Optical Underground: Glasses & Charity

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It’s estimated that 3 out of 4 people in the United States wear corrective lens of some kind. Of those, 71% wear glasses.

That’s why JustGive was excited to work with Optical Underground, an eyewear retailer located just down the street from us here in San Francisco. The company was readying a re-launch of their website, and they contacted us for ideas on how to incorporate charitable giving into their customer experience.

Optical Underground has a long history of giving back to San Francisco. Founder Ira Silverstein opened the shop just after the 1906 earthquake. He took his optician’s kit to the earthquake refugee camps and gave new glasses to anyone who had lost theirs in the quake.

Since then, Optical Underground has continued to support community-wide issues like homelessness, health care and education. JustGive Charity Gift Cards turned out to be the perfect solution to help the retailer include giving as part of their online shopping experience.

 

With every purchase at opticalunderground.com, customers have the option to add a $10 JustGive charity gift card to their order, which discounts the price of their glasses by the same amount. They can then redeem their gift card towards a donation to any charity of their choice (nearly 2 million on our site).

“JustGive’s worldwide reach solved the dilemma of how we can do good outside our community, and do it in a way that allows our customers to decide what’s important to them,” said Cynthia Silverstein, Brand Strategist for Optical Underground.

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We also built a custom, branded website for Optical Underground’s charity gift card redemptions. So even after customers receive their charity gift card, they continue to experience the company’s brand throughout the gift card redemption process. Customers simply search for the charity they want to support and enter their claim code at checkout to complete their donation.

If you’re ready for some new glasses and want to “see” yourself into some charitable giving, head over to opticalunderground.com!

– Sarah Bacon
Director of Product

Campbell’s – A CSR Leader

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When I say Campbell’s, the first thing that comes to mind is tomato soup—especially since it’s one of the top 10 foods sold off shelves in U.S. grocery stores today. But you may not know what stands behind the familiar products you enjoy: a business that has integrated social responsibility and sustainability into everything it does.

A Bit of History

campbellsThe company was started 146 years ago, in 1869, when Joseph Campbell, a fruit merchant, and Abraham Anderson, an icebox manufacturer, opened their first plant in Camden, New Jersey. Twenty eight years later, Campbell’s created five varieties of condensed soup, including the now-favorite tomato. National distribution of soups followed in 1911.

Campbell’s founders pioneered values the company practices today. It is driven and inspired by its purpose: “real food that matters for life’s moments.” The company believes it has a duty to the people who use its products, the communities that support them, and the earth that provides its ingredients. Those values extend to the Campbell’s family of brands, including Pepperidge Farms, V8, Swanson, Pace, Prego, Plum Organics.

Corporate Social Responsibility Approach

CSR and sustainability for the Campbell Soup Company means:

  • Advancing global wellness and nutrition
  • Helping build a more sustainable environment
  • Honoring its role in society from the farm to the family

v8_products_image03Embracing social responsibility, the company considers its impact across the life cycle of products—the ingredients used, how they’re made and more—and annually reports on CSR performance. (Here’s the latest complete CSR report.)

The company’s formal CSR strategy, started six years ago, is based on four pillars:

Nourishing the planet: Environmental Stewardship

Campbell’s goal is to cut the environmental footprint of its products in half by 2020. Among other actions, this includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water use, and eliminating packaging materials. Since 2008, the company has reduced gas emissions by 17.1% and water consumption by 27.4%. And Campbell’s has eliminated more than 89 million pounds of packaging materials since 2009.

Nourishing consumers: Interactions with customers and consumers

For Campbell’s, nourishing consumers means continuing to offer products that promote wellness—with a variety of affordable, convenient and great-tasting foods. In 2014, $2.5 billion of Campbell’s retail sales (about 32%) were foods that satisfied the FDA definition of healthy.

Nourishing employees: Building a high-performance workplace

safetyPhotoCampbell’s is creating a diverse, inclusive and engaging work environment. Its employees, currently 45% women, include the first female CEO and president, Denise Morrison. CSR and sustainability goals are baked into its culture, with company Greatness Awards recognizing employees and teams for results that directly support business strategies and values.

