The Many Benefits of Establishing a Culture of Giving

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The Many Benefits of Establishing a Culture of Giving

Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship: Member Spotlight
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Alessandra Cavalluzzi, Senior Manager of Community Relations, MSC Industrial Supply Co.

Monday, August 12, 2013 - 9:35am

There is a lot of discussion about the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and its impact on local communities, a company’s image and even its bottom line.  There is an area, however, though equally significant a component as the others, that is often overlooked in this conversation.  That is the way in which CSR strengthens a company’s culture and offers associates (employees) at all levels an opportunity to become more engaged.

I am the senior manager of community relations at MSC Industrial Supply Co., one of the nation’s largest direct marketers and premier distributors of Metalworking & Maintenance, Repair and Operations (“MRO”) supplies. I work out of our company’s headquarters in Melville, NY, and have seen firsthand the way in which our community engagement programming has benefited our corporate culture.  But let’s take a step back.  While giving back has always been one of our core values, and an important element of MSC’s culture, in 2005 we decided to formalize this tradition through the creation of the Community Relations Department, which coordinates all of the company’s CSR programming.

We sponsor a variety of activities every month including fundraisers, charity walks, and other community events.  In addition, we participate in broader partnerships such as one with the NY Islanders hockey team that supports veterans, and another with the United Way of Long Island which supports low-income youth between the ages of 18 – 24.  Through our Community Relations Department MSC also provides assistance and support during times of need.  When Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast last year, our team moved quickly to develop a plan of action.  In addition to monetary and in-kind donations, MSC coordinated “Days of Service” during the work week by reaching out to local non-profits and community groups to offer assistance in the areas hardest hit by the storm.  These service days stretched over several months, and put Associates on the ground to provide hands-on help with the relief efforts.  We’ve also responded when disasters have struck in other areas of the country, and in the global community, through fundraisers and in-kind donations of product.

One of the highlights of our Community Relations program is that it offers our associates the opportunity to branch out beyond their work role and become involved in a variety of rewarding projects that benefit the community. Our work is supported by a cross-functional team of associate volunteers who assist in the planning and execution of events.  We have a total of six teams.  One team in our Melville location, and five satellite Community Outreach Teams in our Customer Fulfillment Centers across the country.  The satellite teams offer MSC associates outside of our Melville HQ the opportunity to support our company’s corporate citizenship efforts.   We have found this to be a source of empowerment for our associates in that they feel that they have a direct impact on the program & its initiatives.  In addition, there is the general population of associates who choose to participate in the individual events.

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