News Column

'Civic 50' Includes American Express

Nov. 9, 2012

American Express was recognized as one of America's most community-minded companies in The Civic 50 survey-- the first comprehensive ranking of S&P 500 corporations that best use their time, talent, and resources to improve the quality of life in the communities where they do business. The survey was conducted by the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) and Points of Light, the nation's definitive experts on civic engagement, in partnership with Bloomberg LP.

"At American Express, supporting the communities where our employees and customers live and work is integral to our business and role as a corporate citizen," said Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation. "We are very proud of the work that we do and are honored to join the other exemplary corporations on The Civic 50 ."

American Express has made a proactive commitment to ensure its philanthropic investments meets the needs of local communities. This year the company pioneered three new, signature efforts aimed at promoting civic action:

Emerging Innovators Leadership Boot Camp , a first-of-its-kind leadership program, is designed to support social entrepreneurs who represent the future of social change and nonprofit leadership. In partnership with Ashoka Changemakers , the program brought together 15 innovators from around the world, including India, Nicaragua, Cambodia and Zimbabwe to provide skills training and a chance to collaborate on new business models that tackle community problems. This program is one of nine American Express Leadership Academies now running globally to develop the next generation of leaders in the nonprofit sector.

Serve2Gether Consulting deploys employees to provide pro bono consulting to local nonprofits helping them address critical issues related to organizational structure and operation. This summer, New York-based employees volunteered nearly 4,000 hours of expertise in marketing, digital media, and people management to 14 nonprofit groups, including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the International Rescue Committee.

Partners in Preservation is a program in which American Express, in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, engaging local communities to help award preservation grants to historic and cultural places across the country. This spring, Partners in Preservation asked New York City residents to help distribute $3 million to preserve 16 historic places in our hometown. American Express has committed more than $15 million to Partners in Preservation, helping historic sites in seven cities to date.

"NCoC is proud to be part of The Civic 50 launch," said Ilir Zherka, Executive Director of NCOC. " The Civic 50 demonstrates that the best companies in America are deeply committed to strengthening their respective communities. Leaders of these companies are aligning the expertise of their companies and people with the needs of their communities, and then measuring the impact of their programs. NCoC hopes The Civic 50 will spur companies throughout our country to do the same."

"As a company committed to community engagement and improvement, Bloomberg is proud to have partnered with the National Conference on Citizenship and Points of Light on this important ranking," said Norman Pearlstine, Chairman, Bloomberg Businessweek and Chief Content Officer, Bloomberg LP " The Civic 50 is a pioneering addition to the Bloomberg Rankings inventory. It features a comprehensive, transparent methodology to identify companies that have taken a leadership role in developing and implementing civic engagement programs. We believe it will raise awareness of the importance of a civic consciousness through the U.S. corporate world."

Companies were evaluated on seven specific metrics: leadership, measurement and strategy, design, employee civic health, community partnerships, cause alignment and transparency. Winning companies employed increasingly sophisticated tools to measure the impact of community engagement and alignment of these programs with their business' core competencies. More than two-thirds of the top 50 companies say they "frequently" or "always" use the professional skills of their workforce to address social issues and real community challenges. Sixty-six percent of the top 50 say they have "mission-level" alignment with the community partners, meaning they work with them on the highest strategic level, not just on individual programs or events.

"Today, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, we can see clearly how much corporate America pitches in -- with expertise, talent, time and money -- to help communities meet critical needs," said Jackie Norris, executive director of the Points of Light Corporate Institute. "In times of disaster and in relative calm, The Civic 50's work is transformative, innovative and critically important."

Source: (C)1994-2012 M2 Communications

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