Photograph by Mehdi Taamallah/AFP via Getty Images

Civics Lessons

  1. Community Need

    Community Need

    The recent devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy has prompted companies to investigate what they can do to help those in need. They could benefit from the experience of companies that have demonstrated leadership in civic engagement. Here are the top 20 companies of The Civic 50, a comprehensive ranking of America's most community-mind companies produced by the National Conference on Citizenship, Points of Light and Bloomberg.

    Photograph by Mehdi Taamallah/AFP via Getty Images
  2. No. 20: Southwest Airlines

    No. 20: Southwest Airlines

    Southwest may be known for its work in the air, but it’s also on the ground working for healthy communities. In addition to in-kind contributions and grant support, Southwest employees provided 114,000 volunteer hours in 2011. Programs like “Adopt-A-Pilot” have employed aviation-themed activities related to science, writing, and other core subjects to educate an estimated 349,000 students. Southwest also donates round-trip tickets to nonprofits throughout the country so they don’t bust their budgets on expensive airfares.

    Courtesy Southwest
  3. No. 19: Abbott

    No. 19: Abbott

    Abbott trains health-care staff to serve in disadvantaged areas, sponsors programs that promote scientific discovery and career paths for students, and helps support public institutions such as libraries, homeless shelters, and food banks. In Haiti, Abbott’s scientists and engineers have joined forces with Partners in Health, a nonprofit health-care organization, to fight the war against malnutrition. Prior to the 2011 hurricane season, the company donated $1.2 million in products to clinics and shelters along the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean and Central American coasts.

    Courtesy Abbott
  4. No. 18: UnitedHealth Group

    No. 18: UnitedHealth Group

    UnitedHealth logged over 380,000 volunteer hours in 2011. The company’s “Diverse Scholars Initiative” has helped about 1,000 students from multicultural backgrounds to pursue higher education and careers in the health industry. Since 2007, this program has awarded more than $5 million in scholarships. Combined with the company’s $6.4 million in matching donations and $4.5 million in pro bono services, UnitedHealth has proved a strong contributor to community health.

    Courtesy UHG
  5.  No. 17: Intel

    No. 17: Intel

    With more than 1 million hours of volunteer work completed in 2011, Intel has found lots of ways to inspire its employees. A signature program is the “Intel Involved Hero Awards,” which rewards an employee volunteer with a $10,000 grant for his or her favorite school or nonprofit. Intel also leverages its technological innovations to solve social problems. Commitments range from educational initiatives that increase digital literacy to unique programs such as the “Sustainability in Action Grant,” which invites employees to develop environment-oriented service projects.

    Photograph by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
  6.  No. 16: Target

    No. 16: Target

    Target’s civic-engagement program is marked by its commitment to improving education. In 2011 the company donated $100 million to the effort, and it is on track to attain its goal of $1 billion by 2015. Target emphasizes educational materials such as books and computers, but the company’s “Meals for Minds” program, which brings food to needy K-12 students and their families, recognizes the connection between childhood hunger and classroom performance.

    Courtesy Target
  7. No.15: Bank of America

    No.15: Bank of America

    Bank of America uses volunteerism to provide support in the areas of jobs, housing, and hunger. While it addresses the day-to-day workings of the community, Bank of America also responds quickly when disaster strikes—by providing matching donations, supporting relief response, and collecting donations. On October 30th, Bank of America donated $1 million to support relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

    Photograph by Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg
  8. No. 14: Microsoft

    No. 14: Microsoft

    Microsoft thinks locally with vital initiatives on education, medical support, and software donations. It also acts globally by using technology and assets to support social organizations around the world.  The software giant has made $800 million worth of in-kind contributions and partnered with more than 60,000 community organizations.

    Courtesy Microsoft
  9. No. 13: Allstate

    No. 13: Allstate

    Allstate has provided more than $22 million in grant support and hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours. The Allstate Foundation has partnered with local communities across the U.S. to educate 6.3 million teenagers about the importance of safe driving. Its “Domestic Violence Program,” dedicated to national initiatives that confront domestic violence by economically empowering survivors, has already reached more than 145,000 survivors since 2005. Allstate has also joined up with the city of Chicago’s Violence Prevention Task Force and donated pro bono services and funds to other crime prevention initiatives.

    Courtesy Allstate
  10. No. 12: FedEx

    No. 12: FedEx

    FedEx works with global nonprofit organizations to strengthen communities’ disaster response and recovery programs. For more than a decade, it has provided transportation assistance to Direct Relief, a leading medical relief organization, to deliver emergency shipments of medicine to disaster areas. FedEx also sponsors Junior Achievement competitions that invite young students across the globe to pitch innovative business ideas. Last year, FedEx launched the Global Leadership Corps to provide future corporate leaders with international experience, as well as to promote their skill development, team building, and personal growth.

    Courtesy Fedex
  11. No. 11: Western Union

    No. 11: Western Union

    Western Union focuses on getting students ready to work by intervening at ages where dropout rates are the highest. Its $50 million initiative, “Our World, Our Family,” helps provide people with the skills and resources essential to their success. The company also has provided microfinance consultation and technical assistance to small businesses that focus on job creation and the conversion of wages to wealth.

    Courtesy Western Union
  12. No. 10: Hasbro

    No. 10: Hasbro

    Hasbro’s programs offer more than fun and games. Among its programs are “Good Grief Camps” for children who have lost loved ones in the military. It has made countless donations to Hasbro Children’s Hospital, the pediatric division of Rhode Island Hospital, and its “Playathon for Haiti” helped 7,000 children raise $117,000 to build 112 shelters for Haitian children. The toymaker has donated more than 400,000 toys to underprivileged children.

    Courtesy Hasbro
  13. No. 9: General Electric

    No. 9: General Electric

    General Electric started the nation’s first matching gift program for employees, the GE Foundation, more than 50 years ago. By matching employees’ and retirees’ contributions to their favorite nonprofit, the company raised a total of $43 million in 2011. Programs range from community building through school-based mentoring to offering health care to 13 million people across the globe. GE employees have used their skills to provide 31,000 hours of pro bono support to community health centers and Junior Achievement programs that reached 73,000 people.

    Courtesy GE
  14. No. 8: McGraw-Hill

    No. 8: McGraw-Hill

    McGraw-Hill focuses its community-engagement initiatives on promoting education. Its signature programs include “Financial Literacy Now” and “Speaker’s Bureau,” which advance economic empowerment through increasing financial know-how. These programs have brought financial literacy to 205,000 students and have trained 2,500 teachers. Last year, McGraw-Hill made $25 million in community investments and provided $2 million to employee-matching programs.

    Photograph by Scott Eells/Bloomberg
  15. No. 7: Campbell Soup

    No. 7: Campbell Soup

    Campbell’s “Healthy Communities,” a $10 million annual initiative, aims to increase health through education, activity, and access to nutritious meals. The Campbell Soup Foundation provides in-kind and matching employee donations in the wake of disasters and is committed to providing funding for nutrition-based curricula. In mid-October the company's annual "Make a Difference Week" consisted of 90 volunteer projects across the U.S. and Canada, donating 4,500 service hours.

    Photograph by Ken James/Bloomberg
  16. No. 6: Morgan Stanley

    No. 6: Morgan Stanley

    In 2011, Morgan Stanley worked with 12,000 community organizations to create 10,000 units of affordable housing. More than 30 percent of employees participated in Volunteer Month, which led to 40 percent more pro bono services in the last year alone. This year Morgan Stanley and the Wildlife Conservation Society graduated their first class of “Future Leaders”—an initiative designed to encourage academic success among underserved teens and young adults.

    Photograph by Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg
  17. No. 5: Capital One

    No. 5: Capital One

    Capital One’s MoneyWi$e program, which provides multilingual materials to educate communities about theft, fraud, and money management, has aided 3.5 million people and 40,000 community groups. Its “JusticeServer” offers pro bono legal counsel to low-income clients. The benefit of pro bono work is also written into the company’s DNA: 90 percent of managers say they saw an improvement in leadership skills after employees participated in such programs. In 2011, Capital One provided almost $720 million in specialized financing for more than 7,200 housing units across the U.S.

    Courtesy Capital One
  18. No. 4: Aetna

    No. 4: Aetna

    Aetna dedicated 60 percent of its financial contributions to health-related causes in 2011. Its community-engagement programs include skills-based volunteering, employee service on boards of health, and researching the role of ethnic diversity in addressing health-care needs. The company has found that a solution can start with something simple, such as making fruits and vegetables available in low-income areas to combat obesity. Aetna employees logged 340,000 volunteer hours in 2011, while employees, directors, and retirees combined gave $7 million back to their communities. The Aetna Foundation Minority Scholars Program supports the professional development of underrepresented minorities in the field of health services.

    Photograph by Michael J. Doolittle/ Bloomberg News
  19. No. 3: AT&T

    No. 3: AT&T

    AT&T’s Aspire Local High School Impact Initiative provides support to high schools so they can increase on-time promotion to the next grade and reduce dropout rates. Its job shadow program, which has generated 270,000 volunteer hours, allows students and employees to team up for a couple of hours during the business day for project-based activities and problem solving. AT&T joined with nonprofits to bring free Internet services, digital training, and technical support to low-income communities across the country. The company also invested $600 million in the Network Disaster Recovery organization, whose goal is to guarantee communication during disaster.

    Photograph by Anne Kohler
  20. No. 2: Citigroup

    No. 2: Citigroup

    The company’s 2011 Global Community Day saw more than 40,000 employees and their family members in 78 countries work on local projects addressing literacy, housing, environmental protection, health care, and disaster relief. With 25 volunteer councils and 61 employee affinity networks, Citi’s employees are able to find causes and issues that are important to them. In 2011 many communities benefited from Citi’s three-year, $24 billion lending pledge to small businesses. Citi’s foundation also invested $78 million to support the economic empowerment of low- to middle-income people in local communities.

    Courtesy Citi
  21. No.1: IBM

    No.1: IBM

    From the executive ranks to assembly-line workers, more than 430,000 IBM employees combined to volunteer 3.2 million hours to community causes in 2011. IBM’s signature community-engagement program is the Smarter Cities Challenge, a $50 million competitive-grant program that sends a team of 100 company experts to 100 cities around the world for a three-year period. IBM’s World Community Grid has pooled processing power to solve humanitarian problems that require extensive computer analysis. The company also contributes to mentoring programs that help veterans transition from the armed forces to civilian life; more than 1,250 veterans were enrolled as of May 2011.

    Courtesy IBM