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Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 17, 2018

Businesses in the United States, and Central Florida in particular, are poised and eager to incorporate corporate social responsibility (CSR) into the important work they do. They believe business can be a force for good and are implementing CSR programs, aligning their values with their daily operations. Let us to take your board on a journey through the changing landscape of corporate social responsibility, while highlighting benefits to business and business leaders. We will also explore ways nonprofits can be proactive in enabling CSR programs and in doing so, bring maximum benefit to their organization and the community.

Connect with us if your board is interested in adding CSR to a future meeting agenda. Kecia Carroll, our manager of corporate citizenship and CSR advisor, could lead a brief discussion on:

  • CSR from a corporate perspective
  • Innovative ideas for corporate partnership opportunities in your own organization
  • Essential steps for getting your nonprofit started

For more information or to get started, please contact our office at 407-975-6414 or by e-mail at

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Activism: How Good Corporate Citizens are Taking a Stand

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 26, 2018

Companies can be a force for good, and more and more, that means taking a stand on issues tied to their values. Consumers expect this from companies they do business with, but more and more, so do employees. In the recent Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study, “78% of employees expect companies to stand up for important social justice issues.” Here are a few examples of companies taking a stand in meaningful ways:

  • At Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company, the protection and preservation of the environment isn’t what they do when volunteering or writing checks. It’s the reason they’re in business. It is their every day’s work. As a result, this self-proclaimed ‘activist company’, recently took the changes to environmental regulation into their own hands as discussed in the Guardian.
  • Most recently, we saw Dick’s Sporting Goods be one of the first companies to set its own regulations on gun control. With heightened mass shootings, specifically school shootings, the company was proactive in taking on the very controversial topic of gun control. Here’s why.

  • In a slightly different scenario, Bank of America has emerged as an activist for diversity and inclusivity, topics that are important to their employees and customers across the country. For many years they have partnered with Ad Council in support of a Love Has No Labels campaign as a way to highlight inclusivity and diversity throughout their company and the community.
  • We can learn just as much from bad examples of corporate activism as we can from these good ones. For example, Pepsi attempted to take a stand on race relations in a recent ad. They said the goal of this ad was to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding, however it was perceived as trivializing racial strife. Pepsi apologized for this controversial advertisement that borrowed imagery from the Black Lives Matter movement and promptly took down the campaign.

Last year redefined responsible business operations to include taking a stand, something we see continuing to increase in 2018. The risks of not doing so can be high, both in disengagement from key stakeholders – employees, customers and other partners or alliances as well as lost business opportunities causing many companies to (re)evaluate what they stand for, and to what degree that will take action.

If your company is interested in incorporating advocacy into your corporate social responsibility program, reach out to us at or 407.975.6414. We can help you enhance your CSR program, or help you get started with one.


Tags:  activism  advocacy  corporate citizenship  examples  responsible business 

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Corporate Citizenship Spotlight: Employment Technologies

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Company: Employment Technologies

Size: 22 employees

How did your CSR program get started? What was the catalyst?

Employment Technologies is committed to the belief that success is more than the bottom line, Employment Technologies founders, Joseph and Eugenia Sefcik, set the standard for community support and involvement. Now in our 24th year, the Company supports ongoing education through partnerships with area colleges and universities as well as financial support for several nonprofits. Employees are also given the opportunity to take time for volunteer efforts both in the U.S. and abroad.

In what areas do you strive to have an impact?

We believe in the power of education to transform lives, so we focus much of our philanthropic efforts on supporting education and training programs. We leverage our job simulation technology and expertise for organizations that assist the chronically underemployed to learn workplace readiness skills. For example, we work closely with The Jobs Partnership of Florida, where Joseph Sefcik is a board member. Another way we support education is by engaging college students from University of Central Florida and Florida Southern College for research and special projects.

Eugenia Sefcik has also established a local community outreach program which sponsors at-risk inner city Orlando youth to attend the life-changing summer camp, Kids Across America. Since its inception in 2005, the program, which is aligned with a ministry of First Presbyterian Church,  has provided more than 300 teen scholarships. Students wanting to attend the camp throughout their middle and high school years are given encouragement alongside measurable incentives related to personal and educational goals.

