In a room packed with CEOs from across the region last Thursday, Ed Satell took the podium and began his opening remarks with a historical anecdote:
“In the first year of President Kennedy’s term in 1961, he invited a group of the country’s most talented professionals to have dinner together at the White House. President Kennedy observed, ‘This may be the greatest collection of minds ever to have assembled for dinner at the White House…except for when Thomas Jefferson dined here alone.’ On a similar note, gathered here this morning might be the most talented group of CEOs to ever have breakfast together in this historic neighborhood since George Washington had breakfast a few blocks away from here with fellow Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, and helped change the world for the better.”
Thus began the 2018 Satell Institute CSR CEO Conference, a remarkable gathering of over 100 top free enterprise business leaders who met on the morning of October 23 to learn, exchange ideas and expand their collective understanding of, and participation in the rapidly growing field of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
In its purest sense, Satell noted, the current popularity of CSR is easily explained.
“People today want to belong to, trust and believe in both the company they work for and the community they live in. They want to work for companies that provide meaningful and productive jobs, while also actively contributing a sum of money to the physical and human capital requirements of the community, like supporting children’s developmental programs, or quality schools, or quality healthcare, little league, museums, the arts, or whatever the needs and interests are.”
Dan Fitzpatrick (President of Citizen’s Bank) introduced Ed Satell as a “visionary leader” and noted that he has “long been ahead of his time” on the issue of CSR. As CEO, Ed built the Satell Institute from a visionary idea into a CEO member-led collective force of businesses and foundations partnering with nonprofits to serve the greater good.
In his remarks, Satell noted five areas of uniqueness that distinguish the Institute today:
1. The Satell Institute has a Scholarship-Driven Think Tank
“In our Think Tank, we have expert academics and practitioners who study the field of CSR and create proprietary research. Our Research Director is Dr. Peter Frumkin, Director of the Center for Social Impact Strategy at the University of Pennsylvania. He recruited our terrific International Research Advisory Council of leading professors from Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, Penn, the University of Connecticut and other top universities. They write case studies about leading companies’ CSR programs, as well as do cutting edge research. Our Think Tank also include articles, independent studies, practitioner materials, best practices and a wide range of multimedia from top sources, all of which we make available to our corporate and foundation members free of charge.”
2. There Are No Member Dues/Fees as a Satell Institute Member
“Because we have the benefit of a $15 million endowment which pays all our overhead expenses, there are no dues or fees to belong to the Satell Institute. To become a member, a company must contribute a minimum of $25,000 (or more) per year for four years, to at least one nonprofit of its choice. Many do two or more. The pledge is made through our Institute, but 100% of the money goes directly from the company to the nonprofit they choose.”
3. The Satell Institute is Cause-Agnostic
“We are fully-funded and nonpolitical, so we are not beholden to any partisan special interests or agendas. The business or foundation selects the nonprofit partner they choose to support, not us. Working with a nonprofit is the most efficient way to help a community become more vibrant for the people who live there, as they are experts on their mission and have a trained staff who can most efficiently execute what needs to be done.”
4. Multi-Year Funding is Mandatory for Satell Institute Members
“We believe in long-term commitment for impact. That’s why our members are required to make a minimum commitment to a nonprofit of their choice of $25,000 a year for four years. That provides the necessary financial stability for the nonprofits to accomplish their vital missions.”
5. All Members Gain Access to Intimate Networking Opportunities with Top Business Leaders
“One of our sayings at the Satell Institute is, ‘Think WE, not just ME.’ By aligning with other CEOs and nonprofit leaders from our area, Satell Institute members have the opportunity to tap into some of the best business minds involved in CSR today, share innovations and solve challenges. Together, we can do so much more for the community than any of us can do alone.”
The inspiring power of Satell’s presentation and the collective CSR Membership interest of the CEOs present was shown by the many CEOs who chose to sign up that morning as Members of the Institute.
The Winter-Spring 2018-2019 Scholars Intern Program
The inaugural Satell Scholars Summer Intern Program was an outstanding success, and the Institute is now launching its Winter-Spring Cohort selection. Designed for full-and part-time graduate students, the 2018-2019 Satell Scholar Program will also provide inspiring hands-on nonprofit experiences for the selected cohort. For more information visit https://www.satellinstitute.org/about/intern-program/