|MUCH MORE THAN
BY KIM PLUMMER KRULL
When Richard Williams answered a call from Joanne Huggard, Boeing community investor for the Pennsylvania region, the CityTeam Ministries executive said it was a first.
"I never before had an organization tell me they want to come see me and see how they can help," he said. "They always wait until I come to them."
But making the first move made a lot of sense to Huggard. She had been tracking the Philadelphia–area nonprofit agency, which serves some 70,000 people annually, helping the poor and disadvantaged kick drug and alcohol problems, learn job skills and climb back on their feet.
"It's an agency that fills a desperate need in this community," Huggard said of the ministry, based three miles from Boeing's Philadelphia facility. "I wanted to know if there was some way we could help them do what their organization does so well."
Today, Boeing partners with the nonprofit through grants as well as through employees who volunteer in the soup kitchen and stuff holiday stockings for needy children. Huggard has served on a CityTeam committee that helps youngsters get their school year off to a positive start.
This Boeing-initiated partnership is only one example of how the company's strong tradition of good corporate citizenship like the company itself is transforming.
So, why does the world's largest aerospace company work so hard to help people and communities?
According to Toni Bailey, vice president of Boeing Community and Education Relations, there is a direct link between a healthy business and a healthy community.
"It is in the best interest of businesses as well as individual citizens to be residents of a community with excellent educational institutions; thriving, diverse cultural and art institutions; as well as civic and environmental organizations that contribute to the overall quality of life for its residents," Bailey said.
It's all about being a good corporate citizen, said Boeing Chief Financial Officer Mike Sears.
"Investing in our communities is our responsibility," said Sears. "We don't do it to get return on investment. We think the right thing to do is to reinvest in the communities in which our employees live and work."
And, it is from these communities that businesses draw their workforce.
In the end, "Citizens of these communities determine public policies and craft laws that affect us all, and the list goes on as to the criticality of what is meant by a healthy community," Bailey, who directs the company in its global citizenship responsibilities, explained. "To the extent that businesses can contribute to the development of this environment, our contributions are critical investments."
While it might be good enough for some companies simply to write a check once a year to their favorite charity, Boeing prefers a much bigger role.
"We're about so much more than giving dollars," said Bailey. "Boeing always has had a commitment to enhancing the communities where our employees live and work, but now we're doing it strategically. We're being proactive and innovative and investing in ways that can be even more beneficial than money."
One big way is by engaging employees who are willing even eager to share their time, talents and expertise.
"A nonprofit may be long on mission and zeal but benefit from assistance with management skills and strategic planning," Bailey said. "As a company of leaders, we obviously have a host of those resources."
Laurette Koellner, chief People and Administration officer, agreed.
"In every instance I'm aware of, when someone from Boeing volunteers, that person always has something in his or her bag of tools to help their chosen charitable organization improve," Koellner said. "Boeing volunteers are everywhere, and they're consistently helping their chosen charities improve the ways in which they enrich their communities."
Education is a major focus of many Boeing partnerships and collaborations. Employees team up with local schools and sweeping national efforts.
As co-vice chair of Achieve Inc., Boeing Chairman and CEO Phil Condit works with academic, business and political leaders across the country to raise academic standards and improve schools in every U.S. state.
For the first time this fall, 10 Boeing executives will mentor prospective principals as part of an innovative program to meet an alarming need in Chicago.
"Forty percent of Chicago public school principals are due for retirement within the next few years, and the traditional pipeline for new principals isn't working," said Anne Roosevelt, Boeing director of Community and Education Relations in Chicago.
Boeing partners with New Leaders for New Schools, an organization that taps quality candidates from professions outside education and provides a year of top-flight management and leadership training. "Our executives have many of the leadership skills a good principal needs," Roosevelt said. "This is an opportunity to model and coach and to make a difference."
In communities around the world, Boeing engineers lead workshops to help teachers sharpen skills with hands-on science projects. They visit classrooms, taking the mystery out of a profession about which many youngsters know nothing.
