News

Arts and business news from around the country.

RSS

In Pro Bono We Trust

Posted by Tim McClimon
0 Comments

The week before Hurricane Sandy turned the East Coast upside down, American Express and other companies joined the Taproot Foundation in celebrating Pro Bono Week.

 

We participated by hosting a Scope-a-thon, an effort to engage our employees in helping to scope projects from nonprofits in order to prepare them to more fully benefit from pro bono consulting in the future.

 

We had 35 American Express employees in our New York office assist 11 nonprofits in a three-hour marathon Scope-a-thon. The nonprofits included:

  • Brooklyn Public Library
  • City Parks Foundation
  • Creative Alternatives of New York
  • GallopNYC
  • God’s Love We Deliver
  • Historic House Trust
  • Japan Society
  • Neighborhood Housing Services of NYC
  • New York Blood Center
  • Reel Works Teen Filmmaking
  • Studio Museum in Harlem

 

The Taproot Foundation did a terrific job of structuring the conversation around these four questions:

        1. First, what hurts?
        2. Next, what are some ways to fix it?
        3. So, what’s the specific prescription?
        4. And finally, what’s the treatment plan?

 

The response from both employees and nonprofits was extremely positive. 100 percent of employees said that they would participate again and refer the program to a colleague. One employee went so far as to say that it was her “best day” at American Express.

Nonprofit leaders were equally pleased, with one stating: “Yesterday’s session was a terrific opportunity to gain fresh insights and perspectives from your esteemed colleagues.”

 

The occasion of Pro Bono Week also provided me with an incentive to sit down and read Aaron Hurst’s new book on leadership.

 

In addition to Aaron’s role as president and founder of Taproot, he writes a blog for the Huffington Post. Last year, he interviewed 19 corporate leaders (including me) about their careers and interests, and the evolving relationship between business and the community.

 

In his introduction to the book (he also did the line drawings), Aaron summarizes his discussions with corporate leaders with this statement:

  • At the heart of their visions is an awareness that coinciding and driving much of the change in the social contract between business and society is a change in the social contract between professionals and society. Professionals and the talents they bring in areas like marketing, technology, management, design and finance are the currency of the service economy and are playing a core role in the evolution of corporate philanthropy and community investment.

 

Here are a few other quotes about pro bono work from corporate leaders featured in Aaron’s book:

  • “A little over five years ago, we identified our people and their talent as our greatest strengths. Being a company that has a lot of employees, we said we have to leverage this group beyond just their time. While time is valuable, we think that talent is a multiplier. Now, 100 percent of our youth-serving grants have what’s called “link and leverage,” which is they’re linking to a company asset beyond cash. We also leverage internal talent pro bono to get our work done as a foundation. From strategic planning to surveys to website design, employees from different areas of the company volunteer to help us meet our goals.” ~ Bobby Silten, The Gap
  • “Our Corporate Service Corps is one of our key programs. We take our top talent in the company and give them the ability to deliver strategic planning assistance, project management assistance, technology strategies, and social networking tools. In the last 3.5 years, over a thousand employees have worked in teams with not-for-profit organizations and governments, creating really lasting partnerships. I like to think that we’re operating in the community arena the same way we operate in the business environment.” ~ Stan Litow, IBM
  • “We’ve always done pro bono work and we clearly see the value internally. We use it as a development area for our people. It’s really embedded in our value system. To us, it’s accelerating the development of our employees and making better professionals. They need to understand the global markets; they need to understand the broader communities in which we operate.” ~ Kathy Hopkinkah-Hannan, KPMG

 

At American Express, our pro bono consulting program, which we call Serve2Gether Consulting, is completing its first full year of operation.

 

Like Kathy Hopkinkah-Hannan, we’re pleased with the results internally, and like Stan LItow and Bobby Silten, we clearly see the potential for leverage externally. Next year, we hope to grow the program globally by partnering with a select number of nonprofit organizations who can help us “outsource” the mechanics of the program.