Nourishing neighbors: Community Service

Improving the health of young people in hometown communities is the focus of Campbell’s Healthy Communities program, a $10 million, 10-year initiative. Last year:

  • Employees around the globe contributed more than 15,000 hours of volunteer service to their local communities.
  • During the company’s annual Make a Difference Week, more than 1,100 employees across the United States tackled 90 community projects.

Serving communities is also about philanthropy—giving money, grants and in-kind donations to help them. In 2014, Campbell’s charitable giving totaled more than $70 million, with about $60 million in kind, and another $10 million from corporate donations, cause marketing, nonprofit grants and employee giving.

Campbell’s most recent CSR efforts earned the company the #8 spot on the 2015 list of 100 Best Corporate Citizens compiled by Corporate Responsibility Magazine. That’s a move up from #11 in 2014.

campbellsCampbell’s understands that what they do, every day, matters—and their actions make it clear they take being a good corporate citizen to heart. Borrowing from a popular company marketing campaign, you could say their CSR is M’m, M’m, Good!

Inspired to consider improving your CSR efforts and looking for ways to incorporate philanthropy to make a bigger difference?  Contact us today—we can help.

– Andrea Lloyd
Director of Programs

 

 

Company Holiday Giving: 4 Great Ideas

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This time of year, JustGive gets a lot of inquiries from companies that want to do something for charity during the holidays. They don’t always know what they want to do, but most importantly, they have a desire to give back on behalf of their company, employees or customers.

If you or your company is wondering how to include charity in your holiday activities this year, here are four ideas that make giving easy, fun, motivating and rewarding.

Set up a fundraiser & match donations

A fundraiser for one or several charities is a great way to inspire the giving spirit this season. Choose to support charities that connect with your company’s products or services (e.g. if you create educational software, consider supporting children’s or educational charities), or ones that your employees nominate.

Tip: If you need help selecting charities, the JustGive Guide contains 150 recommended charities organized by cause.

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You can quickly create your online fundraising page, customize it with your description, image or video, a fundraising goal and deadline, and you’re ready to go. Then just share the link with your team and watch the donations roll in!

If you want to go the extra mile, add your company branding to the fundraiser and match donations made by employees, contact us to find out more.

Donations as gifts

If your office has an annual Secret Santa tradition, remind participants that making a gift donation in a co-worker’s name is a great gift.

A gift donation is also the perfect way to thank your partners, vendors and customers during the holidays. Find out what cause they care most about and donate to a charity that supports it. We guarantee it’ll be one of the most thoughtful business gifts they receive this year.

Tip: If you don’t know what charity your recipient would like to donate to, get them a JustGive Charity Gift Card instead. Then they can visit justgive.org and redeem it for a donation to the charity of their choice.

Gift cards—for charity!

Finding a holiday gift that works for everyone in your office is nearly impossible. But rather than default to the expected Starbucks or Amazon card this year, surprise them with a JustGive Charity Gift Card.

JustGive charity gift cards work like typical gift cards except recipients visit justgive.org to redeem the card for a donation to their favorite charities.

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Choose any denomination, customize with your logo / branding, add your holiday message, and deliver them to your recipients via email, as printed cards, or through downloadable claim codes you merge into your own holiday communication. Read about New England BioLabs’ experience using charity gift cards to reward employees.

JustGive Charity Gift Cards are great, memorable gifts for partners, vendors and customers too! The card itself can be your gift or you can include it as that “something extra” with a physical gift. Check out how Deep River Snacks is including gift cards in their consumer holiday gift pack this year.

Make a donation in your company’s name

If your company and employees regularly support a cause or charity throughout the year, consider making a large donation during the holidays to support it.

You can even get employees to nominate charities and have them vote for which one receives the donation. Not only will you gain a nice tax deduction, but you’ll also benefit from engaging your team, who’ll feel like the company is making a real difference this holiday season.

Those are just a few of the ways you can include charity in your company’s holiday activities. Have another idea or need JustGive’s help with a program? Contact us and we’ll get it rolling.

– Sarah Bacon
Director of Product

Deep River Snacks: Chips & Charity for the Holidays

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Our corporate customers use JustGive’s GiveNow charity gift cards in many creative ways — as employee incentives, thank you gifts for customers or clients at the holidays and throughout the year—and even as tradeshow booth giveaways. (Check out their stories.)

chipcharity_0Here’s the most recent innovative way one made-in-the-USA company is using our charity gift cards. Deep River Snacks, best known for their non-GMO, gluten-free kettle chips found in grocery stores and delis, recently launched a new charitable program for the holidays called “Chips & Charity.” When customers purchase a variety gift pack of their chips through Amazon, they receive a $10 JustGive charity gift card in the package, which they can redeem towards a donation to their favorite charity.

