The Denver Business Journal
Friday, October 9, 2015
4:00 am MDT
By Emma Dell
It’s well-known that community brings people together — sometimes it’s an individual, sometimes it’s family, and sometimes it’s a group of philanthropic companies coming together under one organization.
Denver’s B:CIVIC is banking on that third way: An altruistic organization focusing the civic and philanthropic efforts of many businesses.
Formed from the skeleton of Denver’s original “2% Club” and fleshed out with a host of new members, Businesses Committed to Investing & Volunteering in the Community dedicates itself to promoting philanthropic efforts by local companies.
The organization, which has taken on the moniker B:CIVIC, has applied for classification as a 501(c)3 nonprofit. B:CIVIC will rely on member companies and their donations to keep itself running. After its founding in 2013 with 100 members, B:CIVIC’s membership has grown to 150 and leaders have high hopes for future growth.
“Certainly we want to expand the membership even further,” said B:CIVIC’s executive director and CEO, Su Hawk. “We’re so proud that we have 150 very forward-minded, civic-thinking companies.”
B:CIVIC’s members come from all parts of Colorado’s business community. More than 40 percent of B:CIVIC members are considered entrepreneurial companies, employing anywhere from 1 to 50 people. But it also counts Fortune 500 companies with more than 500 Colorado employees and everything else in between.
“Corporate philanthropy is for any company of any size of any industry,” Hawk said.
Each member is different. They all contribute in their own way, but are formed by the same basic principles: A desire to do good in the community, and an interest in fulfilling their corporate social responsibility.
Law firm Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, one of the organization’s founding members, is celebrating its 100-year anniversary with a “Year of 100 Good Deeds,” choosing 100 charitable causes to support over the course of the year. And their progress tracker is filling up, as 95 of 100 projects had been listed as complete as of mid-September.
Its motivation is unique, as not many companies can boast such longevity, but its execution is right in line with B:CIVIC’s goals: Helping member companies find compelling ways to engage their employees and give back to the community.
“So many of these companies are doing this for all of the right reasons, and so nobody knows that they’re doing it except for the people who were intended,” said Hawk.
B:CIVIC isn’t just a support group for do-gooders, though. Their reasons may be selfless, as Hawk contends, but the businesses also benefit.
One of the guiding principles of The 2% Club was that businesses can compete better with other businesses of equal quality when their customers see them supporting a cause. Joining the Club, or now B:CIVIC, gives companies an edge over their competitors while also helping the community they’re based in to grow stronger.
Participating in CSR can also give businesses an edge when it comes to hiring. Hawk argues that it is a common theme among B:CIVIC’s members that volunteering builds pride in company employees.
“They’re not there to show off, they’re not there to be recognized. They’re doing it because they want their employees to feel really good about the company,” she siad.
Employees are some of the biggest benefactors of company membership, because not only do they get to feel good about working for a philanthropic business, but they also get to participate in B:CIVIC’s many programs and discussion workshops based on sharing ideas, networking, and discussing strategies.
“We have different programs…one is called Academy and that’s all about really deep, thoughtful content. Then we have another program that’s called Sparks & Sips and the objective is to have a workshop to spark peoples’ interest, and then we have a social hour afterward so they can connect with each other and further the conversations,” said Hawk.
“We also have a peer-to-peer network that we’ve held that’s been very successful, and often times it’s because it’s held with other peers who are discussing the same issues.”
Resources such as these can be really great motivators for those who may want to get involved in their community, but aren’t really sure how to do it.
The increase in company contributions after companies become members of B:CIVIC is evident to Hawk, and she credits the increased association with other philanthropically minded companies for that change. Online discussion forums are set to be launched soon as well.
“I believe they will be very productive for people, because our in-present conversations have been very successful. I would hope that our online discussions would even further that,” Hawk said.
“Every single day I want to make sure that I’ve done more in our community,” said Hawk. “Now I get a chance to really help B:CIVIC strengthen how it’s a hub in our community.”
5 Key Ways to Boost Employee Philanthropy
1. Create a unique charity involvement project
2. Attend networking events and educational seminars
3. Team with similarly involved companies
4. Pick specific quarterly focus issues
5. Listen for great ideas or areas of interest
The following Member Spotlight was submitted by University of the Rockies.
