America’s leading businesses are committed to investing in and working with their local communities to provide support, increase economic development and offer a helping hand in times of crisis. Sometimes that means providing financial support or other assistance to employees when they, or their families, are in need. Often, when communities are affected by natural disasters, it includes contributing supplies and supporting relief agencies or allowing paid time off so employees can be on the front-lines of disaster relief efforts. And, throughout these times, leading companies are fostering cultures of “giving,” engaging with the community through philanthropic initiatives while also supporting employee-led efforts to volunteer and give back.
Many companies often step up to employees and communities after natural disasters, providing valuable resources and assistance to support the rebuilding process. This includes KPMG, which matched more than $1 million in employee contributions to the KPMG Disaster Relief Fund to assist hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico. Silver Lake contributed $1 million to Texas hurricane relief and $500,000 to Puerto Rican hurricane relief.
Business Roundtable’s transportation and logistics member companies know that in the wake of a natural disaster, there is an immediate need to deliver relief materials quickly. For example, following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the UPS Foundation facilitated 43 shipments of relief materials to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and provided in-kind and logistical support to an additional 53 relief shipments for UNICEF.
In addition to providing support in times of need, Business Roundtable members are committed to helping their surrounding communities grow stronger and more prosperous for the long term. Together with their workforce, supply chains and partnering companies and organizations, Business Roundtable companies are leading numerous comprehensive efforts to support community development and economic revitalization.
When AT&T Chicago employees came to management with suggestions about how the company could be part of the revitalization of struggling neighborhoods, the company listened. The AT&T BELIEVES program prioritized the company’s resources in the city to focus on 19 Chicago neighborhoods. From those areas, the company has hired more than 500 people, including Jacobie, a call center supervisor. “The main impact that Believe Chicago has had, if I had to put it in one word, it would be ‘hope,’” he said. Now, AT&T is expanding the program to even more inner-city neighborhoods in major cities.
JPMorgan Chase is doing the same in Detroit, investing over $100 million in the city’s economic comeback.
A. O. Smith is dedicated to identifying and combating unsafe lead levels in drinking water. Partnering with the United Way and the City of Milwaukee, the company donated Aquasana-branded filtration products to Milwaukee residents whose homes had a connection to lead service lines. IBM’s Corporate Service and Health Corps initiatives send employees to high-need areas to use their skills, experience and IBM technology to address local problems in areas, including health, sustainability and education.
Companies also recognize unique opportunities to leverage their products and business models to actively identify and address challenges in the world around them. For example, in acknowledgment of the challenges those with autism face while flying, American Airlines’ “It’s Cool To Fly American” program helps autistic children and their families become comfortable with the sensory experience of air travel.
ITC contributed $400,000 in support of ConnectCR’s infrastructure project to address the need for improved walkability near the Cedar Lake area of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Motorola Solutions Foundation partnered with the Red Cross to install over 1,000,000 smoke alarms in low-income neighborhoods across the United States.
And then there are the partnerships, philanthropic initiatives and volunteering programs where companies and their employees are encouraging change and making a difference.
AECOM, for example, launched the Blueprint Travel Grant program, which provides funding for employees to go on volunteer service trips in partnership with charitable organizations. The company has already supported 25 grants for projects in 15 different countries that create safe and secure infrastructure in areas of need.
Assurant’s Engagement Champion Teams partner with 20 or more Habitat for Humanity chapters each year to build homes or revitalize neighborhood spaces, like the Brownsville Houses Senior Center. Team-based volunteering is important to Assurant’s year-round commitment to help build stronger communities. NRG’s annual PositiveNRG week provides employees the option to take a break from the traditional work day to volunteer with a local charity. In 2018 NRG supported more than 85 charities with over 5,000 hours donated in one week, across 16 states.
State Farm’s Good Neighbor Grant provides a $500 grant to every non-profit and education organization at which employees, agents and retirees volunteer 40 or more hours in a calendar year. When an employee volunteers at an eligible charitable organization, Zebra Technologies donates up to $200 to that organization for every eight hours of service.
Finally, these leading companies are not only supporting stronger communities and local economies in times of need, they are also making key investments to bolster both economic and environmental sustainability. These efforts provide opportunities to change the status quo and come up with new—and better—methods of serving American employees and consumers in ways that limit environmental impacts and help promote safe and healthy communities for generations to come.
Metal packaging provider Ball Corporation is supporting recycling initiatives, like working with Eco-Cycle’s Green Star Schools program to divert up to two-thirds of waste from participating Boulder schools. Chubb has partnered with The Nature Conservancy to help protect and restore shoreline land in Florida’s Miami-Dade County, not only protecting an important ecosystem but also increasing the area’s resiliency in the face of rising sea levels.
With its “Recycle For Good” initiative, Novelis partnered with Atlanta Habitat for Humanity, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and Mercedes-Benz Stadium to encourage recycling. Novelis collects aluminum bottles and cans at the stadium, recycles them at a local plant, and uses the value of the aluminum to fund a Habitat for Humanity home. For every three million aluminum bottles and cans recycled at the stadium, Novelis funds an entire Habitat for Humanity home. Currently, Novelis is on the way to funding a third home and just recently brought its “Recycle For Good” initiative to the 2019 Kentucky Derby.
Members of the Business Roundtable also recognize the value of their technology in promoting sustainability. Last year, Johnson & Johnson’s design team reduced material used to manufacture the PROXISURE Suturing Device by 97% (excluding packaging) and increased packaging optimization through more efficient use of shipping space. Johnson & Johnson also created a single-tablet regimen for HIV medication that resulted in a 27% raw material reduction in the drug’s manufacturing and a 72% primary packaging reduction.
Whether that’s providing assistance to their own employees and local communities in times of need, working to revitalize local economies, or environmental and economic sustainability a priority, companies recognize that their most support systems are often the communities in which they operate. Making the necessary investments to build community and help people and neighborhoods overcome challenges is essential to promoting innovation and creating a more prosperous future for all.