Companies are called to be civic leaders, especially in trying times. While this is easier said than done, the ramifications of neglecting civic duties when times get tough are immeasurable. If you’re feeling stuck on where to start or how to keep going, the most important thing is to not give up. Being a light in your community by continuing on even – or especially – during trying times will set you apart and showcase where your priorities lie. For nearly a decade, The Civic 50 has provided a national standard for superior corporate citizenship and showcased how companies can use their time, skills and other resources to improve the quality of life in the communities where they do business. Below you’ll find some inspiration from this year’s honorees.
Our honorees donated $2.1 billion in cash and $5.6 billion of in-kind support to U.S. societal causes. While generous giving during a crisis might seem counterproductive, V. Kasturi Rangan, Baker Foundation Professor and Malcolm P. McNair Professor of Marketing, Emeritus, at Harvard Business School says that corporate social responsibility initiatives when carefully planned and managed, such efforts can strategically tackle important societal issues and at the same time enhance business success, yielding a “double bottom line.”
This year’s honorees supported their U.S. employees in delivering 11.4 million volunteer hours, which equates to a value of $554 million poured back into U.S. communities. Giving your employees the chance to pursue volunteer activities, especially during a difficult time, will not only give them a boost in how they feel about themselves and their work environment, it will bolster the community in which you live. So even though it may seem counterintuitive to give your employees the time and space to volunteer, it’s worth the investment.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion
96 percent of our Civic 50 honorees have diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, which is up from 90 percent last year. Now more than ever we need to feel connected with one another. Employees should feel included, wanted, and comfortable in their workplace. If you haven’t put much thought or effort into diversity, equity, or inclusion programs in your workplace, now is the best time to start.
Our 2020 honorees were ahead of the game when it came to conscious focus. 60 percent pursued environmental sustainability as a focus area, but many also pursued health and well-being and racial and other forms of equity well before COVID-19 and the racial-equity movement.
This study states that 64 percent of consumers say it is “extremely important” for CEOs to take positions on social issues. Not only that, but with a declining trust in government, many Americans are looking to businesses and CEOs for inspiration, essentially shoving leaders onto the public stage. Our honorees have taken great care to speak out about the issues they’re passionate about.
A great place to start with community involvement, as we’ve seen with our honorees, is to make it a board-level issue. 82 percent of our honorees included community engagement in board of directors’ meetings. This kind of prioritization shows the value they place on being a part of the community in which they do business.
Our Points of Light Civic 50 2020 honorees were chosen based on their actions in 2019, and watching their reactions to the events of 2020 has cemented why they were picked in the first place. Check out our report for a full list of honorees and see how they’re not only surviving this year, but finding ways to thrive.