Want to see your story featured? Fill out a Share Your Story form today!
For the fourth year in a row, University of the Rockies recently accepted the prestigious 2015 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award for its efforts to ensure diversity and inclusion on campus through “initiatives, programs and outreach; student recruitment, retention and completion; and hiring practices among staff.”
This honor was presented by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. The HEED Award is a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.
“University of the Rockies is honored to have been selected for this prestigious award,” said Francesca Galarraga, director of diversity for University of the Rockies, in a press release. “For us, being recognized for our diversity efforts reinforces our commitment to our core values of service, integrity, diversity, and excellence. Our goal is to foster an environment of inclusion where our faculty, staff, and students feel welcome, appreciated, respected, and valued for their contributions to the University and our community. We are proud to receive the HEED Award for the fourth year in a row.”
Congratulations to University of the Rockies for this prestigious honor, and for setting an example for all of us.
Learn more about INSIGHT into Diversity and its HEED Award here.
B:CIVIC and Elevating Philanthropy In Communities of Color (EPIC) will host Elevate Your Giving on October 6th on the beautiful rooftop patio of Janus Capital Group. This free event will celebrate and empower community-minded professionals of color. All are welcome to join us for an evening of networking, music and inspirational speakers! RSVP here.
The following Member Spotlight was submitted by Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.
Want to see your story featured? Fill out a Share Your Story form today!
Congratulations to Founding Member Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck’s Las Vegas office for being named the Philanthropic Business Partner of the Year – Private for 2015 by Vegas Inc. and Angel Media Groups in the annual Angel Awards!
According to the company blog, “Brownstein contributes to the community through board service, hands-on volunteerism, financial contributions and pro bono legal work. Approximately 70 percent of the firm’s attorneys and policy professionals sit on nonprofit boards. In addition to board service, Brownstein’s attorneys and policy professionals provided more than 11,000 hours of pro bono service in 2014. Brownstein’s pro bono commitment to the Las Vegas community includes significant work for the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, the largest low-income civil legal services provider in Las Vegas, including representation of children in the foster care system through the Children’s Attorney Program (CAP).
The firm’s Las Vegas office has adopted Halle Hewetson Elementary School, where more than 90 percent of students receive free or reduced-price lunch. Firm employees built bikes for students, cleaned school grounds, installed a garden, painted classroom doors, adopted students’ families for the holidays, read to students during Nevada Reading Week, and contributed books, school uniforms and a washer/dryer to the school. Brownstein team members also volunteer at Three Square Food Bank, Southern Nevada’s only food bank providing food assistance to the residents of Lincoln, Nye, Esmeralda and Clark counties, and the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, which strives to be the model for providing hope and change to the homeless, addicted, and others in need.”
B:CIVIC is proud to have Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck as a member and looks forward to sharing more of its generous community work in the future!
As part of our efforts to recognize the incredible impact of local businesses collaborating with arts + culture organizations, we asked our members to share stories of their involvement. The following guest post was provided by Founding Member CBS4.
CBS4 has been committed to the arts for easily over two decades. Our primary contribution to the arts has been through creating awareness for Denver’s vibrant arts and cultural communities and by informing viewers about the broad range of organizations, exhibitions, and programs available to the everyone in the community.
CBS4 has been proud to partner with a number of different arts organizations over the years including the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the Butterfly Pavilion, the Biennial of the Americas, the Colorado Symphony and numerous others. CBS4 has partnered with VISIT Denver to support Denver Arts Week each year and in March 2015 we were delighted to be able to sponsor Boulder Arts Week.
We understand how important arts and culture is to our economy and we believe art, culture and creativity positively impacts individuals and communities in so many meaningful ways. We believe our coverage and support of the arts brings value to all of our viewers throughout the state and beyond.
In 2013, CBS4 was honored to receive the Philanthropy Award from the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA). CBS4 has been a longtime member and sponsor of CBCA because we support their mission of serving as a catalyst for Colorado’s business community to leverage the arts for economic vitality.
