oelwang-1200x800

Oelwang’s bio:

Twitter: @jeanoelwang

Jean Oelwang is President and a Trustee of Virgin Unite, the entrepreneurial foundation of the Virgin Group.. In 2003, Jean left her post as joint CEO of Virgin Mobile Australia to begin working with Richard Branson and the Virgin staff from around the world to create Virgin Unite. Over the last 12 years, Jean has worked with partners to create new approaches to social and environmental issues, such as the Branson Centres of Entrepreneurship and a global platform to support budding entrepreneurs. She has helped incubate a number of global leadership initiatives such as The Elders, the Carbon War Room, The B Team and Ocean Unite. In addition, Jean has been instrumental in working with Virgin’s businesses and others worldwide to put driving positive change at their core.

In her previous life, Jean lived and worked on six continents helping to lead successful mobile phone start-ups in South Africa, Columbia, Bulgaria, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and the US.

Jean has long explored the overlap of the business and social sectors and has been involved in both, having worked for the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife in Australia, and in numerous volunteer roles, including a stint as a VISTA volunteer where she worked with – and learned from – homeless teens in Chicago.

She sits on the Advisory Council for The Elders and the Boards of the Carbon War Room, Ocean Unite, Ocean Elders and Just Capital. She is also a Senior Partner in the B Team.

Three Questions To Help Organizations Find The Right Nonprofit Partner

This is a guest post from Simon Taylor, senior vice president and general manager of Comtrade

Giving back to those less fortunate is an important mandate for for-profit organizations. In 2014, corporations donated nearly $18 billion to nonprofit organizations in the U.S., an infusion of money that helped support important initiatives. Not only do corporate donations and volunteerism result in a more vibrant nonprofit sector, but companies with well-aligned charitable partnerships often see a stronger workplace culture characterized by engaged employees and stakeholders.

Choosing a nonprofit partner that is a good fit for an organization can be challenging, especially with more than 1.5 million choices in the U.S. alone. Comtrade, a global software engineering company based in Central Europe and specializing in monitoring, backup and software integration, approached the idea of a nonprofit partnership in a deliberate and methodical fashion. Although Comtrade has partnered with many charities in Europe, the organization wanted to find an American organization that aligned with Comtrade’s values, ideals and goals when it decided to make a bolder move into the U.S. market.

(L - R) Simon Taylor, senior vice president and general manager, Comtrade System Software & Tools, Mark Culliton, CEO, College Bound Dorchester, former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Sean Curran, board chairman, College Bound Dorchester

(L – R) Simon Taylor, senior vice president and general manager, Comtrade System Software & Tools, Mark Culliton, CEO, College Bound Dorchester, former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Sean Curran, board chairman, College Bound Dorchester

The nonprofit College Bound Dorchester – a scrappy, innovative organization that counteracts gang violence to improve some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Boston – seemed like the right fit, but the management team at Comtrade wanted to be sure. Before partnering, management asked three key questions:

  1. Would the partnership benefit both parties?
    In addition to its U.S. focus, Comtrade wanted a partner that would give its employees a mission to get excited about and rally behind. The workforce is the best advocate, and it was hugely important to the management team that the staff could see the link between the two organizations, get involved and see the impact the company was making. Many companies write checks, but fail to educate the team about the philanthropic mission, making it difficult to generate enthusiasm and garner internal goodwill. Comtrade’s partnership with College Bound sends a message to its employees, and therefore builds a stronger company.
  2. How does the charitable partner’s mission and goals align with our own?
    College Bound’s mission is to engage gang members and encourage them to attend community college, and in so doing, move active gang influencers off the streets and into positive roles. Ultimately, by breaking apart gangs and reducing their effectiveness, the neighborhood improves. During the vetting process, Mark Culliton, CEO of College Bound, visited the Comtrade offices in Croatia to educate the company stakeholders about his organization. He spoke about adapting to change and dealing with challenges in extreme environments, a message that resonated with the leadership team. Similarly, Comtrade solves some of the most challenging situations in enterprise IT, and it does so by proactively addressing major potential problems within a complex IT environment.
  3. Can we make a real difference with this organization?
    Many companies select big name, recognizable charities because it builds instant credibility, but they miss out on the opportunity to work with a smaller organization where they can make a definitive impact as the partner scales. College Bound regularly provides its partner with impact metrics on a hyper-local level that are an accurate representation of Comtrade’s investment at work. Seeing exactly where corporate dollars are going and how they are making a difference empowers both organizations and employees alike.