 

Stay tuned for more results next year.

 

*Originally posted on Tim’s CSR Now! blog and also on ARTSblog.

*Photo via.

Related
Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus

More News

BCA 10 Nominations Now Open!
Dec 10, 2018 0 Comments
Every year, Americans for the Arts through its Business Committee for the Arts, honors the 10 best businesses partnering with the arts in America.   As today’s business landscape continues to shift, companies need talent that...
Go to full post
A Theatre Company in Good Company
Nov 29, 2018 0 Comments
Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company   The Tony Award-winning director founded the eponymous organization in 2002 with a mission “to celebrate the rich tradition of black storytelling while giving voice to bold new artists...
Go to full post
Private Sector Takes a Stand
Nov 15, 2018 0 Comments
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99;...
Go to full post
2018 BCA 10 Honorees in Forbes Magazine
Nov 02, 2018 0 Comments
This year's BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America honorees were in the September 30 issues of Forbes Magazine.   Read more about this year's honorees: Churchill Downs Fifth Third Bank Fosun International...
Go to full post
What's so important about creativity?
Oct 30, 2018 0 Comments
We might work in the arts field, but our day-to-day work looks like any other business. We stare at Excel charts, spend hours on conference calls, write reports, and try to find the bottom of our never-ending email inboxes. Like...
Go to full post
Business Contributions to the Arts Survey 2018
Oct 10, 2018 0 Comments
Business Contributions to the Arts: 2018 Edition is the second edition published by The Conference Board and Americans for the Arts of the annual study. Conducted in the summer of 2018, the survey garnered 132 responses from...
Go to full post
David Rockefeller pARTnership Award: Square + Cheyenne River Youth Project
Oct 01, 2018 0 Comments
Square and Cheyenne River Youth Project will receive the David Rockefeller pARTnership Award at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA 10.   "Our hope with the project, “Lakota...
Go to full post
BCA Leadership Award: Chandrika Tandon
Sep 27, 2018 0 Comments
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99;...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: UMB Financial Corporation (Kansas City, MO)
Sep 24, 2018 0 Comments
Americans for the Arts is excited to honor UMB at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA10.   “It is an honor to be recognized among this group of distinguished and innovative...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: West Bend Mutual Insurance Company (West Bend, WI)
Sep 20, 2018 0 Comments
Americans for the Arts is excited to honor West Bend Mutual Insurance at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA10.   “The arts can have a profound impact on people of all...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Fifth Third Bank (Cincinnati, OH)
Sep 17, 2018 0 Comments
Americans for the Arts is excited to honor Fifth Third Bank at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA 10.   “Fifth Third Bank is committed to building thriving and vibrant...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Phillips 66 (Houston, TX)
Sep 13, 2018 0 Comments
“As a company committed to improving lives, Phillips 66 is proud to support the arts. Our communities are enriched by the arts, precisely because art touches and changes lives in ways that are positive and profound. It’s one...
Go to full post
Quaver Music Supports Arts Education
Sep 11, 2018 0 Comments
September 9-15 is National Arts in Education Week!   Passed by Congress in 2010, House Resolution 275 designates the week beginning with the second Sunday in September as National Arts in Education Week. During this week, the...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: The Standard (Portland, OR)
Sep 10, 2018 0 Comments
Americans for the Arts is excited to honor The Standard at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA10.   “Fostering an appreciation for the arts helps build a foundation for...
Go to full post

Already a partner?

Already a partner?

Learn easy ways to take your partnership to a new level.

Use our ads locally

Use our ads locally

View The pARTnership Movement ad campaign and find ways to use the ads.

pARTnership videos

pARTnership videos

Watch and share our videos from The pARTnership Movement.

Partnership ideas

Partnership ideas

Inspire employees with tickets to the ballet or a concert.

Are you an arts group?

Are you an arts group?

Get listed in our searchable directory.

Recruit talent

Recruit talent

Employees want to live and work in a vibrant community.