Growing corporate giving, one business at a time

The Denver Business Journal
www.bizjournals.com/denver
Friday, October 9, 2015
4:00 am MDT

By Emma Dell
edell@bizjournals.com
303-803-9235

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.

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Su Hawk, B:CIVIC executive director and CEO, right, talks with Barbara Berv, center, The Denver Foundation vice president of philanthropic services and Pat Landrum, Social Venture Partners Denver executive director. The Denver Foundation is supportive of B:Civic and Berv is on the Board of Directors. KATHLEEN LAVINE / DENVER BUSINESS JOURNAL

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
Source: B:CIVIC

edell@bizjournals.com, 303-803-9235

 View the original article here. 

Denver Transit Partners Fills Backpacks for Local Students

The following Member Spotlight was submitted by Denver Transit Partners.
Do you want to see your community investment story featured? Fill out a Share Your Story form today!

 


 

The school year is in full swing, and thanks to B:CIVIC member Denver Transit Partners, many disadvantaged kids entered their classrooms with fresh school supplies.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average family spent $670 on back-to-school costs in 2014. For families struggling to pay the bills, it’s difficult to pay for classroom essentials like pencils, paper and backpacks. Denver Transit Partners saw an opportunity to help solve this issue with the local nonprofit, A Precious Child.

The Fill A Backpack program at A Precious Child supplies disadvantaged and displaced children with backpacks filled with school supplies to help them be better prepared to perform in school. Denver Transit Partners joined forces with the Fill A Backpack program to donate backpacks, school supplies, and ultimately help A Precious Child exceed their goal of providing 7,750 filled backpacks this year.

“I am most proud of my fellow employees at Denver Transit Partners for their commitment to serving the community,” said Aaron Epstein with Denver Transit Partners. “Big thanks to DTP for helping the Fill A Backpack program distribute a total of 8,447 backpacks this year!”

B:CIVIC is proud of Denver Transit Partners’ work in the community!

Learn more about A Precious Child click here.

 

Member Spotlight: University of the Rockies Wins Award for Diversity

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!

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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.

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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.

Member Spotlight: Brownstein Denver Office Congratulates Las Vegas Office for Being Named Private Philanthropic Business Of The Year

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).

 


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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!

Member Spotlight: Auction & Event Solutions Launches AES Gives Back

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Guest Contributor: Lauren Press of Auction & Event Solutions

AES Gives Back is our company’s new annual giving program. After attending SPARKS AND SIPS: The Power of Purpose event, we re-evaluated our community involvement. During that event, we decided we wanted our employees to be involved in selecting the organizations for AES’ corporate giving efforts. Here’s how AES Gives Back works:

At our annual holiday party we recognize two staff members who have gone above and beyond to help out at events throughout the year. AES Gives Back allows those two award recipients to each select a non-profit that they support, are involved with, or just simply like! AES will then support that organization in some manner. We will announce one in the summer before our annual picnic and one in December before our annual holiday party.

For our inaugural pick, Jill selected Midwife International. Her daughter works there and they truly do some amazing work. We were able to donate to their Indiegogo Campaign for Midwives in Guatemala that was then matched by Midwives International!

Learn more about AES at www.aesauctions.com.

SPARKS and SIPS: Engaging Employees Effectively

Sparks and Sips

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.

PANELISTS

Christina Frantz, Great-West Financial

 

 

 

 

Ellen Sandberg, CH2M

 

 

 

 

Sera Smith, Newalta

 

WHEN:
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).

WHERE:
Mile High United Way
711 Park Avenue West
Denver, CO 80205

HOW:
RSVP Here: www.julysparksandsips.eventbrite.com 
B:CIVIC Members: FREE
Non-members: $15