About Simon Taylor:

Simon Taylor is senior vice president and general manager of System Software & Tools at Comtrade, where he is responsible for the overall vision, strategy and execution of products, the product development services business and the technology roadmap.

Toyo Tires Presents Meals on Wheels America with Donations and Tires To Help Reach Seniors During Harsh Winter Conditions

This is a guest post from Julie Sediq, senior manager of marketing communications at Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp.

Last year the Boston area set a record for the most snow in a year. One storm in Detroit meanwhile was the third worst on record with over 16 inches of snow and at points during the winter, snow covered more than half the nation. As a company that makes tires, safe and effective travel in this weather is important to us and it’s even more important if your job is to deliver meals to the home bound elderly.

That’s why we are proud to partner with Meals on Wheels America to help deliver meals to local communities around the nation. We have committed to help the programs be successful in showing up and assisting with the safe and reliable delivery of critical meals and safety checks on homebound seniors across the nation.

Meals on Wheels America is a community-based service that provides fresh, nutritious meals delivered directly to the homes of seniors and individuals with disabilities. In addition to regularly providing healthy foods, caring staff and volunteers provide social connections that helps meal recipients remain living independently in their own homes. In some communities Meals on Wheels is expected to deliver as many as 90,000 meals in the upcoming year.

In October, Toyo Tires started making $5,000 cash grants and equipping 14 local programs with a new set of tires so drivers can safely make those important deliveries this winter. Most of the vehicles will be equipped with a set of Toyo Celsius variable-conditions tires–a just introduced tire that has better ice and snow traction than the all-season tires that are found on so many cars. They are especially helpful in communities where drivers face tough winter conditions. The grants will help the local programs prepare and deliver more meals, offset equipment costs and expand programs.

Here’s what some of the programs have said:

“Funding from Toyo Tires would allow Metro Meals on Wheels and member programs to continue to serve our mission to assure every senior in the Twin Cities who needs a meal receives one. Specifically, this funding would help to fund the food, assembly and delivery of 10,000 Blizzard Box’s for 5,000 seniors in the Twin Cities. This opportunity also opens up 80 volunteer spots to assemble boxes and make deliveries to those in need. Often times the daily delivery over lunch hour is hard for working professionals to commit to, this opportunity gives those who want to give back a one-time opportunity to do so.”

– Metro Meals on Wheels–Minneapolis, MN

“Being able to keep a vehicle on the road meals that 80 seniors will receive their MOW delivery each day.”

– Kit Clark Senior Services–Dorchester/Boston, MA

“By using this gift to offset the equipment repair costs outlined above, we will not need to pull out that money away from our food funding. For the $5,000 that will continue be available to us for food expense, we will be able to provide food delivery for four days of approximately 225 meals for seniors, per day.”

– Burlington Meals on Wheels–Burlington, VT

So far Toyo Tires has made donations and delivered tires to Meals on Wheels America affiliates in Detroit MI, Boulder CO, Kansas City MO, Salt Lake City UT, Green Bay WI,  Waukegan IL, Philadelphia PA, Burlington VT, Hartford CT, Dorchester MA, Providence RI, Scarborough ME, Holyoke MA, and Minneapolis MN. We hope to expand the program next year.

About Julie Sediq:

Julie Sediq is senior manager of marketing communications at Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. She manages public relations, advertising, promotions and social media for the company.

 

CSR, Say Cheese!

Here’s how your Funds could create nutritious Cheese, help Autistic children, save the livestock people of Rajasthan (India) and their Camels.

PROJECT BY: Lokhit Pashu-Palak Sansthan & Camel Charisma

ABOUT: LPPS is an NGO that supports traditional livestock keepers in Rajasthan, and indirectly all over India.

WORKING SINCE: 1996

THE CONCEPT IN A NUTSHELL: Introducing Camel Cheese to India – this Project aims to develop Camel Cheese into a value added product that creates income for Camel breeders, provides economic incentives for conserving the Camel, and provides therapeutic support to autistic children. Some studies have proved that camel milk is a health tonic, especially useful for Diabetes patients and autistic children.

