Compassionate Capitalism shows companies, large and small, how they can use all of their resources to help their communities and, in doing so, help themselves and their employees as well. By using real-life examples from dozens of corporations and nonprofits, including Hasbro, IBM and Levi Strauss, the authors show corporate leaders how they can dare to be great by integrating community service within their organizations. They also demonstrate that there is no need to wait to be philanthropic, and describe how many companies have reaped many benefits for themselves and their communities by incorporating service into their businesses.
Action Learning at Hasbro
Hasbro is the maker of such famous toys and games as Mr. Potato Head, Tonka trucks, Monopoly and Scrabble. Chairman Alan Hassenfeld, who stepped down as CEO in mid-2003, is the third generation of his family to lead the 80-year-old company. As chairman, Hassenfeld continues to lead the company's philanthropic endeavors. Hasbro allows employees four hours a month of paid time off to do community service. When it hires senior managers, "we look at what they've done" in areas outside business, says Hassenfeld. "Has their own concern been only for profits, or has there been a sense of caring?"
Hasbro's primary philanthropic mission, both through its charitable trust and its foundation, is to make the world a better place for children. "It's always been kids, because that's where our success as a company has come from," says Hassenfeld. "This is our payback. We're so close to the needs and plight of children that we have to be a force in improving their world." In 18 years of giving, the Hasbro Children's Foundation has awarded more than $40 million in grants to agencies benefiting disadvantaged families and helped more than a million young children. Employees have racked up thousands of hours volunteering at agencies and helping to build playgrounds and other facilities.
Action Learning at Hasbro
How does a firm establish a culture of philanthropy? As with any company cultural issue, leadership must come from the top. The CEO must make philanthropy a centerpiece of the company's mission, just like manufacturing a great product, earning profits, or giving shareholders a good return. It must be more than just a means to generate PR. The CEO must demonstrate a commitment to philanthropy in good times and bad times by establishing policies and processes that foster corporate service, such as employee time off for charitable work, recognition of employees who do such work, matching gifts, and other incentives.
The CEO's attitude must permeate the company; middle managers must recognize that allowing employees reasonable amounts of time off to perform community service is not a loss to them, but a gain in overall productivity and balance. Employees must be convinced that senior management is truly dedicated to the notion of philanthropy and will not somehow penalize those who don't spend every waking hour either working or thinking about the company's products and marketing.
Philanthropy can play a vital role in a company's effort to stay viable by attracting the types of employees and customers and other stakeholders who value a whole company and a full life. Community service also builds loyalty to the company, aligns ethical values with business values, allows employees to learn more skills, and fosters interdepartmental bonding. Copyright © 2004 Soundview Executive Book Summaries