CINCINNATI, Ohio (February 1, 2022) — Corporate social responsibility is a business practice where a company pledges to meet philanthropic or other societal goals. Often, these goals are designed so employees can participate through giving and volunteering.
United Way is taking a strategic approach to helping companies meet CSR goals. It created an initiative called SharedPurpose, where it strategizes with corporate partners to not only meet those goals, but to engage employees around the goals.
At Ernst & Young LLP (EY US), we teamed up on EY’s local Digital Divide Take Action Fund, which takes aim at closing the gap that exists for Black, Latino and low-income families in Greater Cincinnati preventing them from participating in the virtual world due to inadequate hardware, connectivity and mentoring opportunities.
“This problem became more apparent and aggravated during the COVID-19 pandemic as schools, jobs and business transactions migrated to online platforms, which limited critical access to connection and learning for some,” said Jeremy Vaughan, EY Cincinnati Office Managing Partner. “It’s becoming increasingly more important to bridge the digital divide.”
EY and United Way co-created a strategy that saw United Way engaging EY employees in the nomination process, vetting and then recommending organizations to benefit from the fund. Ultimately, six organizations were selected by EY’s & UWGC Digital Divide Team and each received $11,000.
“The result of teaming together is much more than just giving away laptops or Wi-Fi connections…we went beyond the tools to find organizations committed to EY’s CSR vision of developing the skills and mindset needed for sustainable, meaningful work, as well as the leadership skills needed to start and scale small, growing businesses,” said Moira Weir, president/CEO of United Way of Greater Cincinnati.
“Yes, we provided the tools, but we also found organizations using those tools as vehicles to promote systemic change. Those participating get more than tools, they get skills and the mindset to thrive long-term.”
One example of that: Esperanza Latino Center plans to work with a group on Latino individuals/couples and train them to learn how to open emails, translate documents, search for job applications, use online tools to improve their English. When they complete the training, they will get a laptop. The Center will also work with two small restaurants to help them build, operate and effectively use a website, as well as paid search and social media marketing, to improve and grow their overall business.
Procter & Gamble
At P&G, we are doing Brand Targeted Investments -- finding intersections between our strategic community initiatives and P&G’s committed interest areas.
For example, in line with the mission of the organization’s Fem Care unit -- to build girls’ confidence, coupled with its intentional effort to serve Black communities, United Way partnered with the unit to establish a Black Empowerment Works Grant to fuel the individual and collective work of Black girls, and invest in community-based, Black-led work in Greater Cincinnati.
United Way has similarly engaged P&G’s Oral Care, Beauty and Family Care units.
We also created new giving vehicles for the P&G workplace campaign, aligned with P&G’s Force for Good vision. We found intersections between our work and the areas P&G and its employees care about. This makes our workforce campaign more relevant and aligned to how P&G wants to be seen by its employees as corporate citizens. The funds are:
With the Bengals, United Way is working through the Bengals’ Black Empowerment Accelerator Fund to help Black social changemakers grow their networks, knowledge, capacity and impact.
This opportunity aligns with the Bengals Inspire-Change mission of identify, addressing and ending the practices and policies that deny opportunities to all, regardless of race, religion, or creed, with a special focus on the youth population.
The sponsorship goes beyond investment, including volunteering with Bengal’s employees and players sharing their skills and “personal brand” expertise with BEW grantees.
If your company has CSR goals and believes United Way can help, contact UWGC’s Johanna Navarro at firstname.lastname@example.org.