CanvasRebel: Meet Jeremy C. Park
Here is part of the feature:
We recently connected with Jeremy C. Park and have shared our conversation below.
Jeremy, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. So, let’s start with trends – what are some of the largest or more impactful trends you are seeing in the industry?
When it comes to corporate philanthropy and community engagement, there are a number of important, high profile shifts and trends taking place. These trends are being driven by both consumers and employees, so if business owners and executives are not mindful and strategically looking ahead, they quickly can lose market share and top talent.
The big trend, overall, is that social impact is now mandatory. Consumers are choosing where they shop in-person and online based on the social good efforts of companies and how those efforts align with their personal values. You can research the statistics online and pull different numbers from various websites and studies, but they all point in the same direction with consumers wanting to know what the brands they support are doing to address social and environmental issues. Likewise, employees are looking for “meaning” in their work. More than collecting a paycheck, employees want to feel that what they do matters and they are able to make a difference in their community. One recent study posted on sustainablebrands.com, noted that 86% of employees say having “meaning” in their work is more important than ever before, and 84% of employees will only work at Purpose-driven companies/brands. Employees are looking for and requesting their companies to develop volunteer activities to give back to the communities and support their causes during work hours. The GOOD news is that studies also show that businesses with social impact initiatives have teams that are more inspired, motivated and productive, and these companies are growing 30% faster than their competitors (viewsforchange.com / 2022).
Some of the other major trends that tie in with corporate philanthropy and social impact are: 1) corporate giving is becoming more strategic, systematic and sustainable; 2) companies are aligning expertise and leveraging all of their assets; 3) companies are engaging the public in giving back; and 4) companies are making volunteerism turnkey. In order to create positive change in a larger, social context, companies are becoming more strategic and picking areas of focus for their charitable efforts. They are putting their philanthropic statement, their higher purpose, front and center on their website and declaring the difference they are trying to make in the world beyond the products and services they offer. These companies are strategically aligning with nonprofits and now measuring and tracking the societal outcomes and impacts of investments. People now believe that businesses bear as much of a responsibility as governments to drive positive social change. That is a BIG shift, where the public now is looking at businesses to be accountable, like elected officials, in making a difference locally, nationally and globally. So, the alignment and accountability are becoming important shifts in the story of creating and reporting positive outcomes.
We’re also seeing the shift of companies taking political stands. In the past, companies could sit on the sidelines and not have to publicly make statements or take one side or another on issues, especially ones that could be deemed controversial. Now, though, consumers and employees alike are asking their corporations “where they stand” so they know if their values are aligned. We’ve been seeing this play out in the media on numerous fronts and so it is important for companies to understand, articulate and live out their purpose, to be engaged in the community and committed to positive social impact, and to equip and empower their team to serve and make a difference.
These are all things that we focus on each day with cityCURRENT as we work to connect businesses with community to power the GOOD through events, positive-oriented media and philanthropy. We host and organize hundreds of enrichment events and turnkey volunteer experiences for companies and their employees to serve as sparks in their city. Each time we host a school or nonprofit tour or a volunteer experience, like our Samaritan’s Feet shoe distributions where we have more than a hundred adult volunteers come out to wash the feet of hundreds of youth and provide them with new socks and shoes, food, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and more, it opens the hearts and minds of business leaders, connects them more deeply with their team and the community, and leads to transformational outcomes. For many of the youth, it is their first new pair of shoes and their smile lights up the room. For the adults, the experience of sharing their love is something that means even more because it connects on a deeper level of caring. That’s why our Samaritan’s Feet shoe distributions are one of the most popular and most talked about events each year. They have become a “Community Calling Card” for us at cityCURRENT because the events are fueled by love and caring.
In essence, all of this boils down to caring. Consumers and employees want to know that you care. In a world connected by social media, people want to see you and your team caring for others and for the community. The more you care, the more you become aware and then can get involved to create positive social change. And, the more you get involved and give, the more you and your organization can GROW, which is why we say giving leads to GROWTH.