Far too often the generosity of private enterprises goes unnoticed. This and forthcoming articles will highlight corporate giving. SCA, a multi-billion-dollar corporation, is the perfect place to start.
SCA is a global enterprise with a great big heart. Its Swedish origins in forestry naturally evolved into the paper products industry. SCA brands include Tena and Tork personal care lines of feminine napkins, adult diapers, tissues, and more. Production and sales in the Americas is managed out of the region’s headquarters in Philadelphia.
It only took one conversation with Amy Bellcourt, vice president of communications at SCA Americas, to realize “c/o (i.e. circle of) life” is more than a corporate slogan. Sustainability and essential human needs permeate much of what SCA does as a manufacturer and community member.
With reference to sustainability, SCA Americas’ headquarters on the 26th floor of the contemporary Cira building at 2929 Arch Street became the 1st LEED certified office in Philadelphia. Its sleek interior was designed with an eye on being green. Recycled materials in carpets, ceiling tiles, and in furnishings are undetectable by visitors, rather the effects of this earth-friendly decor is a warm and fresh ambience further enhanced by the integration of natural lighting. Bellcourt also points out the corporation’s TORK product lines are made from recycled materials.
SCA not only pursues ways to reduce its carbon footprint on the environment, the corporation supports efforts of others throughout the world. In Philly, SCA and its employees backed American Recycle Day last November, Earth Day in April, and most recently Greenfest Philly, produced by the Clean Air Council this month. In the latter case, scholarships were given to small and emerging business lacking resources to showcase their green innovations at the festival.
The second focus of SCA generosity rests on essential services. Repeated donations to the Red Cross House for victims of disasters with special needs and American Red Cross disaster relief clearly illustrate an abiding concern for the welfare of people. Corporate giving typically takes the form of product and/or monetary donations. A $50,000 donation, for example, went to Haitian recovery from a devastating earthquake.
Bellcourt says, of course, the easiest ways to support select nonprofit organizations is with in-kind product donations of the type provided to restrooms along the Schuylkill River Trail, a popular conservation walk across Philadelphia.
SCA employees, as already mentioned are encouraged to support worthy causes. One approach is corporate matching of employee donations, similar to its campaign for disaster recovery from the hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods that ravaged southern states this year.
Employee volunteerism to nonprofits is another approach, one less familiar to SCA executives from foreign countries with governments managing a wide-range of social programs. When 85 SCA global managers met in Philadelphia, they were introduced to volunteerism, dedicating at least half a day to hands-on community service with four nonprofit organizations. This included MANNA’s free meal service, Inglis House (a skilled nursing care facility), Red Cross House, and helping beautify a local park with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
“It just gave the managers a whole new sense,” explains Bellcourt, “of what it meant to connect with people, connect with customers.” SCA managers felt invigorated by that personal level of giving back to the community and welcome volunteering again. Their help that day was topped with donations totaling $10,000 to the 4 charities.
SCA also sponsors employees in runs and walks, paying entrance fees for the charity Alzheimer’s Walk, Clean Air Run, and such. According to Bellcourt, employees, in general, respond best to volunteerism they can fit into a normal workday.
Four years of participating in Philadelphia Reads, a dynamic literacy program, is a shining example. Throughout the school year, groups of students join individual employees in SCA offices and common areas to read books together. This, one of the favorite programs of Sune Lundin, president of SCA Americas, sparks literacy while exposing children to a corporate environment and contributing periods of relaxation to employees’ otherwise busy work schedules.
Each regional office in the Americas, for the most part, sets charitable priorities for community sustainability and essential services. SCA headquarters in Philly continues brainstorming new opportunities to bring its resources together with local nonprofits in the circle of life.
To learn more about SCA or any of the aforementioned charities, click on their names and launch to respective websites.
All rights to this article are reserved by Gloria Blakely. Copy right 2011.