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25 Companies That Are Good for the World and Your Wallet

Kate Lorenz, Editor

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Have you ever heard of "corporate social responsibility"? Many employers are applying it to their business operations and workers are looking for jobs that give them opportunities to practice it. So what is it?

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development defines corporate social responsibility as "the commitment of business to contribute to sustainable development, working with employees, their families, the local community and society at large to improve their quality of life." And more and more Americans are seeking it.

The majority of U.S. workers believe their employers do have a responsibility to the community -- both local and global. Nearly three quarters (seventy-two percent) of U.S. employees report that they believe their company should help people living in extreme poverty outside of the United States. This survey, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Millennium Promise and, placed Africa highest on the list of places most in need of assistance -- in front of North America by a 30 percent margin

Organizations like Millennium Promise are creating avenues for U.S. companies to satisfy the global-minded interests of their employees through participation in the Millennium Villages project, a joint initiative with the Earth Institute at Columbia University and the U.N. Development Programme.  Operating in 79 villages across 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Millennium Villages showcase community-led interventions and investments in health, food production, education, access to clean water, and essential infrastructure, that will enable impoverished villages to escape extreme poverty once and for all

"More than 1 billion people worldwide struggle to survive on less than $1 per day," said Dr. Jeffrey D. Sachs, author of "The End of Poverty" and President and Co-Founder of Millennium Promise, a non profit combating extreme poverty in Africa. "The survey is indicative of a growing global awareness. While 87 percent of workers believe it's important for companies to give back to their local communities, the vast majority also believe it is important to extend that sense of caring and generosity to the global community and help to better the lives of men, women and children around the world."

Companies are finding creative and innovative ways for their employees to get involved with charitable efforts. Nearly half of workers (48 percent) report their companies contribute to charities or offer a corporate matching program. Other forms of participation can included, paid volunteer days, organized events and employer-matched contributions.

"We've found that being part of a global philanthropic effort really helps employees feel connected to the world and proud of where they work," said Ronnen Harary, Chairman and CEO of Spin Master Ltd., an internationally recognized children's entertainment company that develops and distributes innovative products around the world. "It's not just about a donation. Our employees have had a lot of fun raising money for Millennium Promise and learning about international issues through an employee-focused education campaign."

With seventy-two percent of workers saying they contribute to charities outside of their companies, and 35 percent saying they are more inclined to work for a company that makes philanthropic contributions, now more than ever it is important to find a employer that understands your interests. If you want to work for a company that will be good for not only your wallet, but also the world, do your homework. When you are researching potential employers, see if their "About us" section contains information on social responsibility or community involvement. We started for you. Here's a list of 25 companies that are dedicated to the betterment of local and global communities and some of the many philanthropic programs and initiatives they support:

Charitable works include: Allstate Foundation, Helping Hands Committees, support for safe and vital communities, tolerance and inclusion, financial and economic literacy, domestic violence and safe teen driving

Charitable works include: Promoting health and nutrition, environmental stewardship, community involvement and employee advocacy

CH2M Hill
Charitable works include: Community Partners, Engineers Week, World Water Monitoring Day, Engineers Without Borders-USA and Water For People

Cintas Corporation
Charitable works include: Matthew 25: Ministries, which provides humanitarian aid to residents in the United States and in 25 developing countries around the world, and almost 400 organizations in North America

Charitable works include: EDS Foundation for philanthropic efforts, Global Volunteer Day, education initiatives, and employee support groups

Fifth Third Bank
Charitable works include: Fifth Third Foundation, community support projects, the Fifth Third Bank Community Development Corporation and grants of charitable trusts

General Electric Company
Charitable works include: GE Africa Project and GE Millennium District Hospitals

Charitable works include: Company-match employee giving programs, and advocates for education, e-inclusion and communities worldwide

J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc.
Charitable works include: JC Penney Afterschool Fund, National DECA and Junior Achievement, Initiatives for education and disaster relief efforts

JPMorgan Chase
Charitable works include: Promoting economic stability, improving access to quality education and inspiring communities through the celebration of arts and culture

Charitable works include: Kraft Cares, fighting hunger, advancing healthy lifestyles and promoting sustainability, disaster relief and civic engagement

Liberty Mutual
Charitable works include: Liberty Mutual Foundation, Community Care Days, and sponsorships of The Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award, Habitat for Humanity, and Liberty Mutual's "Where's the Fire?" Walt Disney World's Epcot

Manpower Inc
Charitable works include: Employment aid for disadvantaged around the world; awareness of, and opposition to, labor practices that exploit individuals

McDonald's Corporation
Charitable works include: Needs of children, Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), children's health and education, youth sports and amateur athletics

Newell Rubbermaid
Charitable works include: Investing in Community, which provides financial and volunteer support focusing on the motto, "Growing Up, Getting Ahead, and Giving Back"

Charitable works include: An environmental sustainability partnership with Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation and support for National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Robert Half International, Inc.
Charitable works include: Leading by Example, which focuses on education and workforce development, global nonprofits, employee programs and support of scholarships

Sears, Roebuck and Co.
Charitable works include: Employee volunteerism, merchandise donations and charitable partnerships

Charitable works include: Sodexho Foundation; scholarships and grants for organizations like the United Negro College Fund, Hispanic College Fund, and the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund

Charitable works include: A robust employee-volunteer program including "Dollars for Doers" and matching gifts

UBS Financial Services Inc.
Charitable works include: Matched-giving schemes, direct cash donations to selected organizations, employee volunteering, in-kind donations, disaster relief efforts and/or partnerships with community groups

UnitedHealth Group
Charitable works include: The United Health Foundation, which provides funding for preventive, clinical and community-based care services within medically underserved communities

Verizon Wireless
Charitable works include: The HopeLine(r), a phone recycling program turns unused wireless phones into support for victims of domestic violence

Charitable works include: Support through financial contributions, product donations, patient assistance, volunteerism and partnerships to build a better, healthier way of life

Yum! Brands, Inc.
Charitable works include: Yum! Brands Foundation, YUMeals Program, Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program, KFC Colonel's Scholars and Taco Bell Teen Programs

If you want to learn more about these companies' and others' commitments to corporate social responsibility, you can search their Web sites or search the term "corporate social responsibility" on any search engine.

Last Updated: 17/03/2008 - 4:12 PM

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