The second morning of the 2017 International Corporate Citizenship Conference was packed with inspiring stories, rich breakout sessions, and spirited networking, culminating in a lunch session hosted by New Balance Athletics, Inc. Subsequently, attendees took advantage of a second set of breakout sessions, featuring an Analog Devices case study that focused on choosing and engaging with nonprofit STEM partners. There was also a deep dive on how to create sustainability and social impact goals that are shared across an entire company. During this session, Smith and Stangis, co-authors of the book: “21st Century Corporate Citizenship,” discussed real-life examples and shared tools and frameworks that attendees could use to make corporate citizenship goals meaningful to everyone in the company.
Other sessions focused on how companies can work to support veteran integration in their organizations, adapting corporate citizenship programs for global markets, and supporting organizational resilience through strong corporate citizenship programs. An especially well-attended session focused on creating firm value with a strong brand and reputation.
The day’s third general session was hosted by Liberty Mutual Insurance, and centered on the company’s efforts in addressing youth homelessness. Melissa M. MacDonnell, vice president of Liberty Mutual Insurance and president of the Liberty Mutual Foundation, shared how the company was able dig deeper into the issue by gaining honest feedback from the company’s nonprofit partners.
“As you all know, in philanthropy, you can’t just ask what your partners what they think and take in what you hear, because most nonprofits don’t want to tell you what you’re doing wrong or what you could be doing better,” she said.
Through objective planning and collaboration, Liberty Mutual was able to develop a continuous feedback loop to drive the strategy and execution of efforts addressing this important issue.
“Youth homelessness is a growing, underreported, and serious problem affecting a highly vulnerable population,” said MacDonnell. “Our mission philanthropically is to support our neighbors who are most vulnerable. We are an insurance company; we come alongside people during great hardship.”
Matthew Morton, principal investigator of Voices of Youth Count at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, offered a look at illustrative data, and then Klare Shaw, national director of programs for corporate philanthropy at the Liberty Mutual Foundation led a discussion between representatives from Bridge over Troubled Waters and Y2Y Youth Shelter.
Evening networking and learning
To kick off the evening, participants gathered for a networking reception, sponsored by EY. Attendees were able to share what they learned throughout the packed day in a relaxed setting, and continued to make connections to further enhance their ecosystems, an enjoyable task—but also a crucial one, according to Jane Steinmetz, EY Boston’s office managing principal and New England markets leader, effective June 2017.
“In order to truly prosper, the corporate objectives that we’re striving for have to be aligned with social progress—then we’ll truly be working in a better world,” said Steinmetz. “Tonight’s a unique opportunity for us to come together, share our perspectives, collaborate, and discuss how to solve some of the challenges we’re facing.”
The day closed with an inspiring final general session, hosted by UPS. During this session, Joe Ruiz, director of the UPS Humanitarian Relief & Resilience Program at the UPS Foundation, shared how UPS utilizes its expertise in global logistics to prepare for and respond to crisis situations through ambitious efforts such the first ever drone delivery program.
“We believe this unique partnership with Gavi and Zipline could be a game-changer for the healthcare logistics and humanitarian relief,” said Ruiz.
In sharing how UPS developed this partnership—which aims to provide blood, vaccines, and essential medical products to those in need—Ruiz offered the key to achieving seemingly impossible goals.
“When developing partnerships or determining where to focus your limited resources, play to your strengths,” he said. “Try to find partnerships that connect to your core capabilities as a company and to the unique skills of your employees.”
To further investigate how to achieve the greatest success from such collaborations, Mr. Ruiz was joined by representatives from partner organizations, including:
- Scarlet Cronin, senior director of partnerships & philanthropy at the Tent Foundation
- Moz Siddiqui, manager of private sector partnerships, Gavi
- Karen Smith, business partnership advisor, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Private Sector Section
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