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Opening new sources of support.

On Earth Day last April 22, Citibank's 45,000 employees took part in a charitable campaign for Earth Share, the nation's pre-eminent federation of environmental organizations, in which the company pledged to match its workers' donations dollar for dollar. Apple Computer employees sat at their workstations and made their charitable pledge to Earth Share tight on their own computers. And Nissan Motor Corp., recognizing the importance of protecting our world's environment, invited Earth Share to be a new charity in its employee charitable campaign this spring.

These developments are dramatic evidence of the increasing interest employers have in finding ways that their companies can demonstrate a commitment to preserving our planet. And while some firms might be taking such measures because "it's the right thing to do," many others are responding because their employees' concern for the environment is growing.

For many major corporations, including Fortune 500 firms, a method for strategically positioning themselves as leaders in the environmental cause while at the same time addressing the diverse concerns of employees, investors, and executives alike has been possible through the easy, inexpensive retooling of a venerable corporate mechanism: the workplace giving campaign. By opening their charitable drives to Earth Share, these companies not only demonstrate their own sensitivity to ecological issues but respond to the well-documented desire of employees for expanded payroll-giving opportunities. When employees have a chance to broaden their charitable-giving horizons, environmental groups are among their favorite choices.

Earth Share represents 39 nonprofit environmental organizations with operations in all 50 states and overseas. These agencies strive to protect the health of the planet and all of its inhabitants by eliminating pollution of the air, water, and soil, preserving natural resources, and providing environmental education and recreation.

Earth Share's affiliates report many substantial accomplishments:

* They've mobilized 160,000 volunteers to clean up more than 3,000 miles of U.S. coastline, removing 850 tons of debris from our nation's beaches.

* They've developed more than 1,600 recycling programs at state and local levels.

* They've created a model state law on preventing lead poisoning in children that has been adopted by a number of states and is part of the federal government's primary prevention guide on eliminating childhood lead poisoning.

* They've transformed abandoned railroad lines in 44 states into more than 6,000 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and riding.

More and more American corporations are doing their "Earth Share" by inviting this national federation into their workplace giving campaigns.

In addition to Citibank, Apple Computer, and Nissan, Earth Share recently added important corporate charitable campaigns to its roster, including Fiduciary Trust, J.P. Morgan, Time-Warner, The New York Times, Brooklyn Union Gas, Turner Broadcasting System, Wells Fargo, Waste Management, and The MacArthur Foundation, among others. It has raised more than $8.5 million for the environmental projects of its agencies, with 90% of the money going directly to the member organizations.

Expanded workplace charitable drives, often called "federated" or "combined" campaigns, are increasingly popular. Forty state governments offer combined campaigns to their employees; at least 140 firms host combined campaigns at one or more of their locations; in all, more than 5,000 individual charities receive money from expanded charitable drives.

Business leaders who wish to reaffirm their company's reputation within its community and among its employees -- as well as highlight the corporation's environmental awareness -- should consider opening their charitable campaign to environmental nonprofit organizations.

Earth Share is in the forefront of efforts to open workplace charitable campaigns to a broader range of worthwhile causes. Every year Earth Share thanks the corporations and employees who have contributed to it by citing each one in a Wall Street Journal advertisement. Earth Share also has formed a corporate advisory council with the founder of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and the chief executive officers of Columbia Pictures, Time magazine, Fiduciary Trust, and The Advertising Council as current members.

Today, as companies focus on attaining cost-efficient, quality performance in every aspect of their enterprise, they are re-assessing employee charitable drives. Many find it possible -- and desirable -- to expand and revitalize the workplace campaign in a way that simultaneously serves the company's goals, adds value to its charitable efforts, and responds to employee needs and concerns -- high on the list of which is the environmental health of the earth, their country, and their community.

Earth Share's Member Agencies

Earth Share allows donors the unique option of giving one gift to Earth Share that is distributed to all Earth Share member organizations, addressing many environmental concerns, or of designating a contribution to go to one or more agencies of their choice. Earth Share's member groups are:

African Wildlife Foundation

American Farmland Trust

American Forests

American Rivers

Americans for the Environment

Center for Marine Conservation

Citizen's Clearinghouse for Hazardous Wastes

Clean Water Fund

The Conservation Fund

Conservation International

Defenders of Wildlife

Environmental Action Foundation

Environmental Defense Fund

Environmental and Energy Study Institute

Environmental Law Institute

Friends of the Earth


International Institute for Energy Conservation

The Izaak Walton League Land Trust Alliance

National Audubon Society

National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides

National Parks and Conservation Association

National Wildlife Federation

Natural Resources Defense Council

The Nature Conservancy

Pesticide Action Network

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Rainforest Alliance

Safe Energy Communication Council

Scenic America

Sierra Club Foundation

Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund

Trust for Public Land

Union of Concerned Scientists

U.S. PIRG Education Fund

The Wilderness Society

World Resources Institute

World Wildlife Fund

Kalman Stein is Executive Director of Earth Share, the Washington, D.C.-based federation of national environmental organizations. Not one to fear controversy, he and Earth Share are challenging the United Way by reaching out to what is for environmentalists an untapped source of financial support -- employers and their employees through charitable giving in payroll deduction workplace campaigns.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Special Section: Answering the Call for Leadership; Leadership in Environmental Initiatives; includes related article
Author:Stein, Kalman
Publication:Directors & Boards
Date:Sep 22, 1993
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