By Katy Moore
Director of Member Services
For years, WRAG’s Corporate Philanthropy Affinity Group has been the central resource for corporate social responsibility (CSR) professionals in the Greater Washington region. As companies face increasing pressure from consumers, shareholders, and society to be more socially responsible, CSR practitioners in our region have looked to WRAG to provide the education, tools, and inspiration they need to deliver maximum value back to their companies and the communities they serve.
About 18 months ago, our corporate members encouraged us to go beyond our traditional learning sessions to consider offering a professional development course specifically for them. As we began researching the possibilities, we identified a service gap and a real need for a high-quality, comprehensive, and cost-effective CSR curriculum in the mid-Atlantic region.
With much enthusiasm and encouragement from members, we began designing a new program. We pulled together a curriculum design committee made up of the region’s top CSR professionals. We began interviewing potential university partners to find the right fit. And, we conducted a field-wide scan of all of the existing curricula and professional development programs currently available to CSR professionals.
Ultimately, we found a strong partner in Johns Hopkins University, secured the amazing Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation, as our curriculum design consultant, and built an exciting new curriculum that is grounded in research, based on real-life case studies, and full of practical advice from an all-star line up of faculty.
Today, after months of hard work, I’m so excited to announce the launch of the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility. This new program offers CSR professionals the opportunity to earn a professional certificate in corporate social responsibility from Johns Hopkins University in less than one year. The four-part, year-long course of study covers topics such as the history and evolution of CSR, trends in philanthropy, ethics and sustainability, measuring and evaluating CSR activities, and communicating with both internal and external audiences – all of the topics our corporate members asked for when they encouraged us to explore this opportunity.
A huge thank you to the leadership of WRAG, the wonderful curriculum design committee, our partners at Johns Hopkins University, and Tim McClimon for all of their support and encouragement in making the Institute a reality.
Registration is now open. I can’t wait to meet the inaugural class!