“The JustGive concept was a perfect way for us to manifest our cause-mission, and enable our fans to participate in it,” said Kristine Ford, Deep River’s Senior Director of Marketing. “With the JustGive cards, we’ve created a fun gift set that allows people to share our delicious snacks with loved ones for the holidays while giving them the ‘gift of give’ too.”

11196342_10152902549318262_4020349093341581813_nFord explained that supporting charity, or “giving a chip” as they like to call it, is a founding principle of Deep River Snacks. In addition to donating at least 10% of their profits to charity each year, Deep River also features a different nonprofit organization on the back of the bag for every chip flavor.

“Each of these charities has directly affected the life of a Deep River Snacks employee in some way, whether it’s PSC Partners (our founder’s son has Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, a rare liver and bile duct disease) or the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (our VP of Business Development is a Stage 3 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor),” Ford mentioned.

The JustGive charity gift card was the perfect vehicle for Deep River Snacks to empower their customers to join them and “give a chip.”

“I decided JustGive was the ideal partner because of the 2 million plus charities that you allow people to give to. Since many of our partner charities are smaller, it was critical that our gift card partner supported charities of all sizes,” Ford said.

The Deep River Snacks Chips & Charity Gift Set is available on Amazon for $24.99 and includes 12 varieties of chips plus a $10 JustGive charity gift card.

kettlechipsWith flavors ranging from Aged Cheddar Horseradish and New York Spicy Dill Pickle to Mesquite BBQ, customers are sure to find something to satiate their taste or a loved one’s chip appetite—and support charity at the same time.

Visit our website to find out more about JustGive charity gift cards, or contact us to discover how charity gift cards can enhance your company’s giving program.

– Sarah Bacon
Director of Product

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Helpful CSR & Sustainability Groups

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Business for Social Responsibility and GlobeScan recently released the 7th annual State of Sustainable Business Report.

The survey revealed what major companies think about sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR). It collected data from 440 professionals at multinational companies, in a wide range of industries, with varying levels of commitment to sustainability.

One not-so-surprising trend identified by the survey: sustainability is playing an increasingly important role for almost half of the companies (42%). And while almost 70% say sustainability is at least “fairly well integrated,” the desire is to have it more integrated. Other results:

  • 48% of companies said their key performance indicators include sustainability measures
  • 67% reported sustainability efforts was a top three factor in a company’s reputation

We know, from a 2014 Nielson report, that 55% of global online consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.

Human rights remains the top priority for business, though climate change and access to products meeting basic needs are on the rise. (Detail on pg. 9)

Human rights remains the top priority for business, though climate
change and access to products meeting basic needs are on the rise. (Detail on pg. 9)

And there’s no shortage of research, ratings and rankings related to sustainable business. The current $250 million sustainability information market now includes some 150 rating systems covering more than 50,000 companies.

So how can sustainability and CSR “warriors” find what’s most useful (in practice) and help raise their company’s commitment to something so important?

Social responsibility and sustainability membership associations/organizations are one good way. Here are some of the best in this space:

Business for Social Responsibility (BSR)

bsr-greenbiz-banner_0A global nonprofit organization, BSR works with a network of more than 250 companies to build a just and sustainable world. With offices in Asia, Europe, and North America, BSR develops sustainable business strategies and solutions through consulting, research, and cross-sector collaboration. Members get access to thought leaders in the industry, sustainability solutions and networking opportunities. BSR’s annual conference, being held November 3-5 in San Francisco, will provide the latest social responsibility strategies. Membership information: http://www.bsr.org/en/membership

Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy

CECP LogoCECP’s mission is to create a better world through business. The nonprofit organization is a coalition of CEOs who lead by example and believe improving society is an essential measure of business performance. Founded in 1999 by Paul Newman, CECP consists of more than 150 CEOs of the world’s largest companies across all industries. CECP offers members one-on-one consultation, networking events, exclusive measurement data, and case studies on corporate engagement. Membership is by invitation only. Membership information: http://cecp.co/membership/join-cecp.html

