Here at the Center, we spend a lot of time thinking about how our members can make the good work they do in CSR go even further. We scan research publications in the management and social sciences disciplines related to corporate citizenship, work with some of the top thinkers in the field, and conduct our own research to provide our more than 400 members with the insights that help drive business and social value. While over time we may adjust our guidance to account for emerging regulations or developing priorities, three pieces of advice remain constant:
- Tie your efforts to your overall business strategy
- Leverage the core competencies of your organization and the unique skills of your employees
- Make the most of strategic partnerships
The FutureSmartSM Challenge, a financial literacy program for middle school students developed by MassMutual, achieves these objectives. Financial planning is a core function of the company, one that is carried out by all of its employees. As such, MassMutual is uniquely suited to providing students with the tools and guidance needed to cultivate a thoughtful relationship with money, one that values saving and strategic investment. By partnering with select teams from the NBA—a fellow Center member—MassMutual creates a riveting experience for kids just beginning their financial journey.
“At MassMutual, we help people create a vision for their future, and that same mission is at the heart of our FutureSmartSM Challenge,” said Roger W. Crandall, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of MassMutual. “By participating in this program, MassMutual employees and partners work to help young people understand that the future is theirs, and encourage them to think ahead and start planning for their future now.”
Building on findings from MassMutual’s annual State of the American Family study, the program offers what three out of every four families hope to have with their children, but only half actually achieve—an open and honest discussion about money.
In 2014, the program reached nearly 10,000 students in five major cities—including Los Angeles, Phoenix, Atlanta, and Dallas—and plans to educate up to 10,000 more in 2015. In February, MassMutual brought the FutureSmartSM Challenge to Boston, working with fellow Center member TD Bank, Junior Achievement, and Hill Harper, actor, lawyer, and New York Times Bestselling author of The Wealth Cure.
In a dynamic presentation held in the TD Garden arena, students learned the importance of saving early, what factors they should consider when deciding not only what to spend their money on, but also when and how they should spend it, and one effort they should never be afraid to invest in—their education.
“Money has the ability to transform not only your life, but also the life of your family, your school, and your community,” said Hill to the packed stadium of middle school students. “I don’t just want you to survive, I want you to thrive, and that means making smart decisions about money and investing in your education. I’m here to tell you that it can be done. Never let anybody tell you that you can’t afford college.”
MassMutual plans to follow up Hill’s presentation with visits by Junior Achievement to help the students turn their aspirations into tangible progress such as opening a TD Bank student savings account.
To learn more about how you can effectively leverage your unique skills and partnerships to drive corporate citizenship success, consider joining us for one of our professional development courses.