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Corporate Citizen Rock Stars

Thursday, April 30, 2015

IBM has taken its corporate citizenship to a new level. In addition to providing funding, IBM is providing an entire infrastructure of support to the cities selected for its Smarter Cities Challenge. With IBM employees providing expertise and tracking the progress of the project, their Smarter Cities Challenge has become integrated into the work of their business and the lives of their employees.

In addition to developing leadership and morale within the company, this approach forges valuable relationships with multiple stakeholders involved with the initiative. Both employees and communities are energized as success becomes a goal they work toward together.

Starbucks takes a similar approach of aligning the company’s values with its corporate citizenship work as it focuses on issues connected to its supply chain and expertise. Focusing in farming, the environment and water, Starbucks connects its customers to the individuals who supplying the various components of its product and supports the vitality of its supply chain.

Common Denominators

When it comes to its corporate citizenship, what sets apart IBM and Starbucks? What can companies curious to replicate their success learn from their example?

The good folks at TCC Group have looked at successful companies like IBM and Starbucks and articulated a Framework for Successful Corporate Citizenship.

Like IBM and Starbucks, the most successful companies have clear goals that demonstrate the value of the company's investment internally, from the development of leaders to a greater sense of teamwork and morale. And the best companies have strong measurement and reporting systems, that ensure senior leaders are tracking progress against goals, and understand the positive impact corporate citizenship is having on the company. Both IBM and Starbucks excel at integrating their citizenship efforts with leaders across the company, rather than restricting the implementation in a silo within the company's foundation or a single citizenship department. IBM's Smarter Cities Challenge engages employees from multiple business units, contributing a range of skills…[L]eaders at the highest level of the company are vested in the efforts, acting and speaking as ambassadors for corporate citizenship, by ensuring that business decisions align with citizenship values. In summary, this creates a culture that is unique among leading corporate citizens, one that is driven by leaders but perpetuated by employees, and integrated through the company at all levels.

Program on Corporate Citizenship

Want to know more? Want to learn how you can leverage the lessons of successful companies in your grantmaking, community engagement, and citizenship? Then join us at the upcoming May 12th NCG program Being a Great Corporate Citizen: A Framework for Success. TCC Group Partner and Director of the Corporate Practice Thomas Knowlton will share their new framework for thinking about how to assess, develop and execute a successful corporate citizenship approach. Learn the strategies to take your corporate community engagement to the next level!

To learn more about the program and to register visit the event’s web page.