Supporting Arts + Culture: A Business Case for Community Investment
Your company’s budget is tight, and dedicating money to an organization committed to arts and culture might seem tricky. Join us to learn from local businesses and nonprofits that have forged alliances in the space, ultimately benefiting the companies AND improving the community.
Here are the details:
Date: May 14, 2015
Time: 7:30-9:30 a.m.
Location: Cleo Parker Robinson Dance: 119 Park Avenue West, Denver, CO 80205
Cost: $10 for B:CIVIC members; $15 for non-members (breakfast is included with the cost of admission)
RSVP: Click here!
About the Event:
Denver’s abundance of arts and culture inspires, entertains and connects community members to one another. Many companies might wonder: is there a business case for getting involved with the arts? More specifically, is it worthwhile for a company to invest time and money towards activities like partnering with a local museum, sponsoring community concerts or funding art scholarships?
According to many local business experts, the answer is YES.
Attend the inaugural B:CIVIC Academy on Thursday, May 14th to learn the ways in which working with nonprofits can strengthen a strategic business plan.
Deputy Director, Denver Arts & Venues
FEATURED BUSINESS-NONPROFIT PARTNERSHIP PANELISTS
Lead Dog, Little Pub Company
Nonprofit Partner: Art Students League of Denver
Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, ARROW Electronics
Vice President of Development, Colorado Symphony
Vice President, Investments, FirstBank
Dr. Caitlin Lindquist
Program Director, Think 360 Arts
Suncor Energy’s vision is to be trusted stewards of valuable natural resources. Guided by our values, we will lead the way to deliver economic prosperity, improved social well-being and a healthy environment for today and tomorrow.
About the B:CIVIC Academy
The purpose of the B:CIVIC Academy series is to provide B:CIVIC members and other leaders from the business community with the business case for a community investment strategy around a specific issue area. Academies are organized and executed by the Academy Subcommittee of B:CIVIC’s Program Committee. The representatives who planned this Academy are: Christina Frantz – Great-West Financial, Brandy Radey – Suncor Energy, Douglas Smooke – Renaissance Wealth Management, Emily Holleran – dovetail solutions, Shanda Vangas – QEP Resources and Cori Streetman – Barefoot PR.
Business Committed to Investing and Volunteering in the Community (B:CIVIC) is a not-for-profit membership organization established in 2014 to promote and advance Colorado business philanthropy and community involvement. It enables businesses of all sizes to learn and share various ways to give back that are meaningful to employees, impactful to the community and positive for a company’s bottom line. Members participate in business development events, networking opportunities and educational resources and enjoy belonging to an organization that is dedicated to Colorado communities. Learn more at www.bcivic.org.
Founding Board Members
Guest contributor: Jessica Thrasher of Headwaters Realty
On March 14, 2015 Headwaters Realty partnered with Odell Brewing Company and organized a volunteer project for the House of Neighborly Service in Loveland, CO.
The House of Neighborly Service connects low income and impoverished individuals and families to available resources in the community. They recently moved into a new space and invited all of the partner agencies that they work with on a regular basis to join them so that their clients could get all of the services they need in one location. Since the House of Neighborly Service recently moved and is still in the process of building out space for other nonprofits, they needed a lot of help cleaning.
For our project we had 31 volunteers contribute 93 hours cleaning the bathrooms, sweeping construction areas, scraping mud off the floors, mudding screw holes in the walls, mopping, cleaning the new conference room, cleaning all of the stairs, and painting! We were AMAZED by all of the work that was accomplished by these very dedicated volunteers. This project was also unique because it was our first partnership project with another company. We were very excited to be able to partner with Odell Brewing Company. By combining our resources, we were able to have a greater impact.
About Headwaters Realty’s commitment to community:
The Headwaters Realty volunteer program began in June 2014. We have two main focus areas: Education and the Environment. As a company, we organize one volunteer project per quarter that fits into one of our focus areas. We invite our past and present clients, family, friends, and community members to join us at our volunteer projects. We are committed to making our volunteering efforts an integral part of how we do business. A portion of all commissions goes toward our community engagement projects. We hire agents who also believe in this mission and each agent organizes one volunteer project per year with the local nonprofit of their choice. We believe that by volunteering and giving back to the community, we have the ability to affect change and improve where we live, work and play.