Jeff Bezos Sends Dreamers To College

Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, donated $33 million to TheDream.US, a national scholarship fund for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and are protected from deportation under the DACA program.

The grant is the largest in the organization’s history. It will go to DACA-eligible graduating high school students around the country. Each student will get $33,000 in aid over four years to help pay tuition and fees. The students will be eligible to attend one of 76 colleges and universities in 15 states that partner with the scholarship fund. At present, nearly 3,000 undocumented students are enrolled today through TheDream.US.

Bezos is the richest person in the world. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index puts his wealth at $108 billion. “MacKenzie and I are honored to be able to help today’s Dreamers by funding these scholarships,” he said.

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In 2015, Mark Zuckerberg gave $5 million to TheDream.US to fund college scholarships.

Bezos’ donation is the latest step by the nation’s top CEOs to protect Dreamers. Donald Trump moved to rescind DACA in September, and it is set to end March 5.

More than 100 business leaders, including Bezos, signed a letter to Congress this week urging Congress to pass legislation preserving provisions of the program. Failure to act will cost businesses valuable employees and hurt the economy.

JetBlue For Good Encourages Customers and Crewmembers

Y’all know I stan for JetBlue. Their JetBlue for Good is another reason why.

The company is celebrating November as Philanthropy Month, recognizing those who actively volunteer in their communities. To kick off this month of giving, JetBlue is launching a contest inviting customers and crewmembers to join the JetBlue For Good Crew. Volunteers who work to make their communities a better place can enter at for a chance to win $1,000 for the charity of their choice.

Customers and crewmembers can enter by uploading a photo or video highlighting their community service and sharing their volunteer efforts using #JetBlueForGood. The contest begins today, November 1st. Winners, one customer and one crewmember, will be selected daily until November 30, 2016.

Since 2011, JetBlue crewmembers have volunteered more than 500,000 hours of service. To honor JetBlue’s Philanthropy Month efforts, the airline is encouraging customers and even more crewmembers to participate in acts of service.


L’OCCITANE: More than Almond Lotion.

One of my guilty pleasures is french beauty retailer L’OCCITANE’s Amande (almond) line. Specifically, I love their Almond Delicious Paste Body Scrub which is described as, “a delicious blend of almond butter and almond oil, infused with crushed almond shells and sugar crystals, this exfoliating butter offers perfect exfoliation for the entire body.” To me, it’s like marzipan for the skin – AH.MAZE.ING. Anyhow, more importantly, they just did something good and that trumps all.

L’OCCITANE just donated $120,000 to Dress for Success, a gift that will help up to 2,400 women begin their journey to achieving their professional goals in 2016. The company had pledged to donate $10 for every gift set purchased during the 2015 holiday season (up to $120,000) to Dress for Success to help prepare women for job interviews.

Additionally, the company has been a long-time advocate for the economic independence of women supporting women’s leadership programs in West Africa for over 20 years. In 2015, the brand’s North American headquarters partnered with Dress for Success to empower women on a local level and deepen the brand’s commitment to female empowerment on a global scale.

Since 1997, Dress for Success has helped more than 850,000 women throughout the world achieve their professional goals through career-advancing services. From suiting to mock interviews to employment retention and money management programs, the nonprofit helps provide women with the tools they need to secure a job and become a successful employee.

Check out this clip which highlights the L’OCCITANE partnership with Dress for Success in Canada.

TED TALK FAVE : The End of CSR As We Know It?

Companies know that giving back has a direct connection to the bottom line. How that gets done is ever changing. First, it was all about all about philanthropy, where business donates money to causes. Then, it was about “corporate social responsibility,” or minimizing their social or environmental harm.

Harvard professor Michael Porter  who is author of  the infamous, “Five Forces” framework, says it’s time to move on. These days, it’s all about, “shared value.” Shared value is tied to solutions: actual products and services with a social purpose.

According to a recent chat, he says,”The ultimate impact businesses can have is through the business itself,” he says in an interview. “There are huge unmet needs in the world today. The question now is how to get capitalism to operate at its best because capitalism is fundamentally the best way to meet needs. If you can meet needs at a profit, you can scale.”

It’s not about creating cheaper versions of products and services we enjoy in the developed world. It’s about coming up with new offerings that actually solve social problems. So, less new packets of soap or cigarettes, more services that improve health and economic output.

Take a look at TED Talk below to learn more.

Ted Talk Fave : Profit Isn’t Always the Point

You might not expect the chief operating officer of a major global corporation to look too far beyond either the balance sheet or the bottom line. But Harish Manwani, COO of Unilever, makes a passionate argument that doing so to include value, purpose and sustainability in top-level decision-making is not just savvy, it’s the only way to run a 21st century business responsibly.

Check it out:

CSR Heavy-Hitters To Appear at We First

 We First has announced a world-class lineup of speakers for the 2013 We First Social Branding Seminar. The 2013 Seminar is set to convene September 24-25, 2013 at the W Hollywood Hotel in Hollywood, CA and will provide two days of hands-on training for marketing, corporate communications and CSR and sustainability leaders on how to tell the story of their company’s good work in ways that build their brand’s reputation, bottom line and social impact. WeFirst

No ordinary conference, the 2013 Seminar is a two day, hands-on executive training summit. Attendees will learn how to harness the power of brand storytelling through the latest social and mobile technologies and walk away with an actionable Social Branding Blueprint to present back to their organizations. The training is divided into six Modules with expert speakers and breakout sessions between each.

This year’s training will be brought to life by an exclusive line-up of literally the best marketers and business leaders in the world including:

  • Jim Hanna, Director of Environmental Impact at Starbucks Coffee Company
  • Tom LaForge, Global Director of Human & Cultural Insights at The Coca-Cola Company
  • Aaron Sherinian, VP for Communications and Public Relations for The UN Foundation
  • Paull Young, Director of Digital at charity: water
  • Kathy Mota, Corporate CSR and Social Impact, Toyota Motor Corporation
  • Simon Mainwaring, Best-selling author and CEO & Chief Creative Officer at We First

There will also be a panel focused on disruptive marketing technology featuring Chris Miglino, the CEO & Co-Founder of Social Reality, and Gregory Markel, Founder & CEO ofInfuse Creative.

The Seminar attracts leaders from a wide range of industries with confirmed attendees from Nestlé Purina PetCare, Coca-Cola, Chanel, ConAgra Foods, Starbucks, Staffmark, FirstCapital Bank of Texas, In-N-Out Burger, Thrive Farmers, The American Lung Association and The UN Foundation.


Good CSR – Tech Giant Symantec Supports NYCHA Residents

Earlier this week, Symantec Corp. announced that it is collaborating with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the largest public housing authority in North America,  to provide discounted Norton security software specialist training and internships to NYCHA residents, as part of its ongoing commitment to building strong community relationships.

Symantec will provide job readiness and training initiatives to the more than 400,000 eligible NYCHA residents, who will receive a discount on Norton security software, as well as opportunities to receive specialist certification on software security and participate in Symantec’s internship program. symantec-logo-2011

“Symantec is committed to creating a positive social impact, and we aim to empower people to pursue their career goals through providing access to our products and technical training services,” said Gigi Schumm, vice president and general manager of Symantec’s Public Sector organization. “Providing our products and training solutions to NYCHA residents will open up career opportunities for the underprivileged residents of New York City and provide much needed highly trained employees to the marketplace.”

Symantec donates $19 million in retail value of software each year, globally. Through its Resident Purchase Program, Symantec will provide Norton AntiVirus and security products at a 40 percent discount to NYCHA residents with proof of residency.

“We welcome this strong commitment from Symantec, which will greatly benefit our residents and help reduce the digital divide that impacts our communities,” said NYCHA Chairman, John B. Rhea. “This commitment also assists NYCHA in its efforts to connect our residents to opportunities that will support them in achieving economic stability and success.”

Beyond donating security products, Symantec will offer specialist certification credentials for several security products as a means to validate participants’ technical skills, knowledge and competence. Symantec will also consider NYCHA residents for its internship program.

Another Reason Why Volunteering Matters.

Volunteering is key to those who are out of work.

With unemployment still high, findings from the 2013 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey are particularly pertinent to the population that was surveyed. This includes recent college graduates who are unemployed, underemployed and may be carrying college-related debt, as well as unemployed post 9/11 veterans, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, amongst those in the 20-24 age range. According to a new survey from Deloitte, human resources (HR) executives agree that skills-based volunteering enhances the job prospects for graduating college seniors and returning military veterans.

Yet, despite challenging economic times, less than half of the college students (46 percent) and military personnel (48 percent) surveyed think of volunteering at a nonprofit as a way to develop skills and gain the experience needed to land a future job.   gal_deloitte

The survey polled HR executives, college seniors and military veterans. According to the HR executives:

  • When evaluating a job candidate, experience gained through skilled volunteering would be taken into account (81 percent)
  • Skilled volunteer experience makes a job candidate more desirable (76 percent)
  • Skilled volunteer experience makes a college graduate more desirable (81 percent)
  • Skilled volunteer experience makes a serviceman more desirable (78 percent)

The survey also confirmed that volunteerism—both traditional and skilled—is encouraged at many organizations through corporate citizenship programs. Responses indicate that most HR executives believe volunteering is beneficial for their employees (65 percent), and contributes toward a positive reputation (88 percent). From an internal standpoint, slightly more than half of the HR executives surveyed (52 percent) say volunteerism is an important element of their organization’s culture.

Download the complete survey here.

Duracell Puts Power Behind Everyday Heroes

Forget what you heard, the old-school alkaline battery is alive and well. My kitchen clock that has been stuck on 1:33 for the past week is a testament to just that.  Alkaline batteries gained 1.5 percent in revenue in the 52 weeks ending June 16, according to IRI, a market data firm.

Now Duracell, is introducing a line of batteries, Quantum, that will be its most powerful, and which will come at a premium and to kick off the campaign, which starts today and includes online advertising and videos featuring first responders describing heroic rescues. Duracell’s association with emergency workers goes back to at least 2002, when a commercial featured the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, a volunteer search and rescue squad for mountainous terrain, with the brand emphasizing that team members use Duracell batteries for their flashlights and headlamps.

Along with featuring emergency workers in numerous commercials since then, in 2011 the brand introduced its Duracell Power Relief program, which dispatches trucks and trailers to disaster areas to distribute free batteries and provide charging stations for cellphones and laptops.

Since its inception, the program has deployed 11 times after disasters like hurricanes and blizzards, distributing more than 250,000 batteries.

Check out the ad below: