I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday.  Last week, I wrote about the importance of giving back and truly appreciating what matters most.  During the break, I had the opportunity to unwind with family and friends, enjoy great food and conversation, and watch my LSU Tigers beat the Arkansas Razorbacks.  I used this downtime to reflect on the past year and the many opportunities that lie ahead in 2014.  I thought more about how as both individuals and organizations, we can place greater emphasis on corporate social responsibility (CSR) to further serve the community at large, while maintaining the integrity of our business practices.

CSR can take more forms within organizations, but an overarching theme is to look at issues in the community and craft elements of engagement for those issues.  For some organizations, creating a business model that incorporates the triple-bottom line, – measuring the social, environmental and financial impact – is central to the mission and vision for the company. As McKinsey’s Dominic Barton pointed out in his Wall Street Journal column last week, aligning business operations and social issues can have great long-term benefits for an organization. Here at our firm, senior leadership has always encouraged civic engagement and our employees find ways to contribute wherever and whenever they can. As we wrap up 2013 and transition into 2014, I expect our firm to enhance our CSR initiatives and explore ways that we can become better, more effective corporate citizens. One initiative here is our partnership with Urban Alliance. Urban Alliance is a program brought to Chicago by Amy Rule that provides internships and mentoring to under-resourced high school students in the Chicago-land area. The program fills a vital need for students needing additional resources and assistance to succeed in life.  Our employees have been looking for additional opportunities to align our business model with deeper community engagement and we are diligently exploring ways to do so. While corporations examine ways to assist or weigh in on social issues, the power of individuals to make a difference remains very powerful.  Giving Tuesday is tomorrow and taking part in it is a great way to show your support for the many great organizations that are doing work in our communities. Tomorrow, I will follow up with the final part of this series about giving with a post on the importance and power of Giving Tuesday.