Center Broadens Corporate Citizenship Focus

By Reid Oslin
Staff Writer

With a new name and a renewed mission, Boston College's Center for Corporate Citizenship - formerly the Center for Corporate Community Relations - is playing an expanded role in helping corporations successfully merge effective business practices with the needs of society.

In announcing the name change, CCC Executive Director Bradley K. Googins said the new title "reflects our broader focus on the entire company and its interactions with internal and external stakeholders."

Googins said the 16-year-old center would continue to offer courses in training, research, strategy and measurement of success for corporate community relations professionals. "We will also reach out to the executives whose leadership is crucial to any corporate citizenship effort," he said.

The initial venture under the new CCC banner was the center's 11th annual conference on corporate citizenship, which last month drew more than 350 corporate community professionals to a three-day meeting in San Diego.

Principal speakers at the conference included E.J. Dionne, a columnist for The Washington Post who is currently a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Stanley S. Litow, vice president for corporate community relations at IBM Corp. and president of the IBM International Foundation.
Among the 300 corporations represented at the conference were Ford Motor Co., Texas Instruments, Shell Oil Corp., Verizon, Fleet Boston and Fidelity Investments.

Addressing this year's conference theme, "Connecting Corporate Citizenship Across Your Business, Across the Globe," conference speakers offered a variety of methods to increase their organizations' ability to develop a meaningful involvement with their community.

Several participants suggested that the planning and implementation of effective corporate citizenship strategies, a role once handled almost solely by community relations professionals, must now have the attention and support of a corporation's top executives.

"Community relations professionals are excited that their role is changing in the corporations," said CCC Marketing Director Cheryl Kiser, one of the event's organizers. "We are here to help them navigate into this new area of responsibility.

"One of the center's main goals is to teach corporations how to be social change agents," Kiser continued. "We see the government pulling back on some of these issues, and non-profit organizations don't always have the wherewithal to make change happen."

To foster effective social change, Kiser said, the involvement and support of corporate leadership is necessary. "It must be integrated across the entire business," she said.

 

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