How do you measure the success or impact of your CSR program?

One of the key success factors for us is sustaining relationships. One of newest employees was discovered because of our relationship with Florida Southern College. We are also encouraged by the success of our partners, noting the ripple effect in our community. 

External recognition helps us tell our story, too. Mr. Sefcik has received Lifetime Achievement Awards from both his alma maters, Florida Southern College and the University of Central Florida, in recognition for his contributions to his profession and community.

What advice would you give to other companies wishing to implement CSR into their business?

Get started before you have all the answers!  Allow yourself to learn along the way. Also, look for a natural connection between your work product or service. It’s been most satisfying for us to extend our expertise in job simulations and hiring to workforce training programs. 


For more information, visit Employment Technologies


Tags:  case study  company in action  corporate citizenship spotlight  corporate social responsibility  employment technologies 

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Central Florida Companies Celebrate Earth Day

Posted By Administration, Friday, April 20, 2018

On April 22nd, we celebrate Earth Day, a celebration that started back in 1970 to signify the modern environmental movement. What began as protests against industrial development that took a toll on the Earth, has now evolved into something businesses celebrate together with the rest of the world committed to environmental activism. Today, many businesses use this day to raise awareness for the need for environmentally-friendly strategies while reemphasizing their own corporate social responsibility practices. For example:

  • OUC- Orlando Utilities Commission, invited employees to volunteer at the Children’s Safety Village of Central Florida. On April 14th, 50 of their employees and their families helped clean up the organization’s facility.
  • Massey Services, Inc., a company that takes pride in their environmentally-beneficial services and supports environmental responsibility throughout their business, participates in various Earth Month events such as sponsoring Central Florida Earth Day.
  • Walt Disney World takes on Earth Day with Party for the Planet festivities. They offer special events throughout the day that educate their audiences on the importance of the environment and the planet as a whole. To keep the celebration going, they have other environmentally-focused special events spread throughout the year.
  • And we many businesses celebrate Earth Day simply by making minor adjustments for a more sustainable office.

Many companies, as well as individuals, choose to get involved with Earth Day events through their own communities. Orlando hosts Central Florida Earth Day, which strives to inspire sustainable, humane, healthy, and equitable decisions at all levels, from the individual and local levels to the corporate, governmental and international levels. The event is held to support business and NGOs that are making a positive difference in the world. One example of business engagement in this event is on “Sustainable Business in the Sunshine State: Agriculture, Energy, and Consumerism.” The City of Altamonte Springs is hosting an Earth Day Celebration. And last weekend, the City of Winter Park, celebrated Earth Day in the Park. The city’s Sustainability Program, Urban Forestry Division, and Keep Winter Park Beautiful hosted this event.

We are interested in hearing what your Central Florida business did for Earth Day so please reach out to us at and share your stories.

Tags:  Business  Central Florida  Community  Earth Day  Sustainability 

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Impact Investing, the Soulmate to CSR

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 12, 2018

The term ‘impact investing’ is popping up more frequently in business news. That is good for companies focused on driving corporate value and social impact. But what does the term mean? We were curious as well which is why we invited impact investing expert Paul Herman to join Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College students for a question and answer event facilitated by Kecia Carroll, the head of Corporate Citizenship at the Edyth Bush Institute, one of Crummer’s six Centers of Excellence. Faculty and students were able to gain insights on impact investing and how it is changing the world of finance and creating opportunities for business.

Herman, the CEO and Founder of HIP Investor, explained how impact investing is investing in companies that have social and financial returns. Financial statements often lack social standards, meaning they do not measure a company’s social returns. These standards can help an investment have more upside and a lower future risk. As an example, Herman raised the issue of employees and their placement on the financial statements. He pointed out that most companies consider employees to be an asset, however on a company’s financials, they are recorded as an expense. Herman emphasized that investing in employees and treating them as an asset can result in greater profitability.

