Business and the Season of Giving
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One of the wonderful aspects of the holiday season is the emphasis on giving to those in need. It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of modern life, but each December we are reminded that some things are more important than the next corporate earnings statement or the must-have product. This is a time for lifting up those less fortunate—a time to remember the importance of service.
Americans are among the most generous and compassionate people on earth. Each of us has a neighbor or friend who devotes countless hours to community service, makes regular donations to charity, or mentors a child. But the enormous contributions made by businesses of all sizes to improve their communities and the lives of the less fortunate often go unnoticed.
That's why the U.S. Chamber's Business Civic Leadership Center created a program to recognize businesses that have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to improving their own communities. These companies represent the business community at its best. Let me share a few of their stories.
The Harris Corporation, an international communications and information technology company, has a strong commitment to environmental sustainability, rigorously assessing the environmental impact of manufactured products and reducing or eliminating any hazardous materials they may contain. Harris and its employees have also been generous supporters of United Way agencies, donating more than $1.4 million over the past year.
Allstate and the Allstate Foundation were recognized for developing a national Teen Safe Driving Program. (Car crashes are the number one killer of U.S. teens.) The company creates awareness of the issues through a driver education curriculum for high school drivers and a parent-teen driving contract to limit risky behavior. The foundation complements these efforts with campaigns and research mobilizing parents, teens, policy leaders, and health care providers around the issue.
The Coca-Cola Company was honored for Coca-Cola China's "New Village Project," the first such project launched by a multinational company in Hunan province. This project resulted in new roads, a free medical clinic, a culture and recreation center, as well as improved access to energy resources and clean drinking water. In addition, the project encouraged 100 other enterprises to launch similar projects in Hunan, with total investment of $29 million.
These companies set an outstanding example not just for the business community but for all of us. As businesses and their employees once again express their core values this holiday season, we should recognize the difference they make in communities across America—and around the world.