Corporations, like organizations everywhere, have their own cultures and personalities that go far beyond the products and services they offer. Many companies choose to express this intangible element of their business by being involved in community service and philanthropy. They feel more than an obligation to contribute to society; they feel a desire to be true corporate citizens.
Because these efforts are seldom apparent to the general public, much of this good work goes on without great recognition. But, the philanthropic acts of the private sector are as much a part of their corporate personality as are their material goods. The Corporate Citizenship page in Government Technology magazine will highlight some of the outstanding efforts of companies that serve the public sector market.
Robbins Gioia LLC is a project management-consulting firm that works with state governments and in the private sector. Founded in 1980 by two former military officers, the company prides itself in fostering its "RG spirit" characterized by a "family atmosphere" within the company and shared ideals.
This commitment to core values is expressed in company-wide community involvement. Employees are encouraged to participate in charitable activities and invited to bring projects to the attention of the company. Often, Robbins Gioia matches funds raised by employees for their favorite charities. Among the groups benefiting from this program are the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Toys for Tots, a therapeutic riding academy in Maryland, and the Special Olympics. The company also supports St. Colletta's School, a special educational institution that works with children with a variety of learning disabilities. According to a company spokesperson, Robbins Gioia has hired several graduates of this program.
The example for community service starts at the top with the company CEO, John Gioia. Gioia is involved in numerous charitable activities. Some of his inspiration comes from company employees, such as his active support of the A-T Children's project. A-T is a little known debilitating disease that is seldom survived beyond the age of 15. Gioia became involved with the research program after an employee lost a child to A-T.
Along with these individual efforts, employees also participated in the company's annual United Way campaign to the tune of approximately $40,000.
With considerable resources in the technology arena, KPMG Consulting stepped forward to make a significant contribution to post-Sept. 11 recovery efforts in New York City.
Overwhelmed with credit card donations after the tragedy, the United Way was in dire need of a processing system to handle over $2.2 million in transactions. The donations were made on Yahoo, through IBM and the Sept. 11 Telethon. KPMG Consulting's Global managed ePayment Service offered its high-speed e-payment processing system and a team of six professionals who worked around the clock to design a system to process the donations. The company also offered fraud detection, security and international credit card processing services. KPMG Consulting worked with IBM and Microsoft to deliver the funds to those in need.
There was a sense of real urgency about the project since credit card donations needed to be entered into the banking system before they expired. To facilitate this effort KPMG Consulting donated its processing facilities in Tysons Corner, Va., and its staff. Employees worked throughout the weekend to write a code for batch processing the first $260,000 donations from the United Way's Web site along with an additional $1.4 million that was raised with the national Telethon.
Because the attack on New York City had international repercussions, KPMG Consulting also worked with a company in Bermuda to establish an international currency and multi-settlement credit card system that allowed citizens of foreign countries to make donations in their native currencies without paying an exchange fee.
One of many IT companies to step forward during the Sept. 11 crisis, Microsoft not only created new applications to address the immediate needs of emergency workers and victims, its employees around the world rallied to donate approximately $1.3 million to a variety of relief organizations. The company matched this amount.
Microsoft is also active in several charitable activities aimed at bridging the digital divide. With $100 million in cash and software, 3.3 million members of the Boys and Girls Club of America will have access to technology and learning opportunities. The Club Tech program will include technology centers and curriculums, training for staff and the integration of the organization's management systems. Technology will be used for specific programs such as educational enhancement, character and leadership development, the arts and sports and fitness.
Over the last fiscal year, Microsoft gave more than $36.6 million in cash and $176 million in software to nearly 5,000 nonprofit organizations.