Cummins isn’t alone in its neighborhood approach. Multiple Indianapolis companies are choosing to focus their philanthropy on a particular neighborhood as a way to make a greater impact.
Washburn oversees the company foundation’s grant-making strategy for Indianapolis as well as for Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Paul and Toronto. That means he’s looking for opportunities to translate the foundation’s larger goals into programs and strategies in those local communities.
Through a Butler University program dubbed Bulldogs into The Streets—or BITS—more than 1,250 volunteers who contribute 3,750 hours worth nearly $100,000 descend on the school’s neighborhood for projects.
Thriving cities and states have one thing in common: a dynamic and diverse business sector with business leaders that are engaged in the civic life of the city and state
Experts in corporate social responsibility, or CSR, say such programs are at least in part driven by millennials in the workforce and are almost necessary today to attract and maintain top talent.
Employees are not always fulfilled by their work. That can lead to expensive turnover, poor performance or disengagement. Empowering your staff to find purpose during work time creates loyalty to your company and helps fill the gaps their employment may not be creating at the moment.
Business leaders recognize today that they and their companies have the ability to positively impact their community through volunteerism efforts. Many see it as a responsibility.
“Our central focus as a company is always to make lives better. … It’s a value that is core to every single employee who works here. So if we can have programs that reinforce that we are a company that is focused on making lives better, then we are doing something that connects to our mission and reminds our employees what really matters to us as a company.”
Public Policy Advocacy
In recent years, some of Indiana’s biggest companies and trade organizations, including the Indiana Chamber and the Indy Chamber, have publicly voiced opinions on a variety of social issues, including pre-kindergarten funding, gay rights, mass transportation and higher cigarette taxes.
We tell our customers that the choices they make right now matter tomorrow. But these words would ring hollow if we didn’t live by them ourselves. I urge you to join us and advocate for those who do not have the opportunity or means to speak for themselves.
IU Kelley School of Business professor Amrou Awaysheh says the term corporate social responsibility is often misunderstood. It’s not just philanthropy or volunteerism. It’s how companies treat their employees, how they interact with the environment, and the care they take with their supply chains.
A new section—titled “Impact Indiana, the intersection of business and community”—makes its debut in this week’s IBJ and will focus on the role businesses and their leaders play in public-policy advocacy, volunteerism and neighborhood development.