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.
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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!
Employee engagement is a commonly used term, but it’s not as easily understood. Engaged employees are enthusiastic about their work, more productive and can serve as powerful brand ambassadors. They also spark the innovation and growth that propel businesses forward. Yet, Gallup recently announced that only 30% of the U.S. workforce is actively engaged.Companies large and small grapple with this challenge, and there are multiple ways they can try to solve it.
Join us at B:CIVIC’s July SPARKS and SIPS to learn from select diverse, local companies that approach the engagement challenge in vastly different ways, as well as Mile High United Way, who has been an expert in employee engagement for more than 128 years. The companies represent a wide range of sizes and industries with varying missions, staff sizes and budgets, but one common goal: to effectively engage every employee through community-oriented initiatives, ultimately boosting productivity, increasing retention and improving overall culture. Attendees will hear from the panel on three primary employee engagement topics:
- Volunteer Engagement – How to develop effective volunteer recruitment, strategically select relevant projects and prevent employee burnout.
- Employee Resource Groups/Professional Development – The importance of fostering employee-led groups and structured educational opportunities that can enhance a company’s mission and make employees feel valued.
- Employee Giving – Best practices for engaging employees in structured giving campaigns of different shapes and sizes.
Attendees will also have a chance to reflect on their own employee engagement efforts and determine the most strategic and appropriate methods for their companies through relevant exercises.
Christina Frantz, Great-West Financial
Ellen Sandberg, CH2M
Sera Smith, Newalta
Tuesday, July 21
3:30-5:30 p.m.: SPARKS panel and workshop
5:30-7:00 p.m.: SIPS networking (free drinks and appetizers provided).
Mile High United Way
711 Park Avenue West
Denver, CO 80205
RSVP Here: www.julysparksandsips.eventbrite.com
B:CIVIC Members: FREE
Are you and your company interested in learning more about developing a corporate social responsibility program? Or have you been around the block a few times and just want to know the best ways to refine your existing strategy?
We are proud to offer our members and the broader Colorado business community Boston College’s highly-esteemed Corporate Citizenship Fast Track certification this fall, discounted at more than half of the standard tuition rate. This five-day educational certification is a program of the college’s Center for Corporate Citizenship, Carroll School of Management and will be led by Boston College faculty members.
Please note: consultants and nonprofit representatives are not eligible to attend this certification.
The Corporate Citizenship Fast Track Certificate program is designed for professionals tasked with developing community engagement, philanthropy, sustainability or corporate social responsibility for their companies. Instructors will educate students on how to develop, execute, measure and scale good corporate citizenship efforts, ultimately improving the Colorado communities they operate in and strengthening the companies they serve.
Obtaining this certificate normally requires professionals to travel to five cities across the country over the course of a year or more, but B:CIVIC’s program will be hosted in five consecutive days at DaVita HealthCare Partners’ downtown Denver headquarters. This allows Colorado professionals to complete the certification in one workweek at a significantly discounted rate without the added burden of travel and lodging in other cities.
Tuition for the Corporate Citizenship Fast Track Certificate program varies based on B:CIVIC membership status and company size and seats are limited.
Member Rate: $5,000
Nonmember Rate: $6,000
Bundled Rate (New B:CIVIC Membership + Tuition): Price varies, please see chart for details.
Interested in attending? Please sign up here!
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 Faegre Baker Daniels.
FaegreBD is a sponsor of the VIP Evening Series for Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA). We find our sponsorship of the DCPA not only a unique opportunity to entertain our clients, prospective clients and friends of the firm, but also a meaningful way for us to contribute to the health and livelihood of the theater in Colorado. Theater has been one of humanity’s earliest and most communal forms of entertainment and societal enrichment. We are proud to support DCPA as they help to further enhance community awareness, education and appreciation of the arts.
Our firm also works closely with the Denver Ballet Guild, and has handled several pro bono matters for Colorado Lawyers for the Arts.
It is extremely important for Faegre Baker Daniels to be a good corporate citizen and give back to the communities in which we live and work. Our firm’s contributions to the Colorado community are significant and varied, and include a mix of pro bono legal services, firm-sponsored community service projects and charitable giving through the Faegre Baker Daniels Foundation. With each contribution of time, talent and treasure, we hope to further enrich our community and continue to work in tandem with other area business to make a lasting difference for future generations.