Business Communities

Center for Corporate Community Relations is fostering closer relationships between companies and towns

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

A year after becoming director of the Center for Corporate Community Relations, Bradley Googins is setting a busy agenda that encourages companies to foster closer ties with their host communities at a time when more and more companies are seeing the wisdom of that advice.

Since taking the helm in January of last year, Googins has overseen the center's efforts in research and in nurturing new business-community partnerships. He has urged companies to spread the message of good corporate citizenship beyond the community relations office and throughout the organization.

That spirit seems to be catching on in corporate America. Googins notes the center's guidelines on community relations recently were endorsed publicly by CEOs from 11 major multi-national companies [see separate story].

The 13-year-old CCCR has trained 2,000 executives from more than 500 corporations worldwide - including many Fortune 500 companies - in areas such as the savvy use of philanthropy and building alliances with advocacy groups. It has ongoing contacts with some 320 companies and organizations from a variety of fields. Recent clients include representatives of the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League, who learned strategies to improve community outreach through summer sports tournaments and charity involvement.

CCCR Director Bradley Googins- "Ultimately, the reason I'm in this is that I honestly believe the work of the center can make a real difference in creating healthier companies and healthier communities."(Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

They, like a growing number of major corporations, have come to appreciate the center's long-held position that companies' operations, and profits, can be squeezed unless they are seen as "neighbors of choice," who are wanted in their host communities, he said.

Under Googins, the CCCR continues to build strong international ties through training partnerships with organizations like Philippine Business for Social Progress; Systems Management Consultants of Trinidad; Petroleos de Venezuela; and Mount Royal College in Calgary, Alberta. In addition, the center is developing research and training partnerships with the Points of Light Foundation, Business for Social Responsibility, and Britain's Business in the Community, a corporate community action group headed by the Prince of Wales.

The CCCR also publishes briefings, policy papers and manuals, and Googins serves as US co-editor of the international journal Community, Work & Family with BC's Center for Work and Family Policy and Research Development Director Martha Pitt-Catsouphes.

As it "wrestles with the changing face of capitalism" and seeks to emphasize the human element in business, Googins said, CCCR strives to bring ideals to the business world that reflect BC's Ignatian values.

"This center speaks to some of the most exciting issues of the day," he said. "What is the role of the corporation in society at the end of the 20th century? What is the role of the corporation in the global community? How to reconcile the need to make a profit with carrying out your role as a citizen of the community?"

Googins said his views on the greater good were shaped by the Jesuits who taught him in high school and at Boston College, where he received a bachelor's degree in philosophy and sociology in 1967 and a master's degree in social work in 1969. Googins, who also earned a doctorate in social welfare from Brandeis University in 1978, taught for 20 years at the Boston University School of Social Work before returning to BC.

Along with his credentials as a field researcher and policy advisor on occupational alcoholism and other areas of social work, Googins brought his seven-year-old Center for Work and Family, a research organization that focuses on innovative practices in day care, family leave and flexible work hours. It has joined CCCR under the auspices of the Carroll School of Management, where Googins is a member of the Organizational Studies faculty.

Googins sees the CCCR and CWF as part of "a new breed" of research centers at Boston College, such as the School of Education's Center for Child, Family and Community Partnerships, that are combining research excellence with groundbreaking efforts in community outreach.

"As a University center we will be able to set forth, through research and education, an inquiry into the most critical issues in society," Googins said. "Ultimately, the reason I'm in this is that I honestly believe the work of the center can make a real difference in creating healthier companies and healthier communities."

Return to April 23 menu

Return to Chronicle home page