1.Why do you believe CSR strategy is important for a company?
While CSR can build a company’s reputation, the most important aspects are that it helps team members engage and connect to your mission, as well as builds trust with customers, or in our case, families. At Sunrise, our mission extends to supporting seniors and their families inside and outside of our communities.
2.Do you believe that the CSR work you participate in should be affiliated with the work you/your company does? For example, should an oil company’s CSR be in cleaning up oil spills?
Our CSR efforts correlate with our mission: to champion quality of life for all seniors. Sunrise Senior Living’s founders defined assisted living as we know it today in the U.S. – it is with that same compassion and innovative spirit that we continue our commitment to support the aging population and their caregivers. We do that in a variety of ways, including fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Association and other organizations, supporting groups that promote seniors’ wellness, such as NIA’s Go4Life, and local volunteerism by our individual Sunrise communities. Providing our residents opportunities to give back not only benefits our local community but also helps them fulfill a life of meaning and purpose.
3.What makes your company stand out compared to other companies participating in CSR?
We are fortunate to have a strong company culture, where team members wholeheartedly believe in our mission and find meaningful ways to contribute and connect to society’s seniors and their families. CSR is a natural output of our existing culture, and there is great pride in that. At both the company and Sunrise community levels, there are so many different ways that we provide support and give back, including participating in local Alzheimer’s Association walks to fundraise for a cure and holding caregiver support groups at each of our Sunrise communities, which are open to the public.
In addition, through part of our special Live With Purpose programming, each Sunrise community partners with important causes or local charities for senior residents and team members to maintain a strong sense of human connection through outreach and volunteer programs. One community may knit tiny hats for babies in the nearby hospital’s NICU, while another might drop off snacks to their local fire station. It’s called Live With Generosity. These are just a couple examples – and what makes us stand out is the variety with which we help to impact people’s lives and the high engagement from team members.
4.Do you believe contributing back to the community allows your company to have a deeper connection with its clients/customers?
Absolutely. At Sunrise, we say we hire for serving hearts. That’s not something you can train. It’s shown in how we care for residents at our Sunrise communities. Families notice and appreciate that – and, in addition, they see us extend those serving hearts to the support groups we provide and various volunteer activities. It builds trust and credibility, as well as demonstrates our commitment to our mission.
5.What advice would you give to companies trying to participate in CSR?
Get to the heart of what your employees are passionate about and how you want to define your organization. Marry those with your communities’ needs and you have the keys to a successful CSR strategy.