Tag: Corporate Social Responsibility

The Business Case for Corporate Community Involvement

This blog originally appeared in the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce here.

By Katy Moore
WRAG’s Managing Director of Corporate Strategy

What if I told you that giving back to your community was a great business development strategy? Or, that giving back could help you recruit top talent, reduce turnover, and make your employees more productive? What if dedication to your community could increase your brand’s reputation and improve customer loyalty? Would I have your attention?

Employee Engagement 

According to Gallup, only 33% of American workers are highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace. These highly engaged employees, according to a recent PwC study, “put in 57% more effort on the job—and are 87% less likely to resign—than employees who consider themselves disengaged.” Higher employee engagement levels are linked to a range of positive business outcomes such as higher productivity, sales, and profitability, as well as lower absenteeism and turnover.

How, then, does a company go about engaging the other two thirds of its workforce? One way is through community involvement – what Gallup calls “moving from paycheck to purpose.”

More than ever, employees are driven by mission and purpose. We spend so much of our time at work, we want to feel like our work matters. According to Cone Communications, “88% of millennials [who will make up 75% of the global workforce in the next 5 years] say their job is more fulfilling when employers provide opportunities to make a positive impact.” In addition, “three quarters of millennials said they would take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company.”

In addition, according to Covestro, “68% of executives believe their employees would be more engaged in their work and perform at higher levels if they had opportunities to be challenged by working on purpose projects inside and/or outside the company.” And, “83% of executives believe skills-based volunteerism could help employees satisfy their desire for purpose and hone their teamwork and/or leadership abilities, develop new skills and/or strengthen existing ones (77%), and become more engaged and productive in their own work (67%).”

Reputation & Consumer loyalty

According to Cone, 86% of Americans expect companies to do more than make a profit, they should also demonstrate their commitment to social and environmental issues. More than two decades of benchmark data illustrates a growing positive correlation between a company’s community commitment and its reputation and consumer loyalty. In addition, Cone’s research indicates that 87% of consumers will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about and 76% will refuse to purchase a company’s products or services upon learning it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs.

Finally, the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer indicates that 56% of consumers agree that companies that only think about themselves and their profits are bound to fail.

Community Engagement Components

If your company doesn’t have an active community engagement strategy or if you haven’t been focusing on it as a key business driver, now is the time to integrate community into your company. Click here to learn the basic steps for launching an employee volunteer program and an employee giving program. And, here are a few additional components you might consider:

katy chart


If you’d like to learn more about community engagement or corporate social responsibility, here are a number of resources to get you started:

second chart

I’d love to learn how your company is engaging in the community and how these efforts have contributed to your business success!

How can DC solve the maternal healthcare crisis Black mothers are experiencing?

HEALTH CARE | There have been numerous stories about the high maternal mortality rate for Black women and other women of color in DC. Two solutions that should be prioritized are addressing the structural racism mothers face when trying to access services and the implicit bias of doctors who don’t listen to their patients. At a recent conference, DC’s mayor focused on why patients aren’t accessing services. (WaPo, 9/12)

But one of the key dilemmas facing the players at the conference dealt not with access to hospital delivery rooms, but rather with the months of a woman’s pregnancy leading up to childbirth.

The issue is not insurance, Mayor Bowser said, since 97 percent of D.C. residents are covered by insurance. “It means getting more people connected to the right people at the right time,” she said. “Why are people avoiding the doctor their first three months of pregnancy?”

CSR | Congratulations to WRAG members The Boeing Company, Eagle Hill Consulting, and IBM for being named as finalists for this year’s Citizens Awards by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation! The Citizens Award recognize businesses who are making a positive impact in communities around the world. (USCCF, 9/12)

MENTAL HEALTH/ EDUCATION | A DC art teacher discusses why its important for teachers, mentors and other adults who work with youth to try to reach those who are experiencing trauma. (WaPo, 9/12)

ARTS & HUMANITIESD.C. Area Students Tell History From Their Own Eyes On The Hamilton Stage (WAMU, 9/12)

HOUSING | A DC councilmember wants to revise a bill to establish affordable housing as a priority in the city’s comprehensive plan. (WBJ, 9/12)

TRANSPORTATION | Metro has proposed charging riders higher fares for travelling during regional events and specific events. (WTOP, 9/13)

Make music with anyone, anywhere.

