Last week we highlighted Friends For Life Corp., which is an organization helping people affected by HIV/AIDS to live well. This week let us discuss an important trend in corporate philanthropy and spotlight a local company leading by example.
Typically, when you mentioned “corporate philanthropy” in the past, the term was tied to financial contributions aimed at helping nonprofits and improving the community. Now, however, that term has taken on a much larger meaning by focusing on engagement. The trend has made front page headlines recently with consumers noting that a company’s engagement and goodwill is quickly becoming a more prominent part of their purchasing decision. Employees, especially Millennials, likewise, are now selecting employers based on engagement offerings.
Ken Gladdish, president and CEO of the Seton Foundations, recently talked in Memphis about these trends and the Social Framework of Generosity. Part of his presentation focused on the breakdown in teaching and exemplifying philanthropy. Based on a number of different factors, philanthropy is not being taught as much at the kitchen table, on the playing field, or in the sanctuary, classroom, clubhouse or town hall. So, companies must start filling that gap from an engagement, training and education, and leadership role.
The exciting news is that each day, more citizens and corporations around the Mid-South are raising their hands to be a part of the solution. One such company is Data Facts, a 23-year-old, local company that provides background screening and lending solution needs to businesses around the nation. Its president and CEO, Daphne Large, is heavily involved in our community and is an example of the power in modeling the way and inspiring a shared vision.
Data Facts financially supports many organizations and raises the bar on personal engagement. Its team recently put together and hosted a 600 egg Easter Egg Hunt for children at Youth Villages. For Valentine’s Day, they deliver cupcakes to children and for Christmas, the employees contribute money, shop for gifts, wrap them, and throw parties to deliver the presents to kids across the Mid-South. The team organized a six-month food drive for the Mid-South Food Bank and worked hard physically stocking the shelves. They help build Habitat for Humanity homes, send employees to elementary schools to read to students and provide books, and purchased and installed air conditioners for elderly families in need over the summer.
This is just a small sample that exemplifies how Data Facts is making it easy and fun for its team to make a difference. Many then serve on boards and are further individually engaged in the community. The key is realizing that while money is a great resource, people are the real problem solvers and drivers of success for a city. Thus, it is critical for each of us to play our part!
Jeremy Park, president of the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club, can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter (@lpbreakfastclub) and Facebook (facebook.com/lpbreakfastclub).