In St. Louis, 150 Boeing engineers briefed 10,000 students in February during National Engineers Week. As part of that same emphasis, young women from area high schools traveled to Integrated Defense Systems headquarters for a close-up look at opportunities in the field of engineering.
"In one day, the girls get to talk to a variety of women engineers" about careers in high technology, said Pattonville High School counselor Julie Kampshroeder, who brings top female science and math students to Boeing. "It definitely gets them thinking."
In the United Kingdom, Boeing along with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and other global aerospace companies is seeking to generate secondary school interest in the industry through a program called the Schools Aerospace Challenge. Each year, teams of 16- to 18-year-old students address a specific aerospace-related challenge, taking part in a competitive exercise that involves research and design. This year, students are examining air-to-air tanker refueling options for the country's Royal Air Force. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winning team members and their school in November.
The company also builds collaborations that touch lives around the globe. Linda Martin, director, International and National Citizenship, is developing strategies for Boeing to reach out globally.
Carol Cella, international community investor who manages Boeing's International Relief Delivery Flights program, plays matchmaker with two diverse partners humanitarian agencies and airline customers. Her goal: to use empty space on new airplanes to ship supplies to people in need.
Since 1992, Boeing has helped deliver more than 2 million pounds of food, medicine and other essentials to people in 30 countries on five continents.
When the East African Center (formerly Kenya Kids AIDS Project) collected two tons of donations in Seattle, the agency was anxious to get the supplies to orphans who live in what amounts to a Nairobi city dump. But shipping costs would have run more than $16,000, way beyond the agency's budget.
Cella arranged for the cargo to travel on a new Boeing 767 bound for customer Kenya Airways. "When we found out Boeing was sending a plane to Kenya that we could use, it was like a miracle," said the relief agency's Christy Nunez. "Without you guys, we could have been sending supplies with volunteers, little by little, for the next 10 years."
In Wichita, another collaboration helped build a museum. After a local philanthropist launched the project with a generous donation, Boeing joined with business and community leaders to help build the $62 million Exploration Place science center.
Employees participated in every phase, from the engineering team that helped select the architectural firm to the volunteers who led grand-opening tours. When costs threatened to exceed budget, Boeing facilities project manager Larry Pecenka spent two years as a loaned executive facilitating construction.
"There's no doubt that Boeing was very instrumental in seeing that this multi-million-dollar project ultimately was completed under budget and on time," said Mike Germann, director of communications and public affairs in Wichita.
Other avenues to community involvement are donations of time, money employees and retirees gave generously in 2001, including $8.4 million in relief funds for victims of Sept. 11 tragedies and even surplus office furniture. That last may sound less impressive than a multi-million-dollar museum or tons of relief supplies. But when fire gutted the studio of the Tennessee Children's Dance Ensemble, the state's official goodwill ambassadors were desperate to reestablish their headquarters.
Amy Reagan, Boeing community investor in Oak Ridge, answered the group's call for help with desks, tables and chairs the company no longer needed.
"One of our board members said Boeing is the kind of company that helps when it can," said Laura Kress, marketing director for the state's official goodwill ambassadors. "That furniture was like a fresh start."
One of Boeing's most enduring opportunities for community involvement is the Employees Community Fund. This year, the annual ECF campaign exceeded its companywide goal and raised a projected $36.2 million for health and human services and other vital community needs where employees live and work.
That's a significant accomplishment especially during a year of layoffs, said Richard E. Spangler Jr., company campaign manager for the ECF, which began more than 50 years ago and is among the world's largest employee-owned and -managed charitable organizations.
Boeing employees know their communities count on the ECF, Spangler said. "Just imagine if we suddenly pulled $36 million away from our communities. Imagine the dramatic impact that would have on services so many people need and, eventually, the impact on the quality of all our lives" he said.
Because the company covers all ECF administration costs, 100 percent of every employee contribution goes back to local nonprofits.
Employees also donate their time through company-sponsored drives and a wide variety of organizations outside Boeing.
The March of Dimes' Laura Boone minces no words about the value of Boeing volunteers. For years, Boone has depended on the Boeing Amateur Radio Club for communications and safety coordination in the St. Louis leg of WalkAmerica, the charity's biggest fundraiser. "We couldn't have a walk without you," she said.
Volunteerism is such a part of Boeing's corporate culture that judges struggle to select the final four for the William Allen Award for exemplary volunteer service.
"We have people who give up vacations, go overseas, and spend their own money to help people in need," said Sue Patterson, manager of Boeing Volunteer Programs. "We have some volunteers who are truly inspiring."'
Named for a former Boeing president with a deep commitment to community, the program recognizes one employee from each region for volunteer efforts outside the company.
One recent honoree: Alberto Colin, manager for Integrated Defense Systems' Southern California Test and Evaluation Division in Long Beach. Three days a week after work, Colin drives 15 miles to the Toberman Settlement House in San Pedro to tutor at-risk kids.
Colin discovered the youth center through a company publication. "Boeing made me aware of the opportunity," he said. "The kids keep me coming back."
That volunteer spirit can run so deep that, for many, it doesn't end with retirement. Some of the most active volunteers are members of the Boeing Blue Bills and McDonnell Douglas-Boeing SAGES retiree clubs.
The Blue Bills were busy this summer stocking shelves and distributing supplies at the Kids in Need Resource Center, a Boeing-donated warehouse near Renton. Last school year, area teachers picked up $2 million in supplies for needy students.
Boeing retiree Judy [Derbes] Leyden handles many of the center's administrative chores. But the task she enjoys most is helping teachers shop.
"They are so accustomed to spending their own money to provide basics for kids who are lucky if they come to school with a pencil," Leyden said. "We've had teachers hug us and say thanks with tears streaming down their faces."
Those hugs are only one return on Boeing's community involvement. It's an investment designed to strengthen communities, says Toni Bailey.
Quality schools produce better-educated students and a stronger work force. Healthy communities attract and keep people who want to live and work in them.
As global expansion continues, Bailey says, Boeing will become a part of more communities and regions where the company does business outside the United States. She is working with Tom Pickering, senior vice president, International Relations, to develop strategies for international community involvement.
Boeing-Australia, which employs the largest number of Boeing employees outside the United States, actively supports its local communities through programs such as the International Air Training Corps, which promotes the development of young Australians through an international exchange program and has links to the Royal Australian Air Force.
The region also lends support through a just-launched Employees Community Fund at Boeing subsidiary Hawker de Havilland, as well as through contributions to community support organizations. This summer, Hawker de Havilland presented checks to the Lord Mayor's Charitable Fund and United Way Australia, benefiting more than 16 charities that provide care for groups including the disabled, the homeless, and children suffering from cancer.
"It is great to see real people behind the charities and to hear about the tangible ways they are committing to spend the money," said Hawker de Havilland Managing Director Lindsay Anderson. "An important part of these events is that the charities have been chosen by employees because in some way or other they have either touched on or are close to their hearts."
Involvement strategies may differ around the globe. Where education, for example, is a major focus of community involvement in the United States, different cultures may point to other needs and issues.
In Beijing, for example, high pollution levels are a major environmental concern. As part of its anti-pollution campaign, the municipal government had been encouraging each person in the city to plant 10 trees in their lifetime. In support of this effort to make Beijing greener and cleaner, the entire staff of Boeing China's Beijing office, some friends and spouses spent a day in May planting trees at nearby Chaoyang Park, one of the largest and newest public areas in the city. Four visitors from Boeing facilities in Seattle and Wichita also took part, helping to plant 45 trees.
But the goal remains the same: Where Boeing is involved, communities are enhanced. "And everyone our society, our company and you and I as individuals benefits," Bailey said.
International Relief Delivery Flights' Carol Cella agreed. Through her contacts with humanitarian organizations worldwide, she hears about many great needs.
"When one of our Boeing planes is used to bring comfort to people and make life a little better for them, it's a good feeling," she said. "It's rewarding to work for a company that cares about corporate citizenship."
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