CreateAthon at the White House

Teresa (third from left) at the White House

How revved up can you get walking into the White House and being seated alongside the nation’s most influential leaders in corporate social responsibility? Just ask Peyton Rowe, who joined me in DC recently for A Billion + Change’s national forum on the power of corporate pro bono. We were totally spent after a day of meeting and hearing from people who, like us, believe that talents honed in the workplace have a higher calling: to help meet social needs.

This was our third meeting with A Billion + Change, organized as a joint intiative of the Points of Light Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Led by Senator Mark Warner as Honorary Chair and Jean Case of the Case Foundation, A Billion + Change is on a mission to raise $2 billion in pledged pro bono service from corporations by 2013. Corporate executives, nonprofit leaders, and White House administration officials gathered at the White House to celebrate the milestone of 200 pledge companies. Riggs Partners, on behalf of CreateAthon, is a charter pledge company.

Our agenda was filled with an impressive array of speakers, many of whom left us with comments that spoke volumes to the power of pro bono:

Gene Sperling, Director, National Economic Council

“Skills-based volunteering is about long-term vs. short-term, about defining the kind of company you want to be.”

Senator Mark Warner, Honorary Chair, A Billion + Change

“The campaign’s move to 500 pledge companies can be transformational, and can reinvigorate the notion that the private sector has a positive role to play in society and in our economic recovery.”

Wendy Spencer, CEO, Corporation for National and Community Service

“Pooling our resources together, we will make the greatest impact. Just imagine engineers serving as STEM tutors.”

John Finneran, General Counsel, Capital One

“90% of our managers tell us employees perform at a higher level after having been involved in a pro bono project.”

Joe Echevarria, CEO, Deloitte

“The best learning comes from the most difficult assignment, and pro bono is not for the faint of heart.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, Special Assistant to the President and Director, Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation (and founder of Ethos Water)

“This President believes many of the answers to issues affecting our communities are already out there. It’s our job to identify what’s working, lift them up, and build the human and financial capital around them to provide scale.”

While these events are quite grown up, Peyton and I inevitably leave every convocation with a feeling of wonder and enthusiasm befitting a pair of teenage girls. Did you meet him? He’s awesome! Did you hear what she said? They knew about CreateAthon! Can you believe that?

It’s not often in life you get to look at your little idea through the eyes of very big thinkers. When you do, it’s like looking through a pinhole and seeing the light open up before you for as long and wide you can imagine.

For CreateAthon, we believe the light is just beginning to shine.


This entry was written by Teresa Coles, posted on July 11, 2012 at 7:00 am, filed under Business, CreateAthon, CSR, Musings, News, Nonprofits, Perspectives, R-blog, Social Consciousness and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

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