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Charles H. Moore

A Defining Moment for Leadership

Editors’ Note

A graduate of Cornell University with a B.M.E., Charles Moore has held numerous senior executive positions in a variety of companies, including Gulf + Western Industries, Interpace Corporation, Clevepak Corporation, Ransburg Corporation, and Illinois Tool Works. He also served as Director of Athletics at Cornell University. He assumed his current post in 1999.

Organization Brief

CECP (www.CorporatePhilanthropy.org) is a membership forum comprised of 175 CEOs and chairpersons committed to corporate philanthropy. CECP’s members represent companies responsible for more than 40 percent of all corporate philanthropy in America. The organization’s mission is to lead the business community in raising the level and quality of corporate philanthropy while engaging with the public, private, and independent sectors. Paul Newman and Ken Derr were CECP’s Founding Co-Chairs.

What is CECP’s focus?

CECP operates along three guiding strategies: we represent the perspective of the CEO in corporate philanthropy; we help bring the best of business to philanthropy; and we set the standards for quantitative and qualitative measurement in corporate giving.

How broadly do you define corporate philanthropy?

Corporate philanthropy is about corporate behavior: how companies reach out to their community partners and invest in programs that support social, environmental, and economic development. You can look at business’s contract with society in terms of three levels: the basic level is what business is required to do by law, like pay taxes; the second level entails efforts that may not be legally required, but are still implicitly agreed upon, such as providing safe and fair workplace practices; and corporate philanthropy exists as the third level, where there are no formal expectations but rather great opportunities for businesses to not only invest in their communities and address social needs, but also to differentiate themselves.

How does your relationship differ with CEOs versus corporate giving officers?

As the only organization in the world focused on CEO leadership in corporate philanthropy, we give executives the opportunity to come together to share strategy and best practices. A CEO becomes a member of CECP to be a part of this powerful network. By joining CECP, that CEO demonstrates that he or she wants to advance the understanding of and strategy behind business’s investing in society.

On the other hand, if you’re focused on metrics, you’d say the real value proposition for joining CECP is for the corporate giving officers. CECP offers unparalleled peer-to-peer benchmarking to help giving professionals better develop their philanthropy portfolios and understand the strengths and areas of improvement of their companies’ giving strategies.

Each February, CECP spearheads International Corporate Philanthropy Day in conjunction with the United Nations, an effort to raise awareness for corporate giving and advance community investment practices. Our members and partner organizations receive extensive media attention to help foster a greater understanding of the value of corporate philanthropy in communities around the world.

How do challenging economic times affect your organization?

First, you must consider that through philanthropy, companies are investing in educational, social, health-related, and environmental programs that will build not only stronger communities, but a stronger private sector as well. Therefore, you cannot just pull back from these kinds of commitments during an economic downturn. Philanthropy is not a discretionary line item in a budget; what a company contributes to its communities is a necessary and ordinary business expense and an investment in the future.

I believe that this is a defining moment for corporate leadership. The opportunities are enormous; I expect many CEOs to step up their companies’ giving even in this economic climate because they understand the competitive context of corporate philanthropy. One company can’t afford to decrease giving significantly when others are stepping up. In the coming months and years, businesses will continue to better align their philanthropy with their core competencies. They will also better leverage corporate resources like employee expertise and in-kind donation opportunities to provide further support to nonprofit organizations that are experiencing increased need.