The continued research statistics about the continued momentum of the CSR movement and companies’ progress despite a down economy is encouraging. But recently I saw first-hand that momentum in action – and that was more exciting than any statistic.
A few weeks ago, I spoke at Simmons College School of Management at a seminar in CSR theory taught by Dr. Shuili Du, a CSR researcher and professor of marketing. I found the students smart and well informed and their questions and comments insightful. What has me all jazzed up, though is what happened after I left the class.
My dad has given me many lessons over my lifetime and one of the ones I always seem to draw on is: Do not confuse someone’s method with his motive.
This came to mind recently when Goldman Sachs announced a $500 million philanthropy initiative to help small business owners through higher education scholarships, access to capital and mentoring. There is little doubt expressed by journalists and bloggers all around the country that what is motivating Goldman is a desperate need for good will coming out of months and months of revelations around the company’s role in Wall Street’s financial meltdown.
As I travel back from the Points of Light Institute’s Presidential Summit on Community Service, hosted by Former President Bush (41) and President Obama, I am inspired by the direction and fresh momentum of the national and community volunteerism movement. Discussions have moved well beyond volunteerism as a “nice to do” or “a civic responsibility,” toward a focus on using service as a tool to achieve targeted social outcomes.