In the Community
Corporate Social ResponsibilityMay 08, 2014
As what appears to be another promisingly successful tourist season, the generosity of the business and corporate sector comes to mind. And there are not only good community reasons for businesses to “live generously,” but good business reasons as well.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the term commonly used to describe a business’s efforts to positively impact the community. America’s corporate sector has a long history of giving back to the communities in which they do business—either to advance an overall CSR strategy, to address specific community needs, to expand consumer and employee loyalty, to build positive brand recognition, or just to expand their corporate values into the larger community. And increasingly, they are expected by their customers and employees to do so.
In a recent study*, researchers found that more than 80% of American consumers are more likely to trust a company that communicates its CSR efforts, are more likely to purchase a product that clearly demonstrates the results of CSR initiatives, and that companies should financially support causes at the same level or higher during an economic downturn.
The Community Foundation of the Lowcountry has had the immense pleasure of working with many businesses over the years in their resolve to strengthen their communities. One notable example is our partnership with the Hargray Caring Coins Foundation, which has contributed more than $2.2 million back into our community since it was established at the Community Foundation in 2003. Also consider Oak Advisors, a local investment firm, and the British Open Pub, a local eatery, each of which established scholarship funds at the Community Foundation.
Bob and Lois Masteller, owners of The Jazz Corner on Hilton Head Island, want more than anything to preserve, protect and promote jazz music, especially among young people. They had a passion that needed an outlet, and that outlet was the establishment of the Junior Jazz Foundation at the Community Foundation. The Foundation has supported the funding of instruments in local schools and summer jazz camp scholarships for local students among other things.
Bob, who is also a former Community Foundation board member, explains it this way, “Through our business and our love of jazz, we found a way to give back. The Junior Jazz Foundation is our way of passing that love and passion along to younger generations.”
Brian Carmines, owner of Hudson’s on the Docks restaurant, and also a former Community Foundation Board Member, is another shining example. From sponsorship of the annual Community Thanksgiving dinner, and Fourth of July fireworks show, to the Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival, which raises funds for the Hilton Head Island Recreation Association, and the David M. Carmines Tennis tournament, which raises funds for cancer research, the Hudson’s team personifies good corporate citizenship.
"We've been very fortunate to have enjoyed some success in our family business at Hudson’s over the years and I've always believed that ‘giving back’ is part of the equation,” said Brian.
These are just a few of the numerous examples in our community. I can think of so many others, can’t you?
What are some other ideas? A business can lend equipment, such as the community truck owned by Collins Group Realty. It can make a meeting room available for community use, like Palmetto Electric and Hilton Head PSD both do. It can sponsor events, offer trinkets for gift bags for a fundraiser, or share an article about a good cause in its corporate newsletter. I know that my own decisions about where I choose to do business can be swayed by such things, as I believe that these businesses care as much about the community as I do.
The bottom line is we all can choose to live generously by taking small steps every time there is an opportunity. From a smile, to a word of encouragement, to a helping hand, to a financial contribution, to a lasting charitable legacy–all these are positive examples. What are YOU doing to live generously?
Denise K. Spencer, President and CEO
*Source: 2012 Cone Communications Corporate Social Return Trend Tracker and 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study