– Kendra

How Virginia can decrease its high Black maternal mortality rate

– Across the region, Black mothers are facing high maternal mortality rates due to implicit bias, access to care and other factors. The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis has produced a blog exploring how Virginia can continue to support these mothers after Medicaid expansion. (The Half Sheet, 7/2)

Black women more often experience a lower quality of health care compared to their White counterparts. Additionally, the experience of discrimination and the stress associated with it, including while accessing health care, has been shown to lead to poorer health outcomes for mothers and their children during pregnancy.

Medicaid expansion is a massive step forward in improving the lives of nearly 400,000 Virginians, including new mothers. This process can be strengthened by a thoughtful and targeted campaign to enroll and actively provide quality, culturally responsive health care to Black women in Virginia.

– WTOP has published a series of articles documenting the maternal healthcare crisis in DC. (WTOP, 7/13)

CSR | Congratulations to WRAG members Capital One, Citigroup, DeloitteIBM, and Wells Fargo for being named as 2018 Civic 50 Honorees! (Points of Light, 7/16)

HOMELESSNESS | So Others Might Eat has partnered with Terrapin Pharmacy to bring technology-based healthcare services to the District’s homeless population to help those who struggle with taking their medication. (Street Sense Media, 7/13)

PUBLIC SAFETYGun Violence Doesn’t Break For Summer. Neither Do These Student Activists. (WAMU, 7/12)

TRANSIT | Metro workers are considering whether to strike this week after a labor dispute with management. (WaPo, 7/15)

HOUSINGBen Carson says he’s raising rents to put poor Americans to work. But in the District, the majority are either elderly, disabled or already at work. (WaPo, 7/13)

Here’s something to make you smile on this Monday:

credit: BoredPanda

Do you want to be involved? Send us a picture of something that has made you smile and we may include it in the “Daily WRAG’s Monday Smile”!

Email us your content at allen@washingtongrantmakers.org.

– Kendra

How the US criminalizes those with mental illness and then attempts to treat them

MENTAL HEALTH | In the US, individuals with mental illness are often incarcerated, which ensures they don’t receive adequate care or the resources they need. In fact, in some cases, they are punished for experiencing distress because prison staff are not trained to care for people. (NPR, 7/10)

Jails and prisons have all kinds of rules and regulations. … Some of them are for security and some of them are just basically for the sake of rules, like where you have to stand when they do the count or where you have to stand to receive your food tray, things like that. And when people can’t follow the rules, either because they don’t understand them or because their paranoia makes them think that following the rules is going to get them hurt, the punishment is solitary confinement, which basically means being shut in a windowless room by yourself 23 hours a day. And it can make people who are sane completely mentally ill, but for somebody with mental illness it’s absolutely devastating. … If you’re paranoid and you’re afraid that your food is being poisoned or that people are out to get you, being locked in this room by yourself really makes it worse.

CSR | Katy Moore, WRAG’s managing director of corporate strategy, and Sean Herpolsheimer, WRAG’s 2018 Summer Fellow, discuss how leading companies are leveraging their data for social good in a new blog. (Daily, 7/11)

VETERANS | This month, Virginia will begin adding “veteran” to the driver’s licenses and identification cards of residents that served in the military. (Prince William Times, 7/10)

YOUTH | A Virginia writer, along with local groups, has started a book drive for the children separated from their families at the border. (DCist, 7/9)

PUBLIC SAFETYChairman Pulls Noise Amplification Bill That Rankled D.C. Musicians (DCist, 7/10)

WORKFORCE | How the gig economy is making it easier for employers to discriminate against care workers with no consequences. (Nation, 7/10)

BUSINESSVirginia climbs, Maryland tumbles on CNBC’s top states for business rankings (WBJ, 7/11)

Make sure to get your free Slurpee at 7 Eleven today!

– Kendra

CSR & Big Data: How leading companies are leveraging their data & information for social good

By Katy Moore, WRAG’s Managing Director of Corporate Strategy & Sean Herpolsheimer, WRAG’s 2018 Summer Fellow

Many of today’s societal challenges are incredibly complex, interconnected, and ever-evolving. As those in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) space look to tackle some of these seemingly intractable problems, they are beginning to look beyond traditional efforts such as charitable giving, employee volunteerism, and sustainable practices.

Big problems require big solutions. And, most companies have BIG amounts of data – on customers, vendors, employees, click histories, online purchases, and much more. A few companies are starting to harness this data for social good and expand their tool box for community change.

Stefaan Verhulst, the co-founder and chief research and development officer of NYU’s Governance Laboratory, is one of the country’s leading “data for good” experts. He works with companies, governments, nonprofits and others – often in collaboration with one another – to identify various data assets and develop strategies to leverage those assets for public good.

