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Corporate Volunteering:  The Civic 50

Corporate Volunteering:  The Civic 50

The Civic 50 is the nation's first comprehensive ranking of S&P 500 companies that best use their time, talent and resources to improve the quality of life in the communities where they do business. I was honored to serve as a judge for this important endeavor and am proud that more than a third of The Civic 50 are also United Way Global Corporate Leadership (GCL) companies.  Congratulations especially to IBM, AT&T,  GE, Bank of America, Microsoft, FedEx Target and Walmart, all GCL companies, for being among the top twenty on the list! The entire Civic 50 list appears at the bottom of this page.

It takes everyone in the community working together to create a brighter future for us all, and corporate America is an important partner in that effort. GCL companies and their employees are leading this charge in communities across the globe through their commitment by contributing more than $1 billion annually and volunteering more than 26 million hours.

To create The Civic 50, Bloomberg Businessweek worked with Points of Light and The National Conference on Citizenship to design a survey measuring corporate civic engagement programs on seven metrics:  leadership, measurement and strategy, design, employee civic growth, community partnerships, cause alignment and transparency. Winning companies employed sophisticated tools to measure the impact of community engagement and alignment of these programs with their business' core competencies.  This Businessweek story provides great snapshots of what different companies are doing, as does this slide show.

Increasingly, corporate volunteer programs make good business sense. Corporate volunteer programs can attract and retain employees, and build their skills on the job.  For example, IBM’s Corporate Service Corps is a community service program that is also a leadership academy. Employees’ month-long assignments have included an online education program in India and modernizing Kenya’s postal service.  Program participants say the Corps has bolstered their job performance, skills, and desire to build careers at IBM. Plus, the Corps helps grow business and build expertise within the company. Created in 2007, thousands of employees compete for 500 spots each year. 

AT&T’s Aspire Local High School Impact Initiative provides support to high schools so they can increase on-time promotion to the next grade and reduce dropout rates. Its job shadow program, which has generated 270,000 volunteer hours, allows students and employees to team up for a couple of hours during the business day for project-based activities and problem solving.  If you are interested in helping keep kids in school, I urge you to join our effort to recruit one million volunteer readers, tutors and mentors, who do so much to help kids graduate on time.

The companies recognized in the inaugural Civic 50 contributed a remarkable amount of time and resources to improve the communities they serve. For example, the top five companies alone provide $1.5 billion in grant support to community organizations, 17.5 million volunteer hours valued at over $375 million, and $150 million in matching donations. United Way is proud to partner with 100 national and global corporations and nearly 1,800 community-based United Ways in 41 countries and territories, to provide expert advice and resources to support Civic 50 companies and others in their effort to improve lives and strengthen communities around the world.

I hope that this ranking of corporate civic engagement will spur companies throughout our country to understand the connection between volunteering and the bottom line: what’s good for our communities is good for business.  We’d love to hear what companies in your communities are doing to advance the common good.  In the meantime, here is the list of The Civic 50, with United Way GCL companies in bold.

1. IBM
2. Citi
3. AT&T

4. Aetna
5. Capital One Financial Corporation
6. Morgan Stanley
7. Campbell Soup Company
8. The McGraw-Hill Companies
9. GE
10. Hasbro, Inc.
11. Western Union
12. FedEx Corporation
13. Allstate Insurance
14. Microsoft Corporation
15. Bank of America
16. Target
17. Intel Corporation
18. UnitedHealth Group
19. Abbott
20. Southwest Airlines
21. Pacific Gas & Electric Company
22. Viacom Inc.
23. Apollo Group, Inc.
24. American Express
25. Cummins Inc.
26. Walmart
27. Comerica, Inc.
28. Hewlett-Packard
29. The Hershey Company
30. Altria Group, Inc.
31. McKesson Corporation
32. ConAgra Foods, Inc.
33. Raytheon Company
34. H.J. Heinz Company
35. The Goldman Sachs Group
36. Spectra Energy
37. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold
38. Discovery Communications
39. Dr Pepper Snapple Group
40. Motorola Solutions

41. Devon Energy Corporation
42. Baker Hughes Incorporated
43. Starbucks Coffee Company (tie)
43. Ameriprise Financial (tie)
45. Harris Corporation
46. Weyerhaeuser Company
47. Adobe Systems Inc.
48. Sigma-Aldrich Corp. (tie)
48. Verizon Communications (tie)
50. Life Technologies