Recent news from the Center for Civic Media | MIT Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Social Responsibility in Family Business, Christian Microcredit, and Monster Shops

This is the third page of livenotes from a panel I was on in Elizabethtown College on Corporate Social Responsibility. You can find the main index here:

I was a speaker on the second panel, which focused on more intimate, and in my case, scrappier organisations. Cristina Ciocirlan, a business professor at Elizabethtown College spoke about the role of family owned businesses in society. Then, Jeff Rutt of Keystone Custom Homes spoke about Hope International, a Christian microfinance organisation.

Cristina pointed out that there's a gap in the CSR literature, which tends to focus on fortune 500 companies. People often assume that family businesses can't have the resources or the ability to develop a socially responsible strategy. Data is also hard to collect. Cristina wants to disprove the naysayers and encourage us to pay attention to family businesses.

New Trends in Corporate Social Responsibility

The first panel today included Patrick Jinks, President and CEO of United Way Lancaster County, Sanjay Paul, economics professor at Elizabethtown College, Henry Yaeger, director of corporate strategy for the Hershey Company, who has played a foundational role in Hershey's corporate social responsibility.

Patrick Jinks, United Way Lancaster County

Patrick started by talking about common themes that United Way cares about when they think about the common good. They are a worldwide network of local autonomous organisations focused on supportingeducation, income that leads through retirement, and good health. Typically, United Way has raised funds to pass on to other nonprofits, a "community chest" for a region. That's changing as United Way is trying to be more strategic about their work.

The pain of posting podcasts

In my nearly four years here, I've seen the rise of some great solutions to communications challenges.

MailChimp and other email marketing platforms have made signing up and emailing friends and followers dead simple while avoiding the worst practices that lead to spamhood.

Twitter not only works as a broadcast medium but also makes rebroadcasting more respectable than it had been. (You think I'm kidding, but older professional communications folks still reflexively hesitate, wondering if featuring others' news weakens one's own brand or, worse, constitutes a copyright violation.)

Eventbrite helps manage ticketing and major event promotion without ever having to print out a spreadsheet, set up a cost object, or beg a former cop to help guard a cash box.

Muhammad Yunus on the story and values of microcredit

Today, I'm a panelist at the Elizabethtown College Carper Memorial Lecture, which is on the topic of Ethics, Business, and Society. The headline speaker is the Bangaladeshi Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, creator of microcredit.

When I was an undergraduate at Elizabethtown College studying literature and the arts, I never expected that I would be coming back to speak at a business event. It's a delight to reconnect with my alma mater today. I'll be sharing blog updates throughout the day (Live etherpad notes here), starting with the talk by Dr Yunus:

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