One example Verhulst offers is NCell, Nepal’s largest telecom company. After the devastating earthquakes in 2015, NCell created a tool to utilize its users’ data to track population displacement and migration, which allowed disaster response teams to target their relief efforts where need was greatest, in real time.

JP Morgan (which has a financial relationship with over 50% of American households) has created an entire research organization dedicated to leveraging its customer data for public good. Fiona Grieg, the director of consumer research at the JP Morgan Chase Institute, describes the firm not just as a bank, but a data and technology firm.

With insight into millions of Americans’ financial information, spending patterns, and buying habits, the JPMC Institute is able to report on a wide variety of trends – some that you wouldn’t anticipate from a financial institution. One example is tracking healthcare spending. From its customers’ financial transactions, the firm’s data analysts are able to see that Americans spend the most on healthcare in the 60 days after they receive their tax refunds. Grieg explains that this is a troubling trend for the US economy. If people are putting off needed medical treatments or foregoing preventative care until they have discretionary income, then healthcare premiums tend to go up as more people rely on emergency services down the line.

One other example Greig shares is the JPMC Institute’s effort to identify food deserts. They do this by analyzing how far people are traveling from their homes to buy fresh groceries. The firm is able to share this information with government officials, developers and community leaders to spur action.

PwC, another firm harnessing data for good, is taking a different approach. Stacey Magdaluyo, a manager at PwC US Responsible Business Leadership, explains how her firm partnered with Opportunity Nation, a coalition of nonprofits across the country focused on economic mobility, to produce the Opportunity Index. This online tool measures 16 opportunity indicators and scores all 50 states, DC, and more than 2,600 counties, thereby giving policymakers, nonprofits, and community leaders a useful tool to identify areas for improvement and gauge progress over time.

One way PwC contributed to the partnership was by assigning their in-house Artificial Intelligence (AI) team to work with Opportunity Nation in a pro bono capacity. The AI team, using their expertise in machine learning and natural language processing, worked in partnership with the research experts at Opportunity Nation to develop a number of new Index tools. One such tool clusters counties that share similar traits and allows them to compare, benchmark, and share best practices with their peers across the country. Another allows counties to gather anecdotal information and gauge community sentiment by tracking what is being discussed in the news media and on community forums in their regions.

In order for more companies to begin leveraging data for social good, Verhulst stressed the importance of having community-minded data stewards inside corporations – a position that does not or vary rarely exists in most companies. He also encouraged corporate philanthropy and community engagement professionals to see data as a potential community asset and to begin to build bridges across departments to explore what’s possible for their companies and communities.

The data age holds extraordinary promise for those of us who are dedicated to community impact and social change. Onward you awesome data nerds! We can’t wait to see what problems you’ll tackle next.

Opioid addiction is growing among aging adults

– According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, between 2002 and 2014, opioid abuse almost doubled among Americans over age 50. Officials say the prescription of opioid painkillers for the various conditions or diseases that this group is experiencing is the biggest contributor to the epidemic. (WaPo, 5/25)

Many elderly get hooked on opiates through prescriptions, rather than street drugs like heroin.

“Older adults are at high risk for medication misuse due to conditions like pain, sleep disorders/insomnia, and anxiety that commonly occur in this population,” said William B. Stauffer, executive director of the Pennsylvania Recovery Organizations Alliance, who is in long-term recovery. “They are more likely to receive prescriptions for psychoactive medications with misuse potential, such as opioid analgesics for pain and central nervous system depressants like benzodiazepines for sleep disorders and anxiety.”

– Study Aims To Show Transplants Between HIV-Positive Patients Are Safe, Save Lives (NPR, 6/1)

CHARITABLE GIVING |  Eileen Ellsworth, president of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, and others discuss how tax reform will impact charitable giving in Virginia. (Virginia Business, 5/30)

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITYWells Fargo Pledges to Give $400 Million Cash in 2018 (Chronicle, 5/30)

EDUCATION | How the College Park City-University Partnership is collaborating with the government, the private sector and the University of Maryland to make the area more livable for students and longtime residents. (DiamondBack, 5/31)

ARTS & HUMANITIES | Dorothy Kosinski, CEO of the Phillips Collection, discusses the reason for the museum’s recent decision to begin intentionally working to diversify the museum. (WaPo, 5/18)

Social Sector Job Openings 

Contract Grant Writer | Project HEAL– New!
Program Associate| Case Foundation– New!
Program Assistant | Weissberg Foundation– New!
Grants Manager | Public Welfare Foundation
Program Manager | The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation
Grants Program Analyst | Legal Services Corporation
Vice President of Strategy | Gill Foundation
Director of Communications and Marketing | Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
Membership and Program Coordinator | Funders Together to End Homelessness
Finance Manager (Part-Time) | United Philanthropy Forum
Communications Manager | United Philanthropy Forum

Hiring? Post your job on WRAG’s job board and get it included in the Daily! Free for members; $60/60 days for non-members. Details here.

