Companies using UWGT’s support to reach corporate social responsibility goals ::

Companies using UWGT's support to reach corporate social responsibility goals ::

This article was written for our sponsor, United Way of the Greater Triangle.

Corporate social responsibility, or CSR, emphasizes a company’s contribution to their community and beyond, often through philanthropy, volunteerism or activism. While not all companies have CSR initiatives, those that do are often better connected with both the surrounding community and their employees.

For Triangle-based companies, United Way of the Greater Triangle — a nonprofit dedicated to eradicating poverty and increasing social mobility — supports CSR by connecting them with worthy causes.

“What we really appreciate about United Way is the fact that, here in the Triangle and across the U.S., they’re a great partner for understanding the needs of our local community. It provides us the opportunity to give avenues for traditional giving or for volunteer opportunities for our employees — and more importantly, to figure out how we at IBM can leverage our talent and our technology to have an impact in that local community,” said Joan Nelson, vice president of quote-to-cash operations at IBM and a member of United Way of the Greater Triangle’s board.

“We partner with the United Way to find volunteer opportunities, and we’ve done things with them, like meal preparation, health kit preparations, and leadership programs with local non-profit leaders to help skill them up, leverage our talent and provide training to the organizations based on what’s important related to social responsibility and giving back to the community.”

As part of IBM’s partnership with United Way, the nonprofit helps them identify ways to support the local community based on areas of need and the company’s particular strengths. For example, the company has leveraged their technology to help with specific issues like hurricane relief and flood remediation.

Additionally, every Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, IBM aids United Way with food and meal prep.

The company also has a few unique CSR goals, including providing mock interviews and Dress for Success clothing drives.

“We have a tremendous focus on non-traditional ways to get to the workplace, and that’s where the focus around skill-building comes in. We work with people who have no degrees, two year degrees or veterans returning to the workplace, and often partner with United Way in connecting with them,” said Nelson. “Through that work, we’re focused on how to leverage talent and technology in different ways to support our local communities. It’s not just about giving money or just filling the day doing something — it’s about building programs that have a real impact.”

In addition to larger, globally recognized companies, locally-based companies also utilize the aid of United Way. Durham’s Humacyte, a bioengineering company with deep roots in the Triangle community, formed as a spinoff from Duke University.

“We’re really trying to engrain community service as a part of our own company culture. It’s important for us as an organization not only to focus on culture within the four walls of our facility but also how we can help to expand that culture outside of the four walls of our facility,” said Juliana L. Blum, executive vice president, strategic business operations and co-founder of Humacyte. “Our relationship with the United Way really supports the emphasis we have as an organization on supporting our community and finding ways to contribute to the greater good, whether through monetary donations, internal campaigns, or volunteer opportunities.”

Although the pandemic has made certain CSR goals harder to reach than others, Blum is optimistic about what the future holds. On every level of the company, she sees different teams maintaining their passion for giving back to the Triangle community.

“We are focused on creating a culture of community, both inside and outside of the organization, and we really enjoy getting involved with different programs that help extend our ability to volunteer — those types of humanistic outreaches really give us purpose,” said Blum. ” Our mission for the company is to improve the lives of patients by creating first-in-class medical products, and we like to extend that mission to improving the health and lives of everyone around us in general.”

“United Way brought us an objective view of all the other things that we could be doing and ways that we could leverage our team’s ambition with United Way’s purpose,” she finished. “I look forward to continuing to grow that relationship, and as we continue to grow as an organization and in number of team members, also having more people-power behind us to drive further volunteer opportunities and community outreach.”

This article was written for our sponsor, United Way of the Greater Triangle.

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Kassie Hoffman
Kassie pens down all the news from the world of politics on ANH.