When asked why companies and their people should focus on this area, he shared the following proof point: The value weighted portfolio or the portfolio focused on treating people right, improving environmental impact, and having ethical standards has 40% premium. This is compared to an equal weighted portfolio that only had a 25% premium.

When asked about examples of companies implementing impact investing in their business, Herman noted that most companies implementing impact investing had CSR strategies in their business. One of the best examples he offered was SAP, which uses the UN Sustainable Development goals as a guideline for their CSR practices. Wegmans, which continuously engages employees and is one of FORTUNE’s best companies to work for and Teach for America, which helps cultivate a new generation of educated leaders, were other noteworthy examples. These companies have all learned how to connect to their shareholders, and make employees feel a purpose when at work.

For the emerging leaders in the room, Herman offered this simple, yet powerful advice: The most important way to influence people is to educate, inspire, and shift them to action. This could be one of the most important ‘roles’ emerging leaders play in the area of CSR and impact investing.

Tags:  Corporate Social Responsibility  Crummer  Finance  Impact  Impact Investing  Paul Herman 

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CSR TALKS – For organizations and groups interested in learning more

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The concept of CSR is not new; however, it is evolving into something any company of any size can adopt. It goes beyond corporate philanthropy to complete corporate engagement, beyond deep pockets to deep impact. It acknowledges that businesses could and should play a role in improving the well-being of others. And it is driving how the next generation of leaders makes decisions. Often the first step is understanding what CSR is and its benefits to companies, nonprofits and the community. So, let’s start there. 

Connect with us if your group is interested in hosting a CSR TALK. Kecia Carroll, our manager of corporate citizenship and CSR advisor, could present on one of the following topics or customize something according to the specific interests of your group:

  • CSR 101: Understanding CSR and its benefits to business, nonprofits & community
  • The Evolving Landscape of CSR: From roots to results
  • Becoming CSR Champions: Leading within your company

For more information or to get started, please contact our office at 407-975-6414 or by e-mail at

Tags:  corporate social responsibility  custom programs  education  workshop 

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Corporate Citizenship Spotlight: Whole Foods Market

Posted By Administration , Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Company: Whole Foods Market

Size: 3 Central Florida locations with over 500 team members

Please share an overview of your CSR program.

Being an active member of the community has been at the core of Whole Foods Market from our inception in 1980. We feel it’s important to be an active participant in what is happening around each of our stores. For that reason, Whole Foods Market dedicates time, resources and talent to supporting schools and non-profits in each of our communities.

How did your program get started? What was the catalyst?

In 1981, just one year after the first Whole Foods Market opened in Austin, TX the city was hit by one of the worst floods it had seen in over 70 years. The store and all its inventory were destroyed. Thanks to the help of team members and community volunteers the store was able to reopen 28 days after the floods. It’s the amazing support of the community that helped keep Whole Foods Market in business and what sparked our CSR initiative.

In what areas do you strive to have an impact?

Our key focus when giving back is heath/nutrition, food security, youth education and nutrition and agriculture. We work with schools, food banks, local urban garden initiatives and programs that strive to alleviate food insecurity in the many foods desserts around Central Florida.

How do you measure the success or impact of your program? 

This is a two-part process. One is the general exposure and reach we can see from our partnership, but the other is the level of impact our support can have on the organization. It’s easy to write a check, but for us it’s more important to see how far our donation can reach. 

What advice would you give to other companies wishing to implement CSR strategies into their business? 

Start with a clear mission and focus for support. This will help you when it comes to selecting the organizations to align with. Think past the checkbook. You have an arsenal of talented team members that can offer time, talent and skills which are just as valuable to a non-profit than money.

For more information, visit Whole Foods Market:

Just like you, we enjoy reading about the work of good corporate citizens in Central Florida. If your company has a good CSR story to tell, please reach out to us at We’d like to hear about it!