Community Calendar

To add an event to WRAG’s community calendar, email Rebekah Seder.

Today is National Doughnut Day! Here’s where to get your free doughnuts.

– Kendra

Point-in-time homelessness survey shows varying results for the region

HOMELESSNESS | Results from this year’s point-in-time survey, which counts the number of homeless individuals who aren’t sheltered on a given night, shows a decrease in DC, Montgomery and Arlington counties, but small increases across the region. (WaPo, 5/8)

In Fairfax County, the number of homeless people is slightly up from last year, though still lower than 10 years ago, with 987 homeless people in the county of 1.1 million residents, compared with 964 last year. In 2008, the county counted 1,835 homeless people.

In Prince George’s County, the number of homeless people fell from 532 in 2017 to 478 in 2018, a 10 percent decline.

CIVIL RIGHTS | Rebekah Seder, senior program manager at WRAG, discusses why WRAG & LGW are taking funders and other civic leaders on a 3.5 day learning journey to explore the history of the Civil Rights Movement – and urges others to join. (Daily, 5/9)

Related for WRAG/LGW Members: Register for the Civil Rights Learning Journey from Memphis to Birmingham, AL here.

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY | Congratulations to these WRAG members for making Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s 2018 list of 100 Best Corporate Citizens! (CRM, 5/7)

34. IBM
45. Northrop Grumman Corp.
73. Wells Fargo & Co.
74. Bank Of America Corp.
79. JPMorgan Chase & Co.
81. Boeing Co.
94. Capital One Financial Corp.
95. Citigroup Inc.

– Half of the Smithsonian museums have acquired new guides to lead people to less visited parts of the exhibits and to provide general assistance to visitors. They are robots. (WAMU, 5/7)

– ‘The Memories We Keep:’ New Art Exhibit Puts Spotlight On Refugee Artists (WAMU, 5/9)

CENSUS 2020Foundations Push Census Turnout in Worrisome Times (Chronicle, 5/7 – Subscription needed)

Flying taxis could be in your near future.

– Kendra

Virginia to study high rates of evictions in the state

HOUSING | After a recent study found that five Virginia cities had eviction rates among the highest in the country, the state has decided to convene a work group to study the problem. (Richmond Times, 5/7)

A separate Richmond Times-Dispatch analysis of eviction records found that Richmond’s public housing authority initiated more evictions than any other landlord in the state, while some private landlords were even more aggressive about using the courts to force tenants to pay rent or leave.

Martin Wegbreit, director of litigation for the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, pointed out several examples of ways in which the legal system is “unfriendly” to tenants by giving them little legal recourse in disputes with landlords unless their debts are fully paid.

– Richard E. Besser, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, announced that his foundation will no longer recognize sports teams that denigrate Native Americans with its RWJF Sports Award. (USA Today, 5/7)

– In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the National Women’s Law Center will be sharing overlooked histories, stories and research about this community. Learn more here. (NWLC, 5/1)

SEXUAL HARASSMENT‘We’re In This Together:’ Northern Virginia Faith Leaders Discuss Their Role In #MeToo Movement (WAMU, 5/7)

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY | Tim McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation, discusses how CSR professionals can use new power ideas without sacrificing the old.(American Express, 5/7) We’re excited to see Tim for the second session of the 2018 Institute for CSR later this week!

LGBTQIA RIGHTS |Opinion: The Federal Farm Bill Will Take Food Out of the Mouths of LGBT Seniors (Advocate, 5/2)

Here are some cool photos of tulips in the Netherlands.

– Kendra

Maryland’s seafood industry is in crisis

WORKFORCE | For the past twenty-five years, Maryland’s crab houses have relied on a workforce of immigrants using the H-2B visa program for the state’s seafood industry. Due to a recent change in the way the visas are awarded, almost half of Eastern Shore’s crab houses have no workers this year. (WaPo, 5/3)

Visa shortages have been a perennial issue for the crab industry since the last generations of Eastern Shore women who once picked crabmeat aged out of the tedious seasonal work. In the 1980s, crab houses started bringing workers from Mexico through a program that lets them live and work in the United States during the warmer months and then return to Mexico in the winter, when watermen are prohibited from crabbing.

