If you don’t think philanthropy in Minnesota and the Ukraine have much in common, think again.
On October 20-21, I attended MCF’s conference in St. Paul, The Evolution of Corporate Philanthropy: Building Value and Creating Change, where discussion revolved around truly integrating corporate citizenship and philanthropy within a company’s business strategy.
The previous week in Mykolajiv, Ukraine, the Ukrainian Philanthropists Forum, in conjunction with the Center for Social Programs RUSAL, East Europe Foundation, held Ukraine’s first international conference on corporate volunteering.
Both groups heard from Valerie Halverson Pace, west region manager, Corporate Citizenship, at IBM in Rochester, Minnesota, and an MCF member. She spoke of the change that she’s seen in the past 15 years at IBM, a company cited here and halfway around the world for doing things right and pushing the boundaries of corporate citizenship.
According to Pace, IBM is working across business units in 170 countries on pressing issues including the environment, economic development, education, health, literacy, language and culture.
IBM is applying their technology and the talent of their employees to solve problems, rather than simply making cash donations. They provide leadership and insist on excellence. And, whether it’s using voice recognition technology to help children learn to read or cloud computing to make disaster relief tools instantly available to recovery workers, they collaborate with qualified partners and fully expect to effect widespread positive change.
Turns out MCF and the Ukrainian Philanthropists Forum are both members of WINGS, a global network of 145 grantmaker associations. And Bill King, MCF president and a WINGS board member, is responsible for facilitating the Ukraine-Minnesota philanthropy connection.
It’s a great example of one way that MCF is working to promote and strengthen philanthropy in Minnesota and far beyond the borders of our state.
- Susan Stehling, communications associate