Much has been said about the role of corporate responsibility in modern businesses. It cannot be emphasized enough that most CSR efforts are geared towards giving businesses positive exposure; in other words, it is good PR—and good press can be leveraged to attract and retain a customer base. Whenever donations are made to registered charities, there are also financial advantages to be had in the form of tax exemptions.
There are also latent advantages to a good corporate social responsibility program. Spectrum Business Ventures, of which I am CEO, supports organizations that engage in healthcare, sustainability, and innovation, which are three things that I am very passionate about.
SBV has funded four major foundations in the Kansas City area that work in the field of healthcare. Among these are Autism Speaks, the University of Kansas Hospital, the Rally Foundation, and the Kaw Valley Behavioral Health Care Center. As a man who has witnessed how autism builds a wall between children and the world at large, I have noted that the lack of educational opportunities about this condition has hindered the adjustment of both kids with autism and their families, and has closed doors to those who would otherwise have made an impact on their communities. Autism Speaks conducts research on helping children with autism reach their full potential as a resident of the world that engages in everyday activities, including business and industry.
We have also donated to the Kansas City Art Institute and Cristo Rey High School. While the majority of educational foundations focus on developing STEM capabilities among our students, we decided to complement these efforts by giving aspiring artists a chance to hone their craft. SBV prides itself in doing things unconventionally, and we believe that the “outsiders”—those who think differently—can come up with the next big idea; one that could change the world for the better.
Supporting the youth by providing healthcare and funding art programs might seem totally unrelated to SBV’s lines of business, but in the long run, it is an investment for the future. Today’s children are tomorrow’s chairpersons, presidents, and CEOs, and it is important for them to develop not just the mind, but also the heart and soul. The next great business concept might be the brainchild of a kid who came from one of the programs we help fund, and SBV will be more than eager to help nurture that concept until it becomes self-sustaining.