New Frontiers
Harold McGraw III, The McGraw-Hill Companies

Harold McGraw III

An Unwavering Committment

Editors’ Note

In 1980, Terry McGraw joined The McGraw-Hill Companies and has since held a number of senior managerial and executive positions, including Vice President of Corporate Planning, President of McGraw- Hill Publications Company, and President of The McGraw-Hill Companies’ financial services business unit. In 1993, he was elected President and COO of The McGraw-Hill Companies, CEO in 1998, and Chairman of the Board in December 1999. McGraw earned a B.A. from Tufts University and an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

Company Brief

New York-based The McGraw-Hill Companies (www.mcgraw-hill.com) is a global information services provider, operating in the education, media, and financial services markets throughout more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Its top brands include Standard & Poor’s, the world’s foremost provider of independent credit ratings and research; and McGraw-Hill Education, one of the world’s largest publishers, covering virtually every aspect of the education market, from prekindergarten to professional learning.

Would you highlight the importance of corporate philanthropy and social responsibility to the culture of McGraw-Hill?

Acting as a good corporate citizen is at the core of everything we do, from the spirited volunteerism of our employees to the spirit that drives our commitment to creating a smarter, better world. We have the best employees in the world – they donate their time and expertise to so many worthwhile causes, and each day they provide the insights and knowledge that promote new opportunities for growth and success at every level: academic growth for students, career growth for workers, and economic growth for markets and nations.

How do you focus your CSR efforts and is it important that the programs align with McGraw-Hill’s business strategy?

Our pledge to contribute in meaningful ways to society is a key element of our corporate strategy. There is tremendous value in conducting our business this way. We create an environment where our employees feel good about the company, which is critical to recruitment and retention; we help improve the communities where our employees and customers live and work; and we align our brand with a relevant and important cause.

More and more companies recognize that philanthropy must be viewed like any other core business activity. Charitable initiatives that serve societal needs and create long-term business value are most likely to be sustainable and to contribute to a more successful business.

At McGraw-Hill, we’ve designed a program that taps into the unique skills and expertise of our employees. For instance, with our Financial Literacy Now campaign, we leverage the resources of McGraw-Hill Education, Standard & Poor’s, and our other businesses, to offer teachers, students, and families the tools and materials they need to make more informed financial decisions. And this is not a new focus for us. We’ve been supporting financial literacy initiatives for close to 15 years.

Are your efforts focused on a global basis and how do you communicate your social responsibility focus to your people worldwide?

We have more than 280 offices in 40 countries so we have to act globally. We have a highly developed network of community service teams around the world that serve as volunteer coordinators. From reading to schoolchildren in London to building homes for families in need in Mumbai, our employee volunteers are doing remarkable work.

Employees are very enthusiastic about these projects so we often see updates of their efforts spread organically and through social media. People tell their colleagues, friends, and families via Facebook and Twitter what they’re doing. That’s all grassroots driven and very powerful. To spotlight their work, we’ll pull these stories together and broadcast messages on our intranet, through e-mail and video.

How do you evaluate/measure the success of your efforts?

Making sure we are having an impact is critical. We regularly survey our nonprofit partners and employees to find out how we can improve, and we set goals to measure our progress. For example, we said we would reach 100,000 students when we launched our financial literacy campaign a little more than a year ago. We’ve already surpassed that goal, and continue to bring financial literacy to more and more young people.

Are you focused on collaborating/partnering in your social responsibility programs?

Absolutely. Public/private partnerships are one of the keys to success. We work with terrific organizations like the Council for Economic Education to produce online financial literacy sessions for teachers. And we’ve partnered with everyone from the Girl Scouts to the Harlem Children’s Zone to create opportunities for our employees to visit schools to teach children about money and personal finance issues.

We are also working on a number of initiatives to improve the microcredit environment. We partner with microcredit organizations such as the Grameen Foundation, Women’s World Banking, and Pro Mujer. These organizations are doing fabulous work to raise standards of living and give families around the world a brighter future.

How do you engage employees in McGraw-Hill’s social responsibility efforts?

Our employees are very passionate and committed to a lot of important causes. One example is the tremendous growth of our Global Volunteer Day initiative, where employees take time off to perform community service projects. Since we started eight years ago, the number of employee teams we have volunteering has grown 300 percent.

We have several initiatives to tap into employees’ enthusiasm and encourage even better participation. We are continually in search of more opportunities to match employees’ skills with community needs. We also match employees’ charitable contributions dollar for dollar, and every year we use a variety of forums to recognize employees for outstanding volunteerism and community service.

How critical has it been to maintain your philanthropic efforts during the past 24 months with the global economic crisis?

Our commitment to philanthropy and corporate responsibility initiatives is unwavering. In fact, we modestly increased our giving last year, and are always in search of new partnerships and programs that will help people achieve better lives and drive future progress.

As chairman of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), would you highlight the work of CECP and why it is important?

CECP has a very strong board and a committed staff. The committee serves a vital global mission by giving a voice to the business community and inspiring businesses around the world to engage further in giving initiatives. Over the past decade, we’ve tracked more than $70 billion in corporate giving. We’ve accomplished a lot together but there’s so much more to do.