WHY THIS PROJECT IS GOOD FOR THE WORLD: The benefits of this project relate to camel breeders in Rajasthan (who currently have no income from their camels) and to consumers who get access to a healthy product that provides the nutritional and health benefits of camel milk in a less perishable form.

FUNDS REQUIRED: $80,000/INR 50 Lakh, for three years

WATCH HOW CAMELS BRING HOPE TO THE PEOPLE OF RAJASTHAN:

A QUICK OVERVIEW OF THE OPERATIONAL STRATEGY: The project will encompass the following steps:

  1. Development of a premium Camel Cheese product that suits the Indian palate
  2. Training of members of Camel breeding families in Cheese production
  3. Development of a Marketing Strategy
  4. Promotion of the product, through linkages with Hotels, Chefs and Specialty Shops in the Metros

SOME FACTS AND FIGURES

Duration of Project with Proposed Funding requirement: 3 years

Number of people who will benefit from the Project: 500 Camel breeding families and potentially thousands of autistic children

Area of operation and direct impact: All of Rajasthan

LEARN MORE ABOUT WHY THE LIVESTOCK PEOPLE NEED YOU:

Want to Fund this Project?

Write to us at editor@csrlive.in and we will assist you with the process. 

 

The Benefits of a CSR Program

This is a guest post from Sean Bergin, Co-Founder and President of APTelecom

Any company can earn a profit. However, not everything about running a business should be for-profit. There’s more to life than just work and there’s more to work than just business. That’s why it’s essential for businesses to implement a strong Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program. A CSR program allows businesses to give back and do social good for a cause dedicated to its founder’s personal beliefs. The charity for a CSR program should be selected on the idea of it aligning with the company’s overall mission. By showing its passion for something other than a bottom line, a company can use a CSR program to show its customers and employees its human side while also raising funds and awareness for a good cause.

Some ‘Scrooge’ entrepreneurs may not like the idea of a CSR program, as they might feel like it takes away time spent on earning new business and improving company revenue. A business owner might also feel like it is difficult to maintain the overall company vision when he/she has to spend time focused on a CSR program. It’s actually the opposite on both counts. A Verizon and Campbell Soup study called Project ROI proved that CSR programs can increase revenue up to 20%. The same study also went on to conclude that CSR programs increase shareholder value and improve employee productivity. A study by Nielsen found that 67% of consumers prefer to work for socially responsible companies and 55% will pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact. The ‘Scrooges’ of the world, have it wrong; they are actually hurting their business and bottom line by not having a CSR program.

Sean Bergin

Sean Bergin

When we started APTelecom, we decided to make supporting charitable program and our commitment to CSR a foundation of our company’s vision. Our aim is to continue to support charities that are in our neighborhood. This means a continued focus on assisting programs operating in emerging markets in which we operate, such as SE Asia, Africa and Latin America. We consider this a double win. We are able to receive the opportunity to support worthy causes in markets with socio-economic challenges, which ties to our core business of assisting the telecommunications industry establish new submarine cables into countries lacking access to these capabilities. While the challenges faced by each developing country in the markets in which APTelecom operate are largely determined by its local cultural, political, and economic conditions, APTelecom has found that enabling Internet access always has a profound & positive impact.

In line with this vision, APTelecom recently continued its mission by supporting underprivileged youth in several international markets. Most recently, APTelecom provided donations and ongoing support to Friends-International, whose mission is to save lives and build futures of the most marginalized youth and children in Southeast Asia. With a strong focus on doing business in emerging markets, APTelecom has a genuine desire to support charities as a way of acknowledging the support that we have received from these markets as we have grown.

We have seen the benefits of a CSR program firsthand, and have recommended that all of our customers, partners, and vendors follow suit and implement a program that is meaningful to their principle owners and values. It is part of our responsibility as business owners to lead the way on improving the way of life for those not as fortunate. With the holiday season coming up, now is a great chance to organize the foundation of CSR program and help others while also improving your bottom line, customer base, and employee morale. What’s their not to like?

About Sean Bergin:

Sean Bergin is based in APTelecom’s Asian headquarters in Cambodia and has been instrumental in building APTelecom into a globally recognized leader in telecom and fiber consulting, elevating it from a start-up business to an award-winning global organization which has generated over US $195 million in sales for clients.

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