The following is a guest editorial presented by president and chief executive officer of the Columbia Urban League J.T. McLawhorn:
In celebrating the 49th year of the Columbia Urban League and the 2016 Annual Fund Campaign and Equal Opportunity Day Dinner, our theme focuses on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as an economic imperative which benefits society by enhancing a community's quality of life. Corporate Social Responsibility represents a vision along with an investment strategy that extends beyond shareholders and investors to all aspects of society.
The late Peter Drucker, a professor, management consultant and author, has been described by Business Week as "the man who invented management". Drucker defined CSR succinctly: "Leaders in every single institution and in every single sector … have two responsibilities. They are responsible and accountable for the performance of their institutions, and that requires them and their institutions to be concentrated, focused, limited. They are responsible also, however, for the community as a whole."
A study by Cone Communications and Echo, a public relations and marketing firm, revealed that "CSR is a reputational imperative with 90 percent of shoppers worldwide likely to switch to brands that support good causes, given similar price and quality". Additionally, the study stated that more than 90 percent of the consumers surveyed are more likely to trust and be loyal to socially responsible businesses compared to companies that don't show these traits.
The Columbia Urban League is keenly aware of the importance of CSR in helping us to fulfill our mission of empowering underserved communities through service delivery, advocacy and bridge building. We salute the many businesses that have promoted CSR as an integral part of their philosophy and business practice. This year's EOD speaker is Mr. Timothy Keating, senior vice president of Government Operations for The Boeing Company. Boeing has certainly made a strong supporter and role model of CSR. We want to encourage other business to join the effort. As we look forward to our 50th Anniversary, was want to compile "Corporate Social Responsibility Honor Roll" that recognizes businesses that have exemplified excellence in CSR. Corporate Social Responsibility is a lifeline and game changer for many non-profit organizations; and it is also a win-win model for businesses and society to coexist in a mutually beneficial manner.