“Our families depend on us, and going to the United States is the best option because here in Mexico it is very difficult to find a job, and apart from that, you face the risk of so much crime,” Anayeni Chavarria Ponce, a crab picker from the Mexican state of Hidalgo, said via text message in Spanish. “Not to mention you can’t reach a salary even to buy the basics.”

HOUSING | Why the US is becoming a nation of renters. (Citylab, 5/3)

POVERTY | The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced that it will devote $158 million to help low-income individuals experiencing economic hardship in the US become financially stable. (Chronicle, 5/3 – Subscription needed)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE | Federal prisons abruptly cancel policy that made it harder, costlier for inmates to get books (WaPo, 5/3)

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY | Congratulations to Kristina Kloberdanz for being named Mastercard’s Chief Sustainability Officer! Kristina is a graduate of the inaugural (2014) class of the Institute for CSR (WRAG’s partnership with Johns Hopkins University and the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation). (Mastercard, 5/3)

TECHNOLOGY | A Quick Guide to Digital Marketing for Nonprofits (PND Blog, 5/2)

Social Sector Job Openings 

Grants Program Analyst | Legal Services Corporation– New!
Grants Management Specialist | DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities
Vice President of Strategy | Gill Foundation
Associate, Program Design | Flamboyan Foundation
Associate, Program Operations | Flamboyan Foundation
Director of Communications and Marketing | Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
Part-Time Program Administrator for the Bernie Scholarship Awards Program Fund | Greater Washington Community Foundation
Membership and Program Coordinator | Funders Together to End Homelessness
Communications Associate | Venture Philanthropy Partners
Programs Officer | DC Bar Foundation
Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion | Council on Foundations
Finance Manager (Part-Time) | United Philanthropy Forum
Communications Manager | United Philanthropy Forum

Hiring? Post your job on WRAG’s job board and get it included in the Daily! Free for members; $60/60 days for non-members. Details here.

Community Calendar

To add an event to WRAG’s community calendar, email Rebekah Seder.

This quiz can guess what part of the US you live in based on your food choices.

– Kendra

New report explores the impact of refugee integration in the US

REFUGEES | The Urban Institute has released a report examining data on the integration of refugees in the US. The report identifies key gaps in current data collection and provides context for the political conversation about the resettlement of refugees in the country. (Urban Institute, 4/9)

Overall, recent research has found that refugees integrate with time in the US. On average, their labor force participation rates rise to or exceed native-born rates, their income levels rise, and their use of public benefits declines. Their English language proficiency improves and arriving refugee youth have strong educational attainment. Most refugees become US citizens, and many become owners of homes and businesses, contributing to their communities.

Refugees arrive with a wide spectrum of educational and employment backgrounds, and many remain limited by low English proficiency and low educational attainment, which influences their economic outcomes. Integration outcomes vary greatly not only by amount of time in the US, but by country of origin and educational background, as well as gender and age at arrival.

EDUCATION | Tamara Lucas Copeland, WRAG’s president, believes that a college degree is important, but she also understands jobs that don’t require college completion are fundamental to a well-functioning society. In her new blog, she reminds readers that there are alternative pathways to success and we should value them. (Daily, 4/2)

WORKFORCED.C. servers concerned about ‘tipped wage’ proposal (Washington Blade, 4/4)

RACIAL EQUITY | Equity in the Center has released an updated infographic that shows the characteristics and actions of organizations that are needed to address the racial leadership gap in organizations. (Equity in the Center, 4/6)

MARYLANDPrice Check: Incentives For Amazon’s HQ2 May Cost Maryland More Than Gov. Hogan Said (WAMU, 4/5)

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY | The Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce is accepting applications until April 13 for its 2018 Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Awards, which honors individuals, businesses and nonprofits for business leadership, employee engagement, and corporate social responsibility. Learn more here.

FOOD INSECURITY | Jackie DeCarlo, CEO of Manna Food Center, was one of five women to be awarded Sodexo’s 2018 Global Women Stop Hunger Award by the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation. (Bethesda Beat, 4/6)

ARTS & HUMANITIES | The ArtChangeUS@SHIFT Festival of American Orchestras is bringing together artist leaders to advance diversity and cultural equity issues in the orchestral and larger arts field in a week long festival at the Kennedy Center. Watch the live-stream here.

Here’s something to make you smile on this Monday:

Do you want to be involved? Send us a picture of something that has made you smile and we may include it in the “Daily WRAG’s Monday Smile”!

Email us your content at allen@washingtongrantmakers.org.

– Kendra