This post was contributed by Margery Kraus, Founder and CEO of APCO Worldwide.
It is only natural that APCO Worldwide would join A Billion + Change and be part of a movement that addresses community needs by offering time from our talented team. And it is only natural that our employees would rally to this type of effort to offer their time and talents to making a difference in the communities in which they live. Since starting APCO nearly 30 years ago, we have been committed to working with clients across all sectors – in business, government and civil society – to help develop solutions to critical social issues and deploy transformational ideas to further conversation and actions around meaningful responses to corporate responsibility.
The Billion + Change initiative is a great contribution to transformational ideas. Employees from a variety of companies already give personal time to many important needs in their communities. Unleashing and organizing this people power through this initiative will multiply the effectiveness and impact of what each of us can do individually. That is why APCO, along with many other companies, is pledging service to A Billion + Change and taking a broader look at the pressing issues facing our communities. Together we plan to mobilize billions of dollars of pro bono and skills-based service by 2013 to make a difference and impact the world for the better. We salute all of those who are helping to make this possible.
Our effort with A Billion + Change is only one of a number of important initiatives that have defined APCO’s culture and our commitment to have our business not only serve our clients but be a business with a commitment to contributing to a better world.
APCO has a long-standing relationship with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), a forum bringing together a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. For the past several years, APCO has helped CGI members publicize the impact of their commitments, garner interest for the causes they are addressing, demonstrate their success and highlight the wide-ranging achievements of CGI as a whole.
More recently, we have become a member of the UN Global Compact, pledging to promote human rights and sustainable practices on a global scale. These efforts develop not because of corporate policy but because we employ great people with a set of values that recognize the importance of “doing good and doing well.” Our team has long been positively impacting the communities in which we live and operate. Today our dedicated employees in 32 offices around the world already give back nearly 2,000 hours per year in pro-bono work. As a majority employee-owned company, we are proud to have done so and have tried to create a dynamic environment at APCO that enables and encourages us to give back. We expect this dynamic environment is one of the reasons The Holmes Report reported named APCO as one of the best places to work in the PR industry 2011.
Companies involved with A Billion + Change are making an investment in their employees and the community. We believe our membership in A Billion + Change will give our employees new professional opportunities and experiences while expanding our skills-based volunteering efforts. Skills-based volunteering is a win-win. We are strengthening our employees’ skills while empowering them to contribute to meaningful broader causes. I can’t think of a better way for us to invest in the future. We hope our experience will motivate lots of other companies to join in and find innovative ways to leverage their employees’ skills to meet the challenges of a changing world.