Outstanding Corporate Citizen of the Year–Mid-Size Business
Submitted by: C.E. Andrews, Chief Executive Officer & Member of Board of Directors, MorganFranklin Consulting
1. Why do you believe CSR strategy is important for a company?
I believe that companies and business leaders have an important responsibility to use their talents and resources to give back to the community. Therefore, I view involvement in community organizations as an essential part of both the company’s role and my role as a leader at MorganFranklin Consulting, and I am proud to say that community involvement has been a long time commitment of our firm’s leaders and employees across all levels. The community benefits and we also benefit in many ways. We have the satisfaction of actually making a difference and helping organizations that need our talents and experiences. We also further the positive identity of our firm and our brand in the marketplace with the organizations as well as with others involved at many levels. We are viewed as responsible leaders in the community, which enhances our brand and identity, but, most important, it benefits the larger community and is extremely personally fulfilling.
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?
I believe that community involvement is simple—it boils down to doing what you feel in your heart. No
matter what the motivation, the most important thing is that organizations and leaders give back to their communities in a meaningful way. It is natural for a company to gravitate toward CSR work that aligns with its business, and it is commendable when businesses seek to add positive influence to the environments and individuals they impact. One of the best features of working in the consulting industry is that we have the pleasure of serving a range of diverse companies, industries, and government agencies that each bring unique causes. We embrace many opportunities to support causes that benefit our clients, and we strive to be at the forefront of issues facing our community by making an impact in areas including education, entrepreneurship, health, and veteran causes. There are limitless unique opportunities to connect our everyday work to the community, such as our participation this year in the Taproot Foundation’s Project Management Day of Service Pro Bono Lab, through which our volunteers lent their finance expertise to the nonprofit Luke’s Wings. Through their work experience and education, our people have honed many valuable and diverse skills. Why not put those amazing skills to use to benefit the community, too?
3. What makes your company stand out compared to other companies participating in CSR?
Nothing displays our firm’s greatness better than our penchant for giving back to the community. And for a firm our size, it is staggering to see such a large percentage of our people volunteering their time to give back to our community. For example, last month, for the fifth consecutive year, MorganFranklin volunteers took over North Springfield Elementary School to teach K-5 students about financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship through Junior Achievement of Greater Washington's “JA in a Day” program. It was a resounding success, with 44 MorganFranklin volunteer teachers prepping, planning, and delivering impactful lessons to 458 students. I had the pleasure of seeing first-hand the energy and dedication that our people brought to the school, and the students loved every minute of it. JA’s mission has always been close to my heart, and I am simply floored by the level of involvement brought by MorganFranklin. Over the past five years, our firm has impacted 2,696 students. The far-reaching impacts of this work are immeasurable, and the satisfaction of knowing that our efforts are influencing the next generation of citizens and business leaders is beyond anything that can be achieved in the for-profit world. We are a firm built of outstanding corporate citizens, and I am amazed by the energy and breadth of influence our people bring to the community. From teaching financial literacy to students and leading Thanksgiving food drives to beautifying a D.C. school’s grounds and cooking dinner for young mothers, MorganFranklin employees give freely of their time and hearts to make a difference in the community.
4. Do you believe contributing back to the community allows your company to have a deeper connection with its clients/customers?
Giving back to the community absolutely deepens our connection with our clients and customers by building camaraderie and uniting us behind a common goal larger than ourselves. MorganFranklin’s mission is directly tied to serving the missions of our varied commercial and government clients—and our CSR philosophy is no exception. We are committed to giving back to the community and supporting the organizations, individuals, and values that have shaped our success. Over the years, we have partnered with our clients to support causes that are dear to their hearts, including partnering with the U.S. Marine Corps to build and donate bicycles to Toys for Tots, organizing a toy drive and fundraising effort to benefit a nonprofit founded by a client’s young nephew for children battling cancer, and raising more than half a million dollars to benefit wounded warriors through a charity golf tournament.
