This is written in response to the Board’s request for assistance in helping the Houston Food Bank (HFB) to develop and implement social initiatives. Clearly an organization’s decision to engage in corporate social responsibility efforts is not to be taken lightly, in so much as it confers benefits on both society and upon the business itself.
As a point of reference, I believe it makes the most sense to review benchmark practices that are already being utilized by companies well known to HFB. In doing so, HFB will be better positioned to develop an appropriate corporate social responsibility (CSR) platform and to execute upon the same, employing marketing and environmental approaches that are in line with the CSR.

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Using Chevron as an example, we can examine the corporation’s CSR values and its commitment thereto, as well as the CSR model most closely associated with those values, which is strongly weighted in favor of ethics, given the overall emphasis on “humankind.” The company’s program supports employee and retiree giving and volunteering efforts towards the causes that they care about. Chevron stands behinds its people in their work to bolster their individual communities through volunteer activities of meaning. Beyond the mere act of matching human resources with volunteer opportunities, Chevron’s “Humankind” program provides financial matching as well. For HFB, this could be manifested in man-hours spent soliciting, packing, sorting, and distributing food throughout the community.

For the above reasons, the ethical, philanthropic, and volunteer responsibilities standout as worthwhile obligations for HFB and/or any of its partners. Ethical responsibilities can be defined as a company doing the proverbial “right thing” as opposed to perhaps, what they must do as a corporation. Examples of doing the right thing, might be only partnering with ethically responsible people and businesses, treating their own employees, vendors, and contractors in an ethical manner, or being sensitive to the needs of the environment and humankind.

Once the company has fulfilled such duties, they are freed up to address issues such philanthropy, which could come in the form of giving money, or giving time (volunteerism). These philanthropic responsibilities can best be described as those things that they believe will enhance and improve life in the community or in society in general. This could be as simple as partnering with organizations like HFB, whose mission is to end hunger and food instability in and around the Houston community. Companies and their employees are ripe candidates not only for donating money and products, but also for the donation of time, participating in food bank related projects, and causes. These efforts will inevitably benefit the local community and the philanthropy and volunteerism model is likely the most appropriate and potentially beneficial to HFB.

After all, HFB has been a long time partner with large sponsor organizations, and has done much to help those organizations, including Chevron, Coca-Cola, Pepsi Co, and Proctor and Gamble among others, to meet their own individual CSR aims and objectives concerning philanthropy, volunteerism, and that pure human-centric need to eliminate hunger, and food security those in the greater Houston area, who might otherwise go to bed hungry each night.

For years now, corporations have looked to HFB as a gateway to the local community and as both a liaison and vehicle for doing good work. HFB remains committed to helping corporations, businesses, and individuals, to create their own way of addressing the critical issue of hunger. Look no further than: to see how you or your organization might partner with HFB to meet these important societal goals.