Tags:  case study  company in action  corporate citizenship spotlight  corporate social responsibility  whole foods market 

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A Spotlight on the Correlation between Corporate Social Responsibility and Employee Engagement

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 20, 2018

When we think of corporate social responsibility, we often think about the causes. After all, the community, and the key issues faced by a community, are often the focus of a company’s CSR plan. However just as the community is a major company stakeholder, so are employees. To put some focus on the importance of CSR to HR, here are a few highlights to help you understand the need and the opportunity. But first, some facts. According to the 2016 Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study:

  • 88% of employees feel their job is more fulfilling when they are provided opportunities to make a positive impact on social or environmental issues.
  • 75% say it’s important their company shares its goals, progress and related achievements.
  • 71% want their company to provide opportunities for them to help make a positive impact on the company’s social and environmental commitments.

We expect these number to continue to increase as millennials and future generations transition into leadership roles in their organizations.

Here are a few interesting and relevant articles for companies looking to build a case for CSR, particularly as it relates to employee engagement.

The Best Corporate Advocacy Starts at Home-  Creating an environment that employees want to work in engages employees and is one of the essentials of workplaces nowadays.

  • “Internal policy changes or internal action demonstrate the company’s commitment to their values and to their employees’ loves and must be a piece of any company’s corporate advocacy strategy if they hope to be viewed as authentic.”

Three Ways to Mature your Company’s CSR- Putting employees at the forefront of a company’s CSR initiative leads to employee engagement.

  • “Provide workshops to help employees develop their own mission statements concerning their personal social responsibility goals. Having employees who are passionate about the world will benefit the community and your own company's CSR approach.”

A $600 Billion Employee Engagement Problem Solved: Empathy- There is a correlation between empathy, engagement and productivity.

  • There’s no denying, $600 billion in lost productivity is a big number. The way to fight this is with empathy. According to Shanahan, a culture that fosters empathy in the workplace is one of the best ways to create an engaged workforce that combats the loss of productivity and more.

Why Culture is Key to a Successful Brand- The impact of culture on employee engagement.

  • “Creating a culture of caring is about empowering and engaging your community - whether its employees, customers or the world. It means providing the tools to be successful and an environment where employees feel empowered to take action that helps the company, community or world.”

If your company is interested in starting, expanding or centering its corporate social responsibility program and would like to stay informed of best practices such as these, please sign up to receive news from us. We are here to inspire, guide and support you in integrating CSR into your overall business strategy. Our goal is to reach greater results for your company and the community.

Tags:  corporate social responsibility  curated stories  employee engagement  human resource 

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Q & A with Crummer's Dr. Whittingham, Educator and Scholar of Sustainability and Social Responsibility

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Dr. Keith Whittingham is ­­an Associate Professor at the Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business, where he teaches courses in Sustainable Enterprise and Corporate Social Responsibility. He is the faculty advisor for Crummer’s chapter of Net Impact, a professional organization that promotes sustainability, corporate responsibility, and social innovation through business. He also serves as coach to the Crummer teams in the Nespresso Global MBA Sustainability Challenge, that made the finals four times in five competitions, including a victory in the inaugural challenge.

Q: You have been a lead innovator at Crummer in the realm of sustainability and social responsibility. What made you enter this field and how did you find out it was your purpose?

A: As someone who grew up in the developing world, I guess I had a sense of the fragility of our ecosystems and social systems. My father worked for the United Nations, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and I absorbed an awareness of some of the concerns of development economics.  As business faculty, we work to prepare our students to make a positive impact in their lives and careers. Around 2007-2008, business schools were beginning to seriously explore ways in which to approach topics of social and environmental sustainability within the MBA curriculum. I saw a great opportunity to engage our talented students in this arena and help them connect all they were learning, in strategy, operations, finance and other areas, to better serve both the organizations they worked for and the society at large.

Sustainability and social responsibility are areas I am deeply passionate about, but I view my purpose a bit differently. I see myself as a learner and teacher, one who helps others understand issues and concepts, putting theory into practice to the benefit of the greater good. That, at least, is what I strive for.

Q: Much of your work centers around the concept of purpose. What role does purpose play in a company’s CSR program?

A: Having a sense of my own purpose has helped me chart a course through my experiences and opportunities that present themselves in life. Similarly, a defined company purpose, a deeper “Why?”, can help an organization focus its best intentions regarding societal concerns, into initiatives and solutions that create value for broad stakeholders and simultaneously align with and reinforce corporate strategy, in a way that can build corporate value. It can become a point of engagement, internal to the organization and externally in the marketplace.

Q: When it comes to examples of CSR programs grounded in purpose, which companies come to mind?

A: There are many examples and I tend to put the companies into two categories with an important distinction. First, there are companies that have been started as what you can call social businesses – businesses created for the purpose of addressing specific societal challenges. In this category you can put companies like Tom’s Shoes and Patagonia. In these companies, the mission and vision were forged from the purpose of the founders. In the other category are traditional businesses – those created to meet a specific need through marketing a good or service with the goal of profit. Many traditional businesses are finding that they can simultaneously be responsible corporate citizens and enhance corporate value. It is not an easy thing to do well, and corporate purpose can be a useful tool, but that purpose must be carefully developed from within an existing, sometimes contradictory, corporate culture. Companies that are walking this path include Nike, Campbell Soup Company, PepsiCo and many others.

Q: For emerging leaders wishing to work in a sustainability or CSR role, what trends or opportunities should they be considering?

There are a number of concepts that can be extremely valuable to companies looking to develop effective CSR initiatives. Emerging leaders should understand strategic thinking and how to build a business case, but they can benefit significantly from an understanding of critical tools such as:

·      Human-Centered Design Thinking

·      Systems-thinking

·      Stakeholder Analysis


Additional Resources

The Corporate Citizenship program at the Edyth Bush Institute, one of Crummer’s six Centers of Excellence, was established to inspire, guide and support companies in integrating corporate social responsibility into their overall business strategy for maximum benefit to their companies and the community. It serves as a CSR hub for companies looking for programs, resources, expertise, such as Dr. Whittingham, to advance their own efforts. For companies needing help starting a CSR program, or assistance focusing an existing one, we can design a program that fits your needs. For more information or to get started, please contact us at 407-975-6414 or at

Tags:  business leaders  corporate social responsibility  faculty  purpose  sustainability 

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Corporate Social Responsibility 101 for Nonprofits

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 27, 2018


If you’re like many nonprofits, you’ve heard the term Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, and you want to know more about how it might benefit your organization. Just as nonprofits have studied and applied the principles behind successful corporate philanthropy and donor relation, so too must they understand best practices related to CSR.

Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, is a business approach that contributes to positive business outcomes by delivering economic, environmental and social benefits for all stakeholders. The concept of CSR is not new; however, it is evolving into something any company of any size can adopt, and nonprofits stand to benefit if they too understand and embrace the concept. Prior to approaching CSR in a more strategic way, businesses implemented CSR concepts in a more basic way, supporting a wide variety of causes, all of which were important to the organization. Contributions tended to be ad hoc rather than long-term, and impact was difficult to quantify. As companies become more proactive in their approach to CSR, so must nonprofits.

Research shows that nearly 55% of the workforce would choose to work for a socially responsible company, even if the salary was less. Millennials in particular, which make up the largest segment of the American workforce, are seeking out and staying with companies that are proactive and collaborative in their community giving. Companies are mindful of doing good, but they are simultaneously considering doing good for their bottom-line. They are considering a more systematic approach to CSR, one that ensures sustainable community impact.  Well run CSR programs are known to act as catalysts that spark donations, volunteerism and advocacy, all concepts that can have measurable impact on their nonprofit partners.

As corporate citizenship continues to increase in importance for businesses and their employees, a more proactive and strategic approach is required. That is precisely the focus of The Edyth Bush Institute’s corporate citizenship department: inspire, guide and support companies in integrating CSR into their overall business strategy for maximum benefit to their companies and communities. Nonprofits interested in learning more about this topic should join the upcoming Corporate Social Responsibility: Opening New Opportunities for Nonprofits workshop on March 8. This workshop will explore ways nonprofits can be proactive in enabling CSR programs and in doing so, capitalize on the opportunities increased focus on CSR brings to the community.

Tags:  corporate citizenship  impact  nonprofit  opportunities  social responsibility  strategy 

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