In the coming weeks, we will be joining our clients again at the Seventh Annual Semper Fi 5K benefiting wounded warriors through the Semper Fi Fund, and we will also be running and walking alongside clients and partners at the 26th Annual American Heart Association (AHA) Lawyers Have Heart race. Our mission states that we are above nothing and understand the need for expertise and extra hands when serving our clients, and we apply the same philosophy to CSR. We partner with our clients daily in the office, so why not extend that relationship to bettering our communities?
5. What are some events or causes that inspire you and your team?
Since its founding in 1998, MorganFranklin has supported numerous national and local charitable organizations focused on education, entrepreneurship, health, and veteran causes, contributing nearly $150,000 annually, with $190,000 planned in 2016. Our firm has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands of employee volunteer hours to: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), Junior Achievement of Greater Washington (JA), Global Good Fund, American Heart Association (AHA), March of Dimes, Heroines of Washington, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Boys & Girls Clubs of America, PHILLIPS Programs for Children and Families, Hopecam, D.C. Children's Law Center, Youth for Tomorrow, The Community Foundation, First Tee of Washington D.C., HEROES Inc., Easter Seals, Childhelp, SafeSpot, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), Greater DC Cares, Knock Out Abuse Against Women, Borromeo Housing, and The Women’s Center. Our CSR endeavors have included employee volunteer, matching gift, leadership gift, and community investment programs, including participating in AHA’s PULSE DC young professionals group, preparing dinner for NIH Children’s Inn and Borromeo Housing residents, and acting as a longtime supporter of So Others Might Eat (SOME), for which we assembled 61 Thanksgiving baskets and donated food plus $3,400 in 2015 alone. Last year, MorganFranklin sponsored 20 different organizations.
In addition to our volunteer work with Junior Achievement, I am personally inspired by the mission of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, and myeloma and improve the quality of life of blood cancer patients and their families. Words truly cannot describe the immense honor I felt earlier this year when LLS presented me with the James L. Eichberg Lifetime Achievement Award. I have had the pleasure of being an active champion of the LLS mission for nearly 30 years, which has allowed me to open doors to new volunteers and supporters and empower those around me to engage in leadership roles. It has been a great honor to work with LLS over the years, and I am proud to be part of a company that shares this long history of supporting the mission. Over the past decade, MorganFranklin employees have raised tens of thousands of dollars on behalf of LLS and sponsored numerous Man & Woman of the Year and Light The Night campaigns. When I first became involved with LLS more than 29 years ago, the progress achieved today would have been unheard of in the fight against blood cancers. Today, through the support of countless individuals, researchers, and patients teaming with LLS to find cures, we are closing in on the promise of a world without blood cancers. We will get there.
6. What advice would you give to companies trying to participate in CSR?
I was raised to believe that helping others is simply the right thing to do. Giving back to the community is not so much a choice as it is a responsibility. I think that the biggest mistake a company or leader can make is to not make CSR a priority. But figuring out where to begin can be challenging. Don’t be afraid to start small—and know that your CSR program will need to evolve as your company evolves. For MorganFranklin, CSR plays an integral part in our DNA, and it takes the form of active involvement in many varied community programs and charitable organizations. Since our founding in 1998, we have been committed to bettering the communities where our clients and employees live and work. Our community involvement and assistance began with health issues and, after years of growth, the CSR program was better defined to align with our corporate culture and philosophy. In 2008, we developed a comprehensive philanthropy program that: 1) was based upon strategic direction provided by the company’s founders; 2) ensured the chosen charities had strong reputations; 3) offered a broad array of volunteer opportunities for employees; 4) outlined MorganFranklin’s core values and mission; 5) identified specific charities focused on education, entrepreneurship, health, and veteran causes; and 6) included involvement beyond just writing checks. Today the legacy of that first program endures as a fundamental part of our culture—one that continues to evolve with our place in the market and passionate, diverse employee base.