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Walking the Talk: How Businesses Can Help Build Strong Communities

The challenges we face are mounting quickly - from education to jobs to health care access. But businesses can step in and help build strong communities.
By Doug Marshall
Strong Communities

Being a force for good in the world is more important than ever. The challenges our communities face are mounting quickly— including education, jobs, poverty, health, climate, public safety, and energy. But if we look again with a fresh perspective, behind these challenges lie opportunities for us to learn, adapt, and tackle these problems together.

Over the past few decades we have seen a monumental shift in employee activism and an increasing expectation for businesses to help create positive social change that helps address everything from the needs of neighborhood schools to large-scale global initiatives. In this new age of work, it is no longer sufficient for businesses to view their role solely through the performance of their bottom line – businesses that do well, will do good.

To truly bring about meaningful change it must be authentic to the business and its employees. The transformation facing corporate America is undeniable, but organizations can use their talent as a competitive advantage by providing a heightened sense of purpose through philanthropic efforts and volunteerism. For instance, America's Charities Snapshot Employee Research found that 71 percent of employees say it is very important to work for an organization whose culture is supportive of giving and volunteering.

And business leaders are acutely aware of this new reality. The Deloitte Global societal impact survey quantified the mindset of today’s corporate leadership and the lens they look at business through. The survey reveals that business leaders wholeheartedly believe companies are more than mere employers (93 percent); they’re also stewards of society. In fact, 95 percent of respondents said they plan to take bigger stances on societal-impact issues in 2019 and are devoting substantial resources to socially responsible initiatives.

At Deloitte, we are united in our commitment to make a positive impact on the world, wherever we can - it’s part of our DNA. The passion of our professionals gives Deloitte an opportunity to reach deep into local communities and act as a catalyst for change. Nearly two decades ago Deloitte introduced Impact Day, a way to celebrate our year-round commitment to making an impact that matters. To celebrate our 20th Impact Day on June 7, 2019, and to create lasting community impact, Deloitte hosted 20 philanthropic “surprises” in cities around the country.

On Impact Day I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to volunteer at the Carroll Center for the Blind. Working alongside my Deloitte colleagues, we gardened, planted and weeded to help beautify the gardens on the organization’s sprawling campus. Established in 1936, the renowned Carroll Center for the Blind, located in Newton, Massachusetts, empowers those who are blind and visually impaired to learn the skills to be independent in their homes, in class settings, and in their work places, and ultimately to lead a fulfilling life. Every year, Impact Day serves as a reminder of the importance of looking beyond our four walls and taking the time to give back to the communities where we live.

Ultimately, our role as corporate citizens is about using experience and talent to do something extra, it’s about empowering professionals to participate and it’s about building more vibrant communities. Our professionals know that they can succeed at Deloitte by being a force for good in the world because it’s true to our purpose and who we are.

Image credit: Rita Vicari/Unsplash