Corporate giving is hardly the sole purview of technology companies. Yet, we in the tech sector have a unique responsibility to give back to those who have less access, opportunity and education than we have. This responsibility is greater than it was 30 years ago when R. Edward Freeman’s 1984 Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach helped popularize the notion of corporate social responsibility. Back then, technology was LANs and a server closet for companies to harness and maintain their networks. Today technology is changing the way societies interact, and serves as a platform for global change that we never would have imagined.
Take IBM, for example. IBM has created its World Community Grid, which pools surplus processing power from individual computers into a massive computing system that is used for scientific research, such as studies on malaria or clean water. The company also established a program called Reading Companion, which uses IBM voice-recognition technology to help children and adults learn to read.
Salesforce.com, for its part, has donated 360,000 hours of community service and is offering its product for free or at steep discounts to more than 16,000 nonprofits. It also awarded $40 million in grants since it was founded 12 years ago.
Twitter is working with an organization called Girls Who Code, whose goal is to train 13- to 17-year-olds with skills to pursue opportunities in technology and engineering. (For more on these efforts and what tech companies are doing, download the CRN Tech News app in the iTunes store and read the story there.)
Our parent company, UBM, is taking a similar approach. We are leveraging the talents we have in marketing services and event management to launch the Business4Better conference in the United States after two successful shows in Brazil and India on the same topic. On May 1-2, 2013 in Anaheim, Calif., Business4Better will bring together 2,000 business executives from midsize companies who want to establish corporate philanthropic programs. UBM also will offer free exhibitor space, signage and marketing services to 200 nonprofits that are looking to create partnerships with midsize private-sector companies. We believe medium-size businesses have the highest potential for impact because of their sheer number, and proximity to their communities. The goal of the conference is to bring together midsize businesses and nonprofits with a mission to create successful partnerships.
I am very excited and proud to be part of this effort. If you want to create some philanthropic programs or are interested in the conference, please check it out at business4better.org or email me with any questions. And if you have your own philanthropic story to tell, we would love to hear it.
Lastly, I wish to express my gratitude for the wonderful group of people that I get to work with day in and day out at CRN. They make my job interesting and rewarding. I am also grateful for the industry that we cover. I have met a number of truly amazing people: savvy business people who take risk, change course, and do it with dignity and respect.
Here’s wishing you a safe and joyful holiday season.
BACKTALK: Kelley Damore is SVP, Editorial Director for UBM Channel. You can reach her via email at email@example.com.
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