Conscious Capitalism

cclogoA nonprofit organization, Conscious Capitalism is dedicated to helping businesses use their power to serve humanity. It’s a group of companies, nonprofits and other organizations who believe there’s a better way to conduct business, guided by higher purpose, a stakeholder orientation, conscious leadership and conscious culture. Conscious Capitalism offers programs and events, and supports a growing network of chapters, which serve as learning communities. Membership information: http://www.consciouscapitalism.org/membership

Corporate Responsibility Association (CRA)

cra logoCRA promotes the practice and profession of corporate responsibility.  Members can choose to participate in Thought Leadership Councils for specific issues or CEO Responsibility Roundtables. The nonprofit association also provides e-newsletters, CR Magazine, webinars, and an annual conference.  Membership information: http://corporateresponsibilityassociation.org/join-us/

– Andrea Lloyd
Director of Programs

JustGive’s 15 Years of Philanthropy

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It’s JustGive’s 15-year anniversary! As the year of celebration starts, Founder Kendall Webb took time to talk about how JustGive got started, and reflect on accomplishments.

Q: You started JustGive as a nonprofit when others said it couldn’t be done.  Tell me about that.
Akendall: We started JustGive to create a single technology platform so all nonprofitssmall and large—could have equal access and outreach at a low cost. We thought it was important to operate as a nonprofit to maintain a single mission and build trust. But everyone in the Internet sector literally said we couldn’t do this because of the cost of technology. I didn’t want to “take the poor public” so I found a way. I got the community involved, asking for every kind of support. It was the early Internet days and we had a lot of companies who believed in us and helped by contributing their contacts, money and pro bono services. That made it less expensive for us to launch, and we got high quality services for free.

Q: How has JustGive kept going when it got tough and continued to make things happen?
A:
We’ve sustained ourselves during market crashes and are better suited to do this because we’re a nonprofit. We have more channels of support and capital that are not available to for-profit companies, and there’s no venture capital investment to overextend or distract us.

We’re not doing this for a quick expansion or to go public and make money. Our single goal and focus is to increase giving and we’re 100% guided by our mission.

Our founding team in 2000—Lynda Greenberg, Orla McKiernan, Claire Bowen, Kristin Kennedy, Kay Kirman, Doug Abrams, Kendall Webb, Kirsten Johnson, Jen Chapin

Our founding team in 2000—Lynda Greenberg, Orla McKiernan, Claire Bowen, Kristin Kennedy, Kay Kirman, Doug Abrams, Kendall Webb, Kirsten Johnson, Jen Chapin

Q: In the first five years, JustGive sent $37 million to charity. At 10 years, it was $130 million, and today, it’s more than $450 million. What are the driving forces behind growth?
A: Two key things. One: At first, individual donors were scared to give online. Over the years, they’ve become more comfortable with the Internet, know it’s safe and trust the process. It’s commonplace now and we’re a trusted brand in the sector.  Our products are not just a nice option for online giving—we make giving easier and provide something donors need.

Two: We’ve leveraged our growth through corporate partnerships that help us expand our products and connect with a much bigger audience. Companies are in a great position to offer charitable programs, extending our reach.

Q: Over the years, JustGive has launched a lot of new products, including charity fundraising registries, charity gift cards, rewards points for charity, and more. What new giving are you most proud of?
A: All new giving excites me, because it increases philanthropy.  But I’d have to say I’m most proud of charitable redemption points because it’s a big channel of fundraising that we identified, developed and operated before others did. Individuals and companies were accumulating huge volumes of rewards points, and CEOs felt torn about what to do with this build up of points. We gave them a solution. This got companies to think about their philanthropy more—outside of their foundations—and was a launching pad for corporate social responsibility. Redeeming rewards points for charity helped them connect philanthropy to their products and location, and give back in local communities. That kind of new giving shows JustGive’s uniqueness and creativity from start to finish—and our overall impact.

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JustGive’s 15 Year Timeline

Q: Did you envision JustGive would be what it is today?
A: We’re much bigger in scope than I thought we’d be. It’s been exciting to grow beyond direct, 1-person-to-1-charity donations (where we started) to fundraising, charity gifts, corporate giving and social responsibility programs. I’m thrilled to see how charity has penetrated into so many parts of life, and how multiple products are used in so many different ways!

Q: What other JustGive accomplishments are you proud of in the past 15 years?
A: I’m proud of all the unique channels of giving we’ve built. Like working with Monster.com to use $1 million of charity gift cards as a trade show giveaway. And expanding the definition of a benefit concert with The Dave Matthews Band by letting fans choose the charities to receive money.

2014 Year In Review

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I’m proud of the level of respect and integrity JustGive has built as a trusted leader for companies, nonprofits and donors. I know we’ve earned this through hard work and staying true to our mission.

And I’m incredibly proud of our longevity. Withstanding all the changes in the stock market (2 crashes and recession) and in the charitable market is amazing. It’s strengthened who we are.

I’m proud of our prominent national exposure—from TV mentions on PBS NewsHour and CBS News, to articles in the New York Times, USA Today, and Huffington Post.  Not to mention being recognized as one of the best of the web by Forbes.

I am most proud of our team. Their passion has fueled our growth, and the impact we’ve had on a limited budget is mind blowing. That’s because our team is creative and really believes in what we’re doing.

Q: What are the most important changes you’ve seen in philanthropy in the last 15 years?
A:

  1. The Internet has become a common channel for giving, and it’s given small organizations a louder voice.
  2. Young people are more involved in giving at a younger age. They consider philanthropy part of what they do, who they are, and what they expect from a company where they work.
  3. There’s been a huge increase in peer-to-peer giving, crowdfunding and the social side of giving.
  4. Corporate social responsibility has grown tremendously. Companies used to manage giving through their foundations, and philanthropy was about giving for branding reasons. Now it’s an important way to be good corporate citizens, and they’re becoming more proactive, with strong and directed giving.

Q: What would you like to see companies do to make more of a difference for philanthropy?
A:
I’d like to see more companies invest in the business value of charity – including it in their budget so it’s not funding they have to “find.” I’d also like to see them integrate charity into their large gift giving funds for holidays, incentives and loyalty rewards. And overall, to continue to be open minded and consider more creative ways to make charity an integral part of their business.

Q: Where are your personal hopes for JustGive in the years ahead?
A:
My hope is that JustGive continues to be a leading force for philanthropy, generating new pools of capital for the nonprofit sector.

Q: If there was one message you could get out in the world about charitable giving: What would that be?
philA:
Make giving a part of your everyday life. I’m not just talking about giving money, but about volunteering your time, and helping out in your community or doing something for someone in need. Giving isn’t isolated to a charity. It’s something we can all do every day with little moments of helping make things better for a person, a community, and ultimately the world. These small acts of kindness become contagious, spreading goodness that can make a difference.

– Candy Culver
Marketing Consultant

Johnson & Johnson’s Values Guide CSR

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In our household of three boys, Johnson & Johnson is a familiar brand. But what I didn’t know about the company—which may be best known for Band-Aids®, baby powder and Tylenol®—was that it practiced corporate social responsibility long before the term existed.

Caring for the world, one person at a time inspires and unites the people of Johnson & Johnson. In 1943, the company adopted its credo of values that guides decision making and challenges everyone at the company to put the needs and well-being of the people they serve first.

JnJ-Our-Credo-700Crafted more than 62 years ago by Robert Wood Johnson, the son of the founder, the credo is more than a moral compass . . . it’s “a visionary statement of corporate purpose” and the reason Johnson & Johnson has become the largest and most diversified health care company in the world.

In the past two years, Johnson & Johnson’s commitment to social responsibility has placed it among the top three of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens (a list compiled by Corporate Responsibility Magazine). And just this week, CEO Alex Gorsky received The Appeal of Conscience Award as a corporate ­­leader who by “deed and action has advanced human dignity and social justice.”

One simple but powerful idea in the company credo states, “We are responsible to the communities in which employees live and work, and to the world community as well. We must be good citizens—support good works and charities….”

Tradition of Philanthropy

Johnson & Johnson’s record of giving goes back to the early 1900s. Within hours of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the company gave the largest amount of help received from any organization, establishing its tradition of disaster giving and community philanthropy.

Tout-Full-Our-Giving_0Making the world a healthier place is at the heart of company philanthropy, focused in three strategic areas:

  • Saving and improving the lives of women and children
  • Preventing disease in vulnerable populations
  • Strengthening the healthcare workforce

Their approach? Work with partners to deliver community-based solutions.

One example of a successful partnership is Safe Kids Worldwide. For more than 27 years, Johnson & Johnson has been a part of the global organization dedicated to protecting kids from unintentional injuries. Safe-Kids-1000x666Through a network of more than 500 U.S. coalitions and partnerships with organizations in 25 countries, Safe Kids reduces injuries and deaths from motor vehicles, sports, drowning, falls, burns, poisonings and other activities. By 2008, this campaign had helped reduce the death rate for U.S. children aged 14 and younger by 45%.

In 2014, Johnson & Johnson’s philanthropy totaled nearly $172 million for organizations around the world, including $14.5 million through its Matching Gifts program (the company double-matched employee contributions last year).

It’s important for the company to evaluate the results of philanthropy, so they’ve set a sustainability goal to increase the number of programs measuring health-related outcomes. 2015 progress: 90 percent of Johnson & Johnson’s 230 philanthropy programs now monitor and report health-related outcomes.

Citizenship & Sustainability Efforts

Theirs is a long and involved history of citizenship and sustainability that this blog can’t really capture. But whether researching and developing new treatments for disease or working to reduce its environmental footprint, Johnson & Johnson conducts business in a responsible way. Most recent efforts include:

OurGiving-Pillar3-thumbnailAdvancing Human Health and Well-Being. In 2014, in response to the Ebola crisis, the company collaborated with the global health community to accelerate and expand production of the Ebola vaccine—to get it to families and health care professionals as quickly as possible.


Leading a Dynamic & Growing Business Responsibly
. 2015 is the first time Johnson & Johnson has established social goals as part of the company’s overall strategy. Energy-Use-Reduction-Efforts-300x200Its Healthy Future 2015 sustainability goals range from environmental sustainability and enhanced supply chain stewardship to greater transparency and commitments to address diseases in the developing world.

We’re not all leading global companies like Johnson & Johnson with a 129-year business history and enough resources to tackle world problems. But every business can examine its values and consider how to make a difference with philanthropy.  Inspired to get started? Contact us today—we can help.

– Andrea Lloyd
Director of Programs

IMAGE SOURCE: All images via http://www.jnj.com

Can JustGive Help Our Company Distribute Donations to Charity?

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Featured FAQ
Can JustGive help our company distribute donations to charity?

Here at JustGive, we offer services to help companies of any size incorporate philanthropy into their business. Many of our clients already have systems in place to collect charitable donations from their employees or customers, but need a qualified partner to take care of distributing those funds to the recipient charities. That’s where JustGive can step in.

Question
Can JustGive help our company distribute donations to charity?

Answer
donation_flickr_opensourceYes, JustGive offers donation processing support for a variety of situations. As a donor advised fund (DAF), we are authorized to manage charitable donations on behalf of companies, organizations, families, or individuals (eliminating your compliance headaches).

The process can be as simple as sending us a spreadsheet periodically with the donation detail (recipient charity, donation amount, donor info if available, etc.). We use that data to verify charities and securely distribute the donations, then bill you for the total donation amount and processing service.

Click here to learn more about our donation processing services and discover how JustGive’s clients have made an impact using our services. And don’t hesitate to contact us to see how we can help your company.

For more FAQs about corporate giving, visit our Support Center.

– Sarah Bacon
Director of Product

P.S. To keep up on philanthropy news and insights: Subscribe to our blog, and follow us on LinkedIn.

CSR Pioneers Ben & Jerry’s

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Ben & Jerry’s is thought of as the ice cream company with heart and soul. From the start, its founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield set out to prove that business can play a positive role in society.

In 1978, after taking a $5 correspondence course in ice cream-making from Penn State and making a $12,000 investment ($4,000 borrowed), Ben and Jerry began selling ice cream from a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont.  While the company name references only two men, a third man, Jeff Furman (a lawyer and accountant) is considered the ampersand in Ben & Jerry’s and a driving force in the company’s social responsibility efforts.

Utne Reader described them as three men who shared ideals formed in the 1960s and tempered by Vietnam and Watergate. They were smart and creative but suspicious of big business, painfully aware of injustice, and looking for better ways to live.

Social mission as a guiding business principle

In 1988, Ben & Jerry’s became one of the first companies in the world to make a social mission integral to its business and inseparable from its product and economic goals. Its social mission: use the company in innovative ways to make the world a better place.

When Unilever bought Ben & Jerry’s in 2000, the company became a wholly-owned subsidiary but fought to retain its social consciousness. Through a unique merger agreement, Ben & Jerry’s established an independent board of directors so it could maintain the company’s mission and preserve its values—a board that has the right to challenge Unilever at any time if it feels those values are compromised.

In September 2012, Ben & Jerry’s was certified as a B corp and became the first and only wholly-owned subsidiary of a public company to do so. Its publicly-available impact assessment shows how the company is doing in its governance and for the environment, workers, and community. (The B Corp model can ensure companies provide benefits to society in a way that’s transparent, balanced, and people can believe in.)

“We wanted to constantly challenge ourselves to be better,” said Rob Michalak, Ben & Jerry’s Director of Social Mission. “This model provides the rigor and standards to ensure that we are living up to our own mission and that we push further.”

The measures of success

Creating linked prosperity for suppliers, employees, farmers, franchisees, customers, and neighbors—everyone connected to Ben & Jerry’s—is how the company defines success. They operate to benefit people and communities, support social and environmental justice, and give back.

Sourcing & purchasing ingredients. The company uses its purchasing power to buy Fair Trade Certified base ingredients of sugar, cocoa, banana, coffee and vanilla.

In manufacturing, Ben & Jerry’s works to reduce its footprint and has offset 22,400 tons of CO2 emissions since 2002. The company is also actively involved in climate justice, mandatory GMO labeling, peace building and many more issues.

Ben & Jerry’s: Giving back

Their efforts to give back go beyond improving quality of life for local communities. In addition to donating more than 5% of profits to charity:

  • Ben & Jerry’s foundation engages its employees in philanthropy and social change work, and supports grassroots activism and community organizing for social and environmental justice around the country. In 1991, the foundation was restructured to be employee-led, and employees make all the decisions about grants. In 2014, the foundation won the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy’s award for a Corporate Grantmaker.
  • The foundation funds the Vermont Community Action Team (CAT) grant program for an array of programs, and prioritizes support for basic human needs and the underserved, including seniors, at-risk youth and low income communities. In addition to grants, employees work together on several large-scale community service projects each year.
  • PartnerShops are independently-owned Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops operated by community-based nonprofit organizations, and run as social enterprises. They offer job and entrepreneurial training to youth and young adults who may face barriers to employment.

Ben & Jerry’s has set a high CSR bar. Not every business has the resources and ability to pursue social responsibility with such fervor, but any business can get started.  Inspired to discover how? Contact JustGive today; we’ll help.

– Candy Culver
Marketing Consultant

What Programs and Products does JustGive Offer for Companies?

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FEATURED FAQ:
JustGive’s Corporate Services

For company giving programs, United Way may pop to mind first. But there are many options and flexible partners, like JustGive, with the experience and expertise to help your business make an impact with philanthropy.

people_jumping_29365278.jpgWhether you’re a large corporation or small business, JustGive offers a variety of products to incorporate charitable giving into your business . . .  and, at the same time, engage employees and customers. Making things better for your company, your community, and the world.

Here’s a short description of what JustGive can do for your company.

Question
What programs and products does JustGive offer for companies?

Answer
JustGive can help your company launch a donation campaign or giving day for a specific charity or cause, or a long-term charitable giving program that encourages philanthropy year round (including matching gifts).

We can also provide donation support and processing if you have an existing giving program or if you’re a new company with a social impact purpose. JustGive takes care of compliance and efficiently distributes donations to charity for you.

woman_casual_business_25401351.jpgJustGive’s charity gift cards are a great way for your company to give employees and customers something extra: the chance to make a difference for a cause they care about. They’re flexible, and ideal as holiday or thank you gifts, traffic-generating tradeshow giveaways, rewards and incentives, or distinctive sales meeting swag. Your recipients can redeem the charity gift cards to donate to any charity they choose (from nearly 2 million in our database).

Get more detail about all our Corporate Services on our site and read our Success Stories to discover how other companies have effectively used JustGive’s charitable giving products.

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-Sarah Bacon
Director of Product