Tuesday, November 9, 2010

American Express Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts

American Express is heavily involved in corporate social responsibility. They care deeply about how they are perceived in the public eye. Their mission which can be found on their CSR report, is "to become the world's most respected service brand." They ensure this goal by taking part in three different types of corporate social responsibility. They focus on community service, culture heritage, and leadership. 

These are some of the community service efforts that they participate in:

Habitat for Humanity, Multiple Locations, U.S.

American Express provides capacity building support for Habitat for Humanity programs in Broward County, Florida; Central Arizona; Greensboro, North Carolina; and New York City. This funding enables American Express employees to volunteer alongside community members to help build decent, safe and affordable shelter for those in need.

New York Restoration Project, New York, NY

The Put Down Roots campaign is the first urban tree planting of its kind, designed to utilize community volunteers to invite property owners to plant trees in their yards. This program is part of the City’s MillionTreesNYC initiative that intends to plant and maintain one million new trees across the City’s five boroughs over the next decade, and aims to educate an entire city on the dramatic benefits, including health, aesthetic and financial, that trees provide.

According to AMEX's website, the cultural heritage funds are only given to organizations that follow certain criteria. "They must ensure public engagement, present work that is in danger of being lost, and preserve monumental cultural traditions." Here are some organizations that have received grants:

Brooklyn Museum, New York, NY

The Brooklyn Museum's mission is to act as a bridge between the rich artistic heritage of world cultures, as embodied in its collections and the unique experience of each visitor. American Express supported an exhibition that will premiere in September, 2010 presenting the tipi as an expression of artistic and cultural identity and an interior space of domestic and ritual use. This will be the first exhibition to comprehensively examine the tipi and its multiple roles, and provide visitors of all ages and backgrounds with unique opportunities to experience a tipi first hand, and the publication will be the first major contribution to the general literature on tipis in more than 50 years.

Florida Grand Opera, Miami, FL

American Express supported a production of Julius Caesar, which has not been performed in the U.S. in almost 20 years, in the musical tradition of Baroque opera that is rarely seen by audiences. Baroque was a ground-breaking musical form in the late 17th and 18th centuries. Though Baroque music is well known, Baroque opera is rare due to the vocal challenges it places on singers. Julius Caesar is only the second Baroque opera to be presented by Florida Grand Opera in its 67-year history.

They also participate in the leadership aspect because they want to take part in creating the leaders of tomorrow. According to their website, the organizations that they are connected to are in one of these categories:

  • Networks: Supporting leadership training by an organization to a wider group of organizations within the same discipline or field.
  • National Organizations: Supporting leadership development of an organization's local members or affiliates.
  • Local Organizations: Supporting leadership development of an organization located in key geographic areas (see list of geographic areas here).

Here are some examples of organizations they support:

Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Los Angeles, CA
Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP) is a premier leadership development organization for Asian and Pacific Islander communities in both the for-profit and non-profit sector. Through the Emerging Leaders Program, LEAP targets 10 to 12 talented emerging Asian Pacific Islander leaders at nonprofit organizations to prepare them for future leadership roles. The Emerging Leaders curriculum blends one-on-one coaching with group learnings such as: basic leadership skills through experiential learning; leadership simulations; interactive problem-solving; and action-planning and networking sessions with seasoned community leaders.

National Urban League, New York, NYThe National Urban League, with American Express’ support, established Project Lead-Emerging Leaders Program to focus on developing the leadership skills of its next generation of executives. The 13-month curriculum covers all the competencies in the League’s Leadership Model, and includes face-to-face mentoring, podcasts and webinars, assessments, feedback and coaching, and outside assignments. Through this inclusive instruction, NUL will prepare its high potential employees to enter the ranks of senior level leadership throughout the affiliate network, continuing its mission of enabling African Americans to attain economic self-reliance and power while increasing localized services. The overall goal of the program is to enhance the selection and retention of affiliate leaders by creating a pipeline for the next generation of leaders.

American Express's corporate social responsibility efforts make a difference in our society. 

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