Today two people asked how I got started in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Great question. It was one of those unexpected, game-changing events that propelled me into CSR.
In 1999 a friend was the Executive Director at the Watts Counseling and Learning Center, and I was working for the Disney owned Anaheim Angels baseball team and the Mighty Ducks hockey team. My friend asked if the teams could donate game tickets to the Center? If so, he’d distribute them to families in Watts. Easy enough, that was done.
Than I thought about other people I knew and decided to organize a ski-day for some of the kids in his Center. After making a few calls, the logistics for that event was done. Snow Summit donated ski tickets, rentals and lessons for 20 kids. Gold Coast Tours donated a bus to transport the kids to/from the ski resort. Oakley donated goggles, and I got friends to donate ski jackets.
About two weeks after the ski date, the kids mailed me thank you notes and pictures of their day on the slopes, and that’s when I discovered none of the kids had been outside of Watts. So the entire day was a new experience for them — seeing the mountains, touching snow, learning a new sport, smelling pine trees in the fresh mountain air. WOW. It was life altering for them and for me.
A few days later my friend at Oakley asked about how I got Burton Snow Boards and Mitsubishi Motors involved. Well, that was news to me. Neither company participated. So I called both companies and discovered they partner together in a program called “Chill“. It was nearly identical to mine, however their program was national, working with three non-profits in seven markets. Their goal was to teach at-risk, underserved youth how to build self-esteem and life-skills through snowboarding.
Instantly I understood why Burton created Chill , but why did Mitsubishi participate? The connection wasn’t logical to me. So I asked their community outreach person about their goals, and for the first time heard the words “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR).
The Mitsubishi representative said the Chill program was part of their CSR program. It was a community outreach campaign that enabled them to engage with the youth and show them how to accomplish goals they never thought possible.
Since then I’ve been on a quest to help companies thrive by embracing CSR. My strengthens involve creating CSR strategies, identifying CSR programs that strengthen corporate goals, and communicating CSR efforts (internally and externally).
So, here’s the CSR scoop. It focuses on creating a positive triple bottom line: profits, people, and the planet. For example, companies can create an employee wellness program; publish an annual CSR report; engage in environmental sustainability, create a community engagement program, embrace a cause marketing campaign (Habitat for Humanity, breast cancer awareness or financial literacy) or create a foundation (philanthropy).
The possibilities are vast, and helping a company embrace/communicate CSR give my life a sense of meaning. It helps me serve a purpose greater than me, and that’s why I am a CSR specialist.
Do you have a CSR question? If so, please send me a note. Thank you.