I have to admit, I consider myself a purist. I’ve always felt more comfortable on the “Responsibility” vs the “Social” side of the scale in CSR. My early background is in Environmental and Employee protection and health. I actually was, and still am a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) and Certified Safety Professional (CSP). No…that doesn’t mean I’m some special dentist – it just means, in my early career, I was mainly focused on helping companies minimize their environmental footprint and keeping their workers safe.
While that is still a drive of mine, most readers of this blog know that CSR or Sustainability or Corporate Responsibility covers a lot more ground than that to include Governance, Diversity, Ethics, Supply Chain, Risk Management, Reporting and even Marketing. But like I said, I came from the school of “Be” and then “Be Perceived.”
So where does that leave Philanthropy? Yesterday, I joined Intel’s CEO and some of our company’s program leaders and employee volunteers at the San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Summit and Awards –
A long name, but an inspiring event. The top 70 most generous Bay Area companies were recognized and thanked for their commitment to community investment. Intel ranked #3 with 2006 cash giving of more than $10M in the Bay area alone. AT&T topped the list at more than $19M. Intel was also included in a special award for those companies that contributed more than 1% of after tax profit. I presented the Intel Education Partner of the Year Award to Bank of America for some of their innovative work, and Paul Otellini, our President and CEO participated on a panel that shared their views on balancing social responsibility with bottom line accountability, and explained how they make their giving decisions. Paul’s answer to the open question series can be read here – Download file.
So, what’s my point? Read that last line again. That’s not just writing checks – that’s strategic investment in community and human potential. It’s taken me a few years I suppose to give Corporate Philanthropy its due when it comes to CSR – or perhaps Corporate Philanthropy has changed over the years to become strategic CSR program.
Is giving money to good causes in the community a nice an honorable thing to do? Sure, but how about aligning it to your employee passions and then leveraging the unique skills and products/services your companies deliver to build stronger communities and perhaps even grow your business for your shareholders?
Perhaps I am asking too much of good old Philanthropy. Where do you think Philanthropy fits in the CSR spectrum?