For almost 30 years, Points of Light has been mobilizing volunteers to the point of what the Atlanta-based nonprofit says now has a reach of 250 cities across 37 nations worldwide.
One way in which this nonprofit seeks to motivate more organizations to boost their citizenship efforts is through its annual Civic 50 awards. These awardees together offer a template for how forward-thinking companies can move community engagement and social impact as focal points of their business.
“Points of Light believes that companies, their employees and partners can be drivers of transformative social change in communities around the world," said Natalye Paquin, president and CEO of Points of Light. “This year’s honorees of The Civic 50 collectively gave $2.3 billion to their communities—often giving 50 percent more than other companies—and volunteered for more than 10.5 million hours in 2019. These results exemplify exceptional corporate leadership in community and civic engagement.”
The Civic 50 honorees are both public and privately-held companies with U.S. operations that have revenues of at least $1 billion. Those companies that make this list are chosen based on four pillars, or should we say, the four “I’s”: investment, integration, institutionalization and impact.
First launched in 2011, these awards offer a standard for corporate citizenship and give organizations ideas on how companies can harness their employees’ time and expertise to improve the quality of life within the communities in which they conduct business.
This year’s Civic 50 reads like an A-to-Z list of leading companies and spans just about every major industry. Companies on this year’s list include Aflac, CVS Health, Deloitte, Delta Air Lines, General Mills, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Marriott and Symantec. Within the materials sector, Freeport-McMoran leads the pack, according to Points of Light. And when it comes to having a top volunteer culture, General Mills comes out on top this year.
According to Points of Light, there are several ways in which these 50 companies stand out—in terms of their level of community involvement, as well as how intensively they measure their programs’ impact:
Generous giving: On average, the Civic 50 companies have donated more than twice as much when compared to other U.S. companies: $283,000 for every $10 million in revenue earned as opposed to $130,000.
Increasingly sophisticated giving: Almost half of the Civic 50 companies make “multi-faceted investments,” i.e., their grants come with additional support via volunteerism, in-kind goods or services, or multi-year pledges.
Business function integration: Community involvement programs are becoming increasingly integrated with these companies’ functions. The business functions most commonly supported with community involvement are employee engagement (98 percent), marketing or communications (94 percent), and diversity and inclusion programs (90 percent).
Board-level involvement: A large majority (86 percent) of the Civic 50 companies include community involvement in the agenda of at least one of these companies’ board meetings annually.
Social impact and measurement: Two-thirds of the Civic 50 companies gauge the results and social impact of their grants as part of regularly monitored data collection process.
Image credit: Joey Kyber/Unsplash
Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.
Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.