C.C.C.R. To Study Ties Between Business, Communities

By Reid Oslin
Staff Writer

Boston College's Center for Corporate Community Relations has received two Ford Foundation grants totaling $445,000 to conduct research on partnerships between businesses and economically disadvantaged communities, and to measure the impact and benefits of the partnerships on such activities.

CCCR Research and Policy Development Director Steven Rochlin said the latest grants are the result of a 1996 project with the Ford Foundation that explored the rationale for private firms taking part in the economic revitalization of a community.

The grants provide "a tremendous validation for our work," noted Rochlin, "as well as providing a huge boost for the capacity of the center.

"These grants help position the University in a high-profile manner," he added. "They enhance Boston College in the corporate sector, in the foundation sector and in the non-profit sector."

The Ford Foundation grants will enable the center's staff to "identify the best existing practices for companies seeking to improve economic development in their local communities," Rochlin said. With that information, he said, CCCR will be able to set up model strategic approaches for plans that increase social welfare and result in a positive "bottom line" for the firms involved.

"What we are looking for are true 'win-win' situations," he said.

CCCR plans to accomplish this task by setting up advisory committees consisting of corporate executives, non-profit organization representatives and management professors from across the nation. The advisory groups will examine existing community economic development plans and produce in-depth case reports that can be used as teaching models, as well as a comprehensive final report for interested organizations, according to Rochlin.

Rochlin said that Carroll School of Management Dean John J. Neuhauser was a member of the original advisory team in 1996, and Rochlin expects more Boston College faculty members to become involved with the expanded project.

Research and Policy Development Project Manager Ted J. Gaiser, who will oversee research for the project, said the initiative will bring into focus some critical economic issues, such as reduction of government spending, changes in corporate competitive strategies and changes in the ways that communities view themselves.

"A project like this puts Boston College on the cutting edge of evaluating some of what is happening in this economic transition," he said.

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