Select one of four categories in the 2013 Corporate Philanthropy Awards program. It is possible for a company to be nominated in several categories. However, please select the category you feel the company is most qualified for and respond to the questions. Each company is eligible to win in one of the four categories per year. An independent selection committee will request supplemental materials only if clarification is required.
The independent selection committee consisting of experts with backgrounds in corporate community affairs, philanthropy, non-profit management, education, and healthcare will select one winner in each category. The San Francisco Business Times will notify award recipients in mid-June. Recipients will be honored at the 13th Annual Corporate Philanthropy Summit & Awards on July 24th at the Hilton San Francisco on O’Farrell.
The following post, written by NCG member and Microsoft Citizenship Coordinator Jessica Weare, is a featured article in NCG’s current Corporate Contributions Roundtable (CCR) newsletter. An alum of NCG’s 2012 New Grantmakers Institute (NGI), we recently asked Jessica why she decided to attend NGI and to share her biggest takeaways from the experience.
A year ago, I decided to leave my academic career for a job in corporate social responsibility at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley offices. I had spent the past eight years becoming more and more specialized in one tiny little corner of British literary history, and my new job felt wildly expansive and energizing by comparison. Initially, leaving my office in the basement of Stanford’s library for the broader world of Silicon Valley thrilled me. There were so many amazing non-profits doing transformative work! I could learn from so many stellar corporations and foundations! I had amazing resources to offer and share!
But all of those possibilities humbled me too. After working hard to become an expert in my previous field, starting over felt pretty daunting, NCG’s New Grantmakers Institute came at the perfect time for me, just when I needed a solid grounding in the essential legal and financial considerations of grantmaking. I can’t overemphasize the importance of that foundational knowledge. As a new member of the field, I was and remain deeply grateful for the clarity and structure NGI provided. In the months since, I’ve been able to deepen my financial assessment skills through additional seminars offered by NCG and the Nonprofit Finance Fund.
I knew I’d learn a lot at NGI, but I was surprised by how powerful an emotional experience those two days were. It’s rare to get so many different kinds of grantmakers – corporations and corporate foundations, private foundations, community foundations – in the same room thinking about the same problems. I loved the opportunity to compare our practices and learn about the innovative philanthropy happening in northern California. Most of all, I left inspired by the intellectual, ethical, and creative rigor my peers apply to their work.
The cover of last year’s NGI packet shows a new plant emerging from soil. For me, NGI keeps sprouting unexpected flowers. Recently, a casual conversation with an NGI alum resulted in my helping a major foundation improve their internal giving program. I meet regularly with several fellow alums for a reading group that’s equal parts professional development, continuing education, and gluttony. The people I met at NGI count among my most trusted colleagues, just as NCG President and CEO Colin Lacon promised in the opening minutes of the 2012 program. When I look back over my first year in corporate social responsibility, I see New Grantmakers Institute as genuinely transformational for me and my career!
For more information about the 2013 New Grantmakers Institute, please visit the NGI event page.
Last month NCG corporate members had the opportunity to learn more about Shared Value from FSG Managing Director Lalitha Vaidyanathan. One of the presenters at NCG’s 2012 Corporate Philanthropy Institute, Lalitha was invited by NCG’s Corporate Contributions Roundtable to return and elaborate more on the concept of Shared Value which is still in its nascent stages of development within the field..
Program attendees were curious to learn more about Shared Value, how they could activate a discussion about it within their own companies and organizations, the metrics used to evaluate it, and how to spot opportunities for implementing it.
What Is Shared Value?
“Corporations have assets beyond what they’ve set aside for philanthropy…so how can those be used to create impact?” -Lalitha Vaidyanathan
As our society has evolved, so has the role of corporations in society. And Lalitha explained that corporate philanthropy itself has also evolved-not that one practice has ceased to be used, but rather there are more types of corporate philanthropy in practice:
Traditional Corporate Philanthropy: separated from the core business; its purpose was to create community goodwill.
Aligned Corporate Philanthropy: aligned to and leveraged with the core business, but not tied to the business’ strategy.
Shared Value: mobilizing whole business to impact society in a way that benefits the business; meaningful social impact that is sustained through the business.
Still not sure what Shared Value is? Here’s a video by FSG that provides more tangible examples:
Main Points & Questions
While the program itself evolved into a conversation amongst attendees and Lalitha, here are some of the main points and questions that arose:
You can’t do business and grow while doing harm to the world-it’s not longer a sustainable business practice as society will definitely push back.
Business and the world need to co-exist. “We can help society grow and help our business” at the same time.
What are the areas in society that can benefit from our company’s assets and expertise? How can this lead to benefits for our business at the same time?
What Does Shared Value Look Like?
“Shared Value is a management principle that seeks opportunity for business in solving social problems. Companies can solve problems in three ways that can lead to competitive wins.”-FSG website
Reconceiving Products and Services: a business tries to understand the social issues affecting a market they want to enter and then try to either help solve those social issues. The business impact would be increased revenue, market share and/or profitability. Example: GE’s Healthymaginations wanted to address infant mortality. After first trying to develop incubators for rural areas, they partnered with Embrace to distribute the Infant Warmer-that required no electricity-in rural areas around the globe.
Redefining Productivity in the Value Chain: a company can examine its products, supply chain and reconceive them in order to address or mitigate a societal problem. The business impact would be reduced cost, increased productivity, and/or improved quality. Example: “Excess packaging of products and greenhouse gases are not just costly to the environment but costly to the business. Wal-Mart, for example, was able to address both issues by reducing its packaging and rerouting its trucks to cut 100 million miles from its delivery routes in 2009, saving $200 million even as it shipped more products.”-”Creating Shared Value” by Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer, Harvard Business Review
Strengthening Clusters and Frameworks: a company invests outside its operations to solve problems that are most connected to its growth and productivity potential. The business impact would be improved quality workforce and/or secured quality of supply. Example: Cisco saw their clients had a dearth of Network Administrators. This was a constraint on their business. To address this issue Cisco established the Network Academy, targeting community colleges in low-income communities.
Positive Social Impact + Positive Business Impact = only when you do both is it Shared Value.
Shared Value doesn’t have to replace the corporate philanthropy you currently do, it can be part of your philanthropy portfolio.
Most companies start philanthropy from a desire to increase growth or address a reputation issue, but society is becoming more savvy and if you aren’t really solving problems you set out to address (or if you create problems through your business practice) your approach won’t be viewed as genuine.