Taking CSR to the Community

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corporate social responsibility programs

what if a large healthcare system plagued with high emergency room costs in the inner-city and high poverty areas partnered with community non-profits working to decrease health disparities by providing access to fresh foods and vegetables, and a local school system looking to increase academic outcomes? how could this partnership create a healthier, more educated community? the possibilities are endless, but here is one (simplified) idea:

using funds provided by through the corporate social responsibility manager, an affiliated community-based clinic funds a community program to:

  • bring fresh fruits and vegetables to food desert communities;
  • help decrease health disparities in minority communities; and
  • increase academic achievement in targeted areas (healthcare system partners with schools in areas in or near the urban, inner city areas with high emergency room costs).

the program includes cash and in-kind donations. the large healthcare system commits to at least a 7-year donation to this program, which would:

  • restore greenhouses at local high schools;
  • purchase supplies for the greenhouses at local high schools;
  • offer continuing education for science and CTE teachers at participating high schools; 
  • allow schools to plant and sell fresh fruits and vegetables. funds raised from the sale could be used to pay students, fund community programs, to further build school program;
  • offer funding for community non-profits to support schools' efforts;
  • provide community health outreach programs using healthcare system and community non-profit staffs in communities around the schools that focus on healthy eating. these programs could include cooking classes, appointments with nutritionists, exercise classes and much more.

sponsoring organization benefits:

  • decrease in emergency room visits for common health issues, which decreases expenses
  • increase in patient referrals, which increase revenue

community benefits:

  • healthier residents
  • community support for academics
  • revenue stream to support community-based programs
  • increase in student understanding of science, business

this partnership is an example of giving deep. key principles of giving deep:

  • the donation should help the sponsor, recipient and solve a community problem
  • the resulting program should seek, when possible, to create a self-sustaining revenue stream that can continue to give deep to address community issues

key things to note about this partnership:

  • most start-up efforts don't realize gains until year 5. the 7-year funding for the program will allow the school and community groups to focus on building strong processes and procedures.
  • this partnership has benefits for everyone involved.
  • and there are opportunities for self-sustaining revenue and